Stan Collymore has every sympathy for Newcastle fans.
He says that three months ago everything looked positive, with the Amanda Staveley led bid set to buy Newcastle United, with the club set to at last be run on ambitious lines and at last start buying the necessary level of player to make sure of avoiding relegation and then aim higher than that.
Instead it is just more of the same, any hopes of a takeover in the foreseeable future looking doubtful, whilst the transfer market continues to be an embarrassment where Mike Ashley is concerned.
As Stan Collymore puts it so well ‘Instead, the future looks distinctly like the past.’
Which is basically the story of Ashley’s reign at St James Park, the more things change the more they stay the same.
Rafa Benitez given promises in these last three transfer windows and this January one now looking to be a third in a row where those promises prove worthless.
Stan Collymore predicts ‘trouble ahead on Tyneside’ but after doing this so long, Mike Ashley appears to think that any disaster he brings down on the club is just temporary, not understanding how lucky he has been to have had the circumstances and right people to make instant returns to the Premier League both times.
Collymore is amazed that Rafa Benitez is still at Newcastle after the way Ashley has treat him, with the former Liverpool player believing there would be any number of clubs chasing Benitez if he called it a day.
This is the constant fear for Newcastle fans, whilst Benitez is still here then it offers hope of better in the future. However, if he goes, then any pretence would go with him, Newcastle United simply a club in crisis and a total mess.
Stan Collymore – Talking to The Mirror:
“Three months ago the outlook was rosy for Newcastle fans.
“Mike Ashley was on his way out, Amanda Staveley and her big-bucks backers were on their way in, and Rafa Benitez was finally going to be handed a transfer kitty befitting his and the club’s status in the game.
“Yet here we are, 12 weeks on and with just four days remaining in the transfer window, and none of that has come to fruition. Instead, the future looks distinctly like the past.
“And that best-case scenario has been replaced by a worst-case one which has neither Staveley nor Benitez anywhere near St James’ Park in the summer, and deeply unpopular Ashley the last man standing.
“Unless Ashley ploughs in some serious dough this week, there will trouble ahead on Tyneside.
“By my reckoning, and I’m talking ability-wise rather than form here, Toon have only two players who would be genuine performers in the top half of the table week in, week out… and they are Jacob Murphy and Matt Ritchie.
“So the addition of winger Kenedy and (possibly) frontman Slimani, hardly Premier League sensations, does not even constitute minor surgery – it’s more of a sticking plaster, really.
“Anybody is better than nobody, don’t get me wrong, but bringing in loanees until the end of the season is not a long-term solution. Ashley is wealthy enough to make the signings Newcastle need, despite his protests that he can’t compete with the sovereign wealth of some clubs.
“He certainly has enough dough to be putting Newcastle in the top eight, which would more than pacify the supporters for the next couple of seasons.
“And the fact he’d have no trouble walking into two or three of the biggest clubs in Germany, Italy and, not least, Spain means he’s probably already looking at jobs that will be coming up on the continent in the summer…and if the Spaniard does end up leaving in the summer – or before – then who will the owner turn to?
“Most managers worth their salt would probably look at the battles Benitez has had and tell Ashley, ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ if he were to offer them the job.
“He (Rafa Benitez) is the man to guide them back to the top.
“We’ll have to wait and see what Ashley’s move is in the coming days but if it’s a wrong one then trouble – more trouble – lies ahead.”