Mike Ashley has asked Rafa Benitez to stay at Newcastle United.
In the aftermath of beating Chelsea on the final day of the season, the club have released a statement from the owner.
Mike Ashley saying: ‘Rafa, as always, has my full support…I hope very much that Rafa will remain at Newcastle United.’
Ashley stating that ‘Rafa, as always, has my full support.’
Well, the manager has made clear that this very definitely has not been the case throughout all of these past 26 months.
It is time for actions to speak louder than words and for Mike Ashley to convince Rafa Benitez to sign a new contract.
Otherwise, fans have every right to see this as just a PR gesture by the owner, to try and make it appear he is willing to do the right thing.
He talks of ‘full support’ and ‘every penny generated by the club is available’ but Mike Ashley has to start generating more money for starters, by Sports Direct starting to pay for their so far free advertising at the club AND backdate it for these past 11 years! In the club accounts a couple of years ago the owner said SD were going to start and pay for the advertising at NUFC but it never happened.
In addition, the NUFC owner has to back up his commitment years ago to build a state of the art training ground, plus back Rafa in the revamped Academy he wants to establish at the club.
On top of all this, Ashley needs to not only back Rafa in the transfer market but also give him total freedom, instead of playing games and blocking deals.
Ashley can also stop his private development of hotels, retail and student accommodation on land opposite the Gallowgate, which means realistically it would stop the stadium ever being extended, then do a proper public feasibility study as to whether St James Park can be increased in capacity.
Also, might be a radical idea but why didn’t Mike Ashley come and see Rafa Benitez face to face and thank him personally for saving his bacon this season AND then persuade him he is genuine, rather than a lame statement.
Official Mike Ashley Announcement via Newcastle United:
Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has thanked Rafa Benítez, the players and the club’s supporters following the club’s tenth-place finish in the Premier League.
The Magpies secured a place in the top half with a 3-0 victory over Chelsea at St. James’ Park on Sunday.
The owner said:
“I would like to thank Rafa Benitez for his magnificent achievement this season.
“I would also like to applaud the players, led fantastically by the captain Jamaal Lascelles.
“On many occasions throughout the season they have been described as a Championship side, which I personally consider to be derogatory.
“Rafa, as always, has my full support, and contrary to some media reports that portray me as a pantomime villain, I will continue to ensure that every penny generated by the club is available to him.
“I hope very much that Rafa will remain at Newcastle United.
“Finally, I would like to thank the fans for their unrivalled support of Rafa and the team throughout the season.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 3 Chelsea 0
Newcastle: Gayle 23, Perez 59, 63
Possession was Chelsea 58% Newcastle 42%
Total shots were Chelsea 6 Newcastle 16
Shots on target were Chelsea 2 Newcastle 6
Corners were Chelsea 2 Newcastle 4
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie (Hayden 72), Shelvey, Diame (Haidara 87), Murphy, Perez, Gayle (Joselu 48)
Darlow, Manquillo, Gamez, Merino
Crowd: 52,294 (3,000 Chelsea)
(Alan Shearer reacts after end of season 3-0 hammering of Chelsea – Read HERE)
(Sunday night’s Match of the Day Running order is HERE)
(Read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the victory HERE)
(Kenedy post emotional farewell message to Newcastle United – Read it HERE)