I don’t want to burst any balloons…but I must admit I am failing to get carried along with the wave of positivity many Newcastle fans seem to be experiencing.

At the actual matches it is a different story, for the 90 minutes I have really enjoyed both the Man Utd and Southampton matches, especially after only three wins at St James Park all season before that.

Even the away matches at Bournemouth and Palace had a lot of up points, taking the lead in both games, Newcastle were good in the first half at Selhurst Park and then it was only the last 15 minutes or so that let them down at Bournemouth. The defeat at Liverpool was expected and just damage limitation.

The positivity that I can’t join in with, is any real hope/expectation that there is anything beyond enjoying these last few matches.

Clearly things haven’t improved behind the scenes, Rafa Benitez using the break in Spain to brief journalists, saying that things have to change if Newcastle are ever going to get away from the cycle of failure under Mike Ashley.

Whilst we have more hope of avoiding relegation and the football has been better, I see it just undermined yet again by Mike Ashley.

He is that big fat elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.

There are only 48 days now until the end of the season and then in under four weeks after that, the Summer transfer window opens.

Any normal club will be forward planning, especially after the last three transfer windows where Rafa Benitez was undermined and the squad left well short of what the manager wanted.

The Chronicle recently reported that their information is that nothing will happen until the season ends and then Mike Ashley may hold talks on a new contract for Rafa Benitez and transfer budgets.

We have seen it all before.

It always seems with Mike Ashley, that it is just a case of saying we’ll get through to the end of the season and then see what we do then, what we (he) can get away with.

I can see things happening very quickly once the season ends but it is very much a case of hope for the best but fear the worst.

I feel a bit like I am on a great holiday but know that when I get back home the reality is that I am still losing my job.

Rafa Benitez is the ultimate professional and he has shown that he keeps it together during a season and despite the lack of backing in these past three transfer windows, he simply gets back on with the job once they are over.

This summer feels different.

I can’t believe he will put up with being messed about for a fourth transfer window in a row, promises not kept.

Rather than the end of the season, Mike Ashley in the meantime has to make clear to his manager that things are going to change – either by selling the club or running things in a far different way.

When you wonder just how ridiculous Ashley can be and think surely he won’t risk losing Rafa Benitez, you only have to remember the total failure to try and build on that fifth place finish in 2011/12. Surely no other club owner would have acted like he did?

Rafa Benitez does still give us hope but Mike Ashley’s shadow still falls over him.

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  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Of course he`ll risk losing Rafa rather than spending the money that`s needed to get a decent squad of players, anyone who thinks otherwise is in cloud cuckoo land

  • mentalman

    My maths may be wrong but i believe its only 3 windows he hasn’t been backed.

    Rafa’s premier league options are narrowing with the likes of west ham being the only team that has shown any real interest and to be honest would you move from one dodgy owner to another

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      There`s the whole of Europe. he`ll not be short of offers

      • mentalman

        he picked newcastle on the premise that it meant he could be close to his family and will expect a wage which is comparable to what he is on now, which reduces the number of clubs which are an option for him to manage. You have to say it’s probably the top 4 – 6 clubs in each country that can afford his salary but does he now have the reputation to walk in to one of the top clubs in europe?

        This genuinely leaves the premier league as his best option, the top 6 won’t want him, there’s a few that couldn’t afford him and the likes of West Ham are in a similar if not worse position as we are. So going back to your reply there may be plenty of offers but will any of them be any better than his current position

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          That’s true, if someone like Stoke stay up, he may have an easier commute but Stoke is a club of NUFC’s stature then you look at clubs coming up, perhaps Villa may be attractive but really they should stick with Bruce.

          The other option in England is Arsenal, he’s a big enough name to take over from Wenger but who’s to say Wenger will be going?

          • mentalman

            Can Stoke pay the salary, i don’t know but if they could would they not have gone for a better manager than Lambert

            As for Arsenal i think they would go for someone with a bigger (current) reputation and more recent successes than Rafa

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            i tend to agree with both your points, I think arsenal would appeal to Rafa but otherwise, if we stop up, we’re still a good fit for him.

          • mentalman

            while MA is at the club its a very good fit for Rafa as he deflects a lot of criticism away from the manager

    • Wor Lass

      3 out of 4, you mean?

      • mentalman

        still only 3 and not 4 as stated in the article

        • Wor Lass

          Clarko in disguise?

          • Jezza

            Spot on.

    • Leazes.

      I’ll paste this here as the Mag don’t want anyone to read it.

      I don’t think there’s anything in this ‘positivity – negativity’ theory …. its a way journalists spin pro Ashley nonsense, it makes people falsely think the club is moving forward….its a device used by Ryder, Dr, Ed. and Mark Jensen as you know fine well!

      Ashley has stated that he isn’t going to allow spending…..

      ….’“He (Ashley) said he was hoping we’d stay up to then sell in the summer as he has no interest in the club and does not want to invest, saying this why we got loan signings last month’….

      Well that statement isn’t going to change at all now is it?

      He was also asked if there were any buyers to which he replied only Stavely but she wasn’t genuine….no spending…no buyers….but club for sale….

      Now when you look at that it is the perfect mechanism for ‘more of the same’, it allows him to string along Rafa and in turn allows Rafa to string along the fans!

      Its ‘String Theory’…. the fans of this club have been strung along for my entire lifetime with lies, and seemingly want more lies to be told because its ‘good for them’ to have ‘positives’….. according to the media which surrounds this club.

      Well ….No it isn’t….. not at all, not in any shape or form. you can see that Rafa has accepted this position by bringing in ‘twopence-halfpenny’ players and setting up survival in place of ambition. Six million quid for that…. well he’s stringing us all along on the ‘Rafalution road trip’….. tell me Dean…. how are you going to spin a ‘positive’ when Rafa is forced to sell Lascelles?

      I’ll tell you how to do it…. you ignore the impact of a ‘negative event’ and you fill you backpages with hope….. just keep the lies flowing mate and you can indefinitely play the %$&£!%$ game!

  • Kneebotherm8

    Hope for the best….fear the worst?……….there’s only two hopes with this owner…..no hope and Bob Hope……………..

  • Leazes.

    I find it strange that we have an owner who hides from the media but when he does get cornered and make a statement of significance the local press ignore it completely…. its as if he never said the words….

    …’I have no interest in the club and do not want to invest”…. saying this why we got loan signings last month!

    Why might the local media ignore this statement?…… is it because Rafa will find out and the game would be up for Ryder and Co….and Rafa?

    • mactoon

      wasn’t that reported as supposedly said during a conversation with a fan in a Costa coffee shop?

      • Leazes.

        Pre-a-bloody-manger’ and its the only way you will find a mission statement that fits the treatment of Benitez!

        In the meantime the chronicle will be lining up summer signings galore.

        • mentalman

          is there any actual proof that this conversation actually happened?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            There is a photo of him in Pret a manger. The reported conversation says that he considers buying the club fairly simple and Ms Staveley didn’t seem serious and any deal was off. It was also reported “He said he was hoping we’d stay up to then sell in the summer as he has no interest in the club and does not want to invest, saying this why we got loan signings last month.” (note Leazes’ has a slightly misleading edit of this statement, he tends to lie but in this case, not report in full)

            You can read a lot into that but I read it as consistent with the previous statements of Rafa being able to spend what the club generates. In which case, he was not prepared to fund transfers out of his own pocket in January hence the loan deals (there are other practical reasons too). I fully expect transfers to happen in the summer even if Mike does not sell as keeping the powder dry over this season should leave us with considerable wriggle room in the summer.

          • Leazes.

            There’s photos of him in the coffee shop with the guy on the internet, just search it…..the conversation is so underplayed that it resonates as true, there’s nothing preposterous.

            Is there anything to doubt that Ashley doesn’t give a darn for United?

      • Rich Lawson

        Ashley,in a coffee shop,can’t be true then surely ?

        • mactoon

          The lad posted photos and said ashley told him he wasn’t investing any money as he was sick of it.

          • Rich Lawson

            Fair play

    • Hughie_Gallacher

      I notice BBC Newcastle have not mentioned Ashley’s statement either.
      Very odd.

  • TheNutJob

    Hola, Fatty won`t be dishing out the dosh in the summer or at any other time,
    he has no interest in the Toon & you don`t spend money when your not interested.

  • mactoon

    Everything points to a lack of transfer activity (with the accounts due out on 30 June he won’t want to spend anything before then) It’s all profit and loss with Ashley and anything Rafa says about the need to improve the squad seems to fall on deaf ears. Rafa has a decision to make

  • Jezza

    “When you wonder just how ridiculous Ashley can be and think surely he won’t risk losing Rafa Benitez”

    I genuinely believe Ashley has actually wanted to get rid of Rafa ever since promotion was secured last April. Ashley would love to have his pet puppet Pardew back on a quarter of Rafa’s salary and no complaints about the lack of transfer funds.

    • mentalman

      so why hasn’t he brought Pardew back in?

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        That would mean sacking Rafa which is costly but otherwise, Jezza is talking ill-informed rubbish as ever.

        • Arty Hume

          From what I gather Rafa is free to leave without penalty after his second year. Is that correct?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’ve not read that from any dependable source. I can’t see that as being something Ashley would have sought.

          • FatParosite

            Rafa is free to leave when in his final year without penalty. That final year starts in June.

        • mentalman

          if MA wants rid of Rafa and Rafa is as unhappy as certain posters on here assure us he is then why wouldn’t they both just walk away from one another and move on

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            The only gripe I think Ashley has with Rafa is his use of the media to create a transfer budget. I don’t think Rafa is as upset as he likes the media to portray.

          • FatParosite

            They will… Neither wants to pay comp. Rafa likes the money he gets so I suspect he will stay. This will give an indication (indication only) that Ashley is actively looking for buyers & the status quo play on.

    • Arty Hume

      Maybe, but I would like to think of another scenario. Season ends with Rafa stating he is leaving, he is going to think of his options for a few months. The price of the club drops because of this, assuming P.L status. Mandy steps in and gets the club for 200 > 250m and contacts Rafa who then says he will manage the club again. A win win for club and fans. :)

      • Jezza

        Don’t build your hopes up. Ashley won’t sell unless he gets an offer that is too good to refuse. He is making far too much money out of our club to sell it at a reduced price.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          He’s not made any money yet, he does so when he sells.

          It’s highly likely that he wants to sell as much as you want him out, however, it’s going to be at a price commensurate with the ability to generate money.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        Rafa will not leave to mull over his options. He will have to buy out his contract and he will not do that.

        If the price of the club falls, the club will not be sold. The club was not sold in December as the offer on the table was not enough. It’s highly likely that he wants to sell as much as you want him out, however, it’s going to be at a price commensurate with the ability to generate money. In the EPL with the clubs wages under control, the club should generate good profits. Ashley hasn’t taken money out as yet but this is an investment that can generate returns of around £40m a year. Ashley is not going to let it go for £250m.

        For once. I agree with Jezza, don’t get your hopes up at £250m. However, Staveley may come back, it’s a much safer bet in the Summer than December and well worth the rumoured asking price.

  • Gary Linskey

    I’m probably gonna get hammered for saying or even thinking this, but I sometimes feel I want Benitez to leave just to teach Ashley a harsh lesson! I’d love to see his reaction to that. Rafa doesn’t deserve to be at a club that has no aim or ambition, and as long as Mike Ashley is in charge, that will never change.

    • Viru leckworth

      I know what you mean but…

  • Proppaboots

    With any hope we will have rid our relegation threat with a couple of games to go…..however I think if we have Rafa may well quit on or around the final game of the season if he does not believe he will be backed with money in the close season.

  • Rich Lawson

    Can we just call him ”Trunky” now instead of the usual insults,makes a change ?

  • Leazes.

    Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by The Mag….is it…jolly good.

    I don’t think there’s anything in this ‘positivity – negativity’ theory Dale…. its a way journalists spin pro Ashley nonsense, it makes people falsely think the club is moving forward….its a device used by Ryder, Dr, Ed. and Mark Jensen as you know fine well!

    Ashley has stated that he isn’t going to allow spending…..
    ….’“He (Ashley) said he was hoping we’d stay up to then sell in the summer as he has no interest in the club and does not want to invest, saying this why we got loan signings last month’….

    Well that statement isn’t going to change at all now is it?
    He was also asked if there were any buyers to which he replied only Staveley but she wasn’t genuine….no spending…no buyers….but club for sale….

    Now when you look at that it is the perfect mechanism for ‘more of the same’, it allows him to string along Rafa and in turn allows Rafa to string along the fans!
    Its ‘String Theory’…. the fans of this club have been strung along for my entire lifetime with lies, and seemingly want more lies to be told because its ‘good for them’ to have ‘positives’….. according to the media which surrounds this club.

    Well ….No it isn’t….. not at all! …..not in any shape or form. you can see that Rafa has accepted this position by bringing in ‘twopence-halfpenny’ players and setting up survival in place of ambition. Six million quid for that…. well he’s stringing us all along on the ‘Rafalution road trip’….. tell me Dale…. how are you going to spin a ‘positive’ when Rafa is forced to sell Lascelles?

    I’ll tell you how to do it…. you ignore the impact of a ‘negative event’ and you fill you back-pages with hope….. just keep the lies flowing mate and you can indefinitely play the perpetual game!

  • pedrodelgardo

    The elephant is in the way and I can’t see my crystal ball anymore, luckily I can come on here and be shown how the future will look.