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Opinion

Rafa Benitez and fans just paper over the cracks of reality at Newcastle United

1 year ago
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Without Rafa Benitez, there really is nothing at Newcastle United.

It is simply a shell of a football club.

The fans of course are still there, filling St James Park, but if Rafa had left then this wouldn’t have been the case.

The fact that both the manager and supporters are still there, simply papers over the massive cracks at our football club.

What else is there?

The essential state of the art training complex promised years ago, that would supposedly enable us to compete with the top clubs, hasn’t even had one brick laid.

The much-needed and also long standing revamp of the Academy, which Rafa has also made clear is needed? Nothing happening.

Desire to do big commercial deals with outside partners to grow the revenues? Nothing doing.

Partnerships/presence in countries overseas to try and tap into young emerging talent? What do you think?

Ambition in the transfer market With 23 days until transfer deadline Newcastle United are showing a profit!

The story of Mike Ashley’s 11 years at Newcastle United is of a ship struggling to stay afloat, constantly bailing out water in the hope it doesn’t sink.

Twice in nine Premier League seasons it has (sank), with another couple of near misses. Luckily for Ashley, Chris Hughton and Rafa Benitez were on hand to save the day and refloat the permanently leaking HMS NUFC.

We really have a soulless club, with only the presence of Rafa and tens of thousands of loyal fans, as well as many more outside the stadium, keeping its heartbeat going.

It is very difficult as a fan to take it, you want to do something to make a difference but when you have a billionaire owner who gets massive benefits from owning Newcastle United, why would he ever leave?

Mike Ashley’s reasons for owning the club are the same as they were when he first walked through the door.

His people told John Hall that Ashley was buying the club so he could promote Sports Direct and associated businesses around the world, undoubtedly choosing NUFC because of the massive fanbase which provides such a positive backdrop to his adverts at St James Park.

Since he took over, St James Park has seen no money spent to improve/expand it, the Academy is still failing through lack of investment, next to nothing spent on the training facilities – it was only on Rafa’s insistence that the indoor pitch surface at the training ground was replaced, as the previous one had been deemed too dangerous to be used for years as it could cause injury.

As for the transfer market, this is of course where we mainly focus.

Remarkably in these days of ever rising transfer fees, Newcastle’s transfer record is now 13 years old.

Just as remarkably, Rafa Benitez is still in profit on transfer dealings since taking over 28 months ago.

With almost nine weeks of the twelve week gone, Newcastle have spent £4m, whilst Premier League clubs overall have spent £750m+.

Whilst Fulham are spending almost £30m on a midfielder, Newcastle sell one for £10m and bring in a 29 year old free transfer replacement.

Supporters are now so conditioned by Mike Ashley, there is little outrage or even surprise, when Newcastle don’t even try and buy Kenedy to start building for a future. A loan deal with no option to buy, if Ashley won’t allow a £20m buy now, what chance is there of paying £30m+ when/if the Brazilian is a massive success his coming season?

Maybe the fact Rafa Benitez has apparently quietly gone along with the Kenedy one year loan deal, is at least in part because he can’t see a future for himself (Rafa) at SJP beyond next summer.

When Rafa’s contract runs out then so will our hopes.

With this manager there you can always believe that potentially things can/will change for the better but if/when he does leave, this current facade will slip away and we will be left with the stark reality of life under Mike Ashley.

Rafa’s presence has allowed us to temporarily forget at times and we can all be grateful for that.

However, it is just too depressing beyond words to think of what could be possible if you had a properly run club under an ambitious owner, with this manager and fanbase.
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