It was probably the first time many of us [if you were there] had seen a helicopter relatively up close.
The 17 May 1984 saw a helicopter descend to whisk Kevin Keegan away from St James Park and Newcastle United, never to be seen again, or so we thought.
Only the 34 years ago, the occasion was an end of season testimonial/celebration of Kevin Keegan’s time at the club, two years which had seen him drag Newcastle into the top tier, before then retiring as a player.
Liverpool were the opposition for the kick about at a packed St James Park but after a very long lap of honour, it really was dramatic stuff when that helicopter descended from the Tyneside skies.
For Mike Ashley, a helicopter is simply how he gets to work each day.
Then usually once a year he descends on the training ground in the final days of the season for a meet and greet with players and manager.
We haven’t seen the helicopter as yet this year, maybe Mike Ashley will instead descend in one onto the St James Park pitch ahead of Sunday’s game with Chelsea?
For all that we are told that Rafa’s representatives are talking to Lee Charnley [and others] every time the manager has held a press conference over the course of this past month, as was the case on Friday with the pre-Chelsea one, is this really how things will be settled?
A year ago it was Rafa Benitez and Lee Charnley who were whisked off in a helicopter to meet Mike Ashley shortly after the Championship season ended, then very quickly the ‘every penny’ statement was released, with both Mike Ashley AND Rafa Benitez declaring they were happy with the outcome. Everybody United together moving forward…
Only for July and August to be months full of ‘broken promises’, as Rafa wondered when he would be properly supported in the transfer market.
Mike Ashley has actively courted the image of being a maverick in his business life, informal meetings in pubs rather than the boardroom.
Maybe having agreed on a handshake and vague promises of ‘every penny’ a year ago, these never ending talks with his representatives are because Rafa Benitez wants it in writing, or preferably blood, so he knows what exactly he would be committing to.
Rather than later finding out somebody had their fingers crossed when making ‘promises’.
Sunday would be the perfect opportunity for Mike Ashley to make a rare appearance at a Newcastle United match and cut through whatever is holding things back, in these never ending talks.
‘Newcastle fans waving Kevin Keegan goodbye back in 1984’
Tell Rafa he is getting what he wants/needs and then the minions get it written up in the following days and the manager and his representatives know exactly what they are signing up for.
Transfer deadline day may be another three months away but of course this would be the biggest signing of this summer.
You wouldn’t want to put a deadline on the Rafa Benitez situation but if we haven’t seen at least some action by next weekend, you would have to worry about where we are going to end up.