John Anderson ‘If Mike Ashley had got rid of Rafa Benitez he’d have had an uprising on his hands’
John Anderson believes that Rafa Benitez is now at the heart of everything that’s good at Newcastle United.
The manager has been at the club only 25 months but former NUFC defender Anderson, says the former Real Madrid boss has ‘bought into the culture of the club…the culture of the area and…the culture of the people.’
Ironically, this is the exact opposite of Mike Ashley, who apart from the very early days of ‘drinking with the fans’, has taken on a role of absent landlord – at best.
John Anderson says that there would have been ‘an uprising’ if Ashley had binned Rafa Benitez and certainly the way the club’s owner has treated his manager over the course of these past three transfer windows, definitely lends weight to the argument that Mike Ashley is potentially trying to force him out by other means.
That sounds so illogical but after 11 years under Mike Ashley’s ownership, fans have come to realise that the Sports Direct chief is ready to make all kinds of decisions at NUFC that don’t make sense.
John Anderson points out just how badly Rafa Benitez has been undermined by Mike Ashley, saying that this summer ‘If Mike Ashley is still in charge he (Rafa) is going to want reassurances. He got those reassurances last season in the summer and they weren’t forthcoming.’
Newcastle supporters are waiting to see what happens now after Premier League safety was made certain on Sunday, Anderson stating that Rafa will want ‘guarantees’ from Ashley that ‘decent money will be made available to strengthen this squad.’
John Anderson speaking to Off The Ball:
“Rafa Benitez is a huge part of the football club because supporters have taken to him.
“He has bought into the culture of the club, he has bought into the culture of the area, and he has bought into the culture of the people.
“If Mike Ashley had got rid of him he’d have had an uprising on his hands.
“People are saying now, ‘if he’s given the right money, if he’s given the right tools, what could he achieve here?’
“All of a sudden expectation levels have risen dramatically.
“Before a ball was kicked at the start of the season all the talk was ‘will we be able to stay in the Premier League?’, now a lot of people are saying Benitez should actually get Manager of the Year for the job he’s done here.
“I don’t think he can leave at this moment in time. I think everyone would be visibily upset if he left.
“Saying that, if Mike Ashley is still in charge he’s going to want reassurances. He got those reassurances last season in the summer and they weren’t forthcoming, they weren’t followed through.
“He’s going to want guarantees that those assurances will be forthcoming this summer and that money, and I’m talking decent money, will be made available to strengthen this squad.
“Because what this squad has done has been remarkable, but I doubt very much whether it could keep doing it, they need to add quality to the squad.”
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