Currently sat in the airport waiting for my flight to Dublin, I thought I would put together some thoughts ahead of the first Newcastle United friendly of pre-season.
Without being sure exactly where to start, I had a little look at what I said after our first pre-season game last season away to Hearts and it was surprisingly positive. Although, that was because I made an effort not to talk about transfers. There is nothing at all to be positive about right now with Newcastle United.
Over the last few weeks I have had the feeling that this summer has gone to a whole new level, but let’s be honest, absolutely nothing has changed. With the exception of one summer, and two January windows, this has been the norm under Mike Ashley. If you have been living in a bubble, and I admit, it is mainly fans of my age bracket (16-25) who are guilty of this most, let me just refresh your memory of how this summer has gone;
One new player at Newcastle United since the final months of the last campaign.
One player has left. Mikel Merino was allowed a tiny ‘buy out’ clause when signing permanently for the club. Suggesting that the club never had any intention of keeping him anyway.
The prices of season tickets rose. Yes, I am still trying to get my head around that one.
Newcastle introduced two new shirts and the owner through Sports Direct, charged Newcastle fans more than any other club’s fans. We still do not know how much percentage of shirt sales go to the club and how much goes to Sports Direct.
There is no money to spend. The club have made perfectly clear that Rafa will not be allowed to spend money until they have raised money from the sales of Mitrovic, Sels, Mbemba and even Matt Ritchie.
No new contract for the manager. Rafa will go.
That is only in the space of one month, in one summer. With three weeks of the transfer window remaining, if you don’t know the rest of the story, then you’ve never read the book.
Even as I sit here now, a quick look through my phone and I am reading about how Newcastle are interested in signing Rondon… ON LOAN!? Putting aside the embarrassment of not being able to spend any money, the club has now resorted to not being able to sign players from a Championship club. On a similar note, the Chronicle’s Lee Ryder has made it clear that we aren’t interested in signing Matt Phillips from the same club… thanks Lee!
It really is embarrassing. There is no way any player would sign a long-term deal at Newcastle anyway, considering that Rafa only has 12 months left on his contract, so I think any hope people have of any serious signings coming in, should be disregarded right now.
I am the last person to have a pop at other fans but those people that continue to defend Mike Ashley, or any other club official for that matter, should really have a think about what type of club they want to support. If you aren’t angry at what is going on, if you are going out and buying the new shirt, or going along with the likes of Chronicle in talking about potential transfers, then you are not helping. You are only adding to what can only be described as Sports Direct United. Where have you been for the past 11 years? What world are you living in?
For anything to change, fans need to make their views clear, and I don’t mean singing ‘get out of our club, you fat b…… in the last five minutes of a game.
I have cited the actions of German fans in the past but look at West Ham fans last season. I am not condoning the behaviour of some of them because it was a disgrace and for a minority of them they should be banned for life. I know the club quite well, and let me tell you, they don’t have it anywhere near as bad as Newcastle fans, but do I understand why they were so angry?
Instead, they got off twitter, they didn’t ‘brown-nose’ the club, and they put REAL pressure on their owners and showed them how displeased they were at the running of their club. This summer they have gone out and spent £80 million.
I won’t suggest people don’t go and support their team but do you have to buy the shirt? Do you have to buy a pint in the ground? Those little things can go some way to putting pressure on.
If we went out and spent money and they turned out to be rubbish, then well, in a way that is football. Of course we would have a good moan about it, talk about solutions, talk about who is to blame, but at least, as a football fan you would have a bit of satisfaction knowing that your club is trying.
I will probably keep reiterating this over the next few weeks, and I admit it is an unpopular opinion which I get hammered for, but for any meaningful change to happen any time soon then Rafa has to leave.
At the moment I think he is the only thing stopping the majority of people from getting angry enough to do something about this shambles.
I said for a while that the only positive at Newcastle United is Rafa Benitez but now I have changed my mind. As much as I love the guy, his presence, and the ‘false hope’ he gives fans, is actually holding the club back.
Nothing will ever change at Newcastle United Football Club as long Mike Ashley is here.
You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn