Rob Lee is a worried man.
The midfielder who was a key man in Newcastle United’s phenomenal rise under Kevin Keegan, sees the club now heading only one way.
Unsurprisingly, he lays the blame for this at the door of Mike Ashley.
Rob Lee says that ‘everyone in football knows that’ Newcastle’s 10th place finish last season was a massive overachievement, only brought about by Rafa Benitez’ expertise.
The once exception to this is the NUFC owner according to Lee and once again he believes Ashley ‘has blown a big opportunity’ at St James Park.
No surprise to the fans sadly, an owner who has only allowed any kind of major spending in the past when relegation has threatened, or actually happened.
The prime example being after finishing fifth in 2011/12 and having no net spend, only Anita bought in and a number of players sold.
The reality of course was that last year was a season-long relegation struggle and if results had been different on the final day, Newcastle could have ended up as low as fifteenth. Plus 44 points is the lowest ever total to achieve a top half finish in the Premier League era.
Worryingly, Rob Lee believes that this squad now is actually weaker than last year and with Florian Lejeune now out long-term, it is very hard to make a case for arguing against the former Newcastle star’s evaluation.
Like the rest of us he hopes things will prove better than they look and that there will prove to be plenty of goals in this squad. However, failing to score in the last three friendlies and Rafa Benitez having no time in pre-season to work with the new attacking players, are major concerns.
If pulling together, can the manager, players and fans combine to avoid a third relegation under Mike Ashley in nine Premier League season?
This is in the balance and would have been completely avoidable if Mike Ashley had done what any other normal owner would have done.
Rob Lee speaking to The Star:
“I genuinely fear for Newcastle United, I really do.
“They overachieved massively, finishing 10th last season, everyone in football knows that.
“Rafa Benitez did a magnificent job and most owners would have recognised that fact and backed him to the hilt during the summer.
“He has blown a big opportunity and every other club, even the promoted ones, are spending big.
“I look at our squad and it doesn’t even look as strong as last season’s.
“Are there goals in that team? Hopefully…but I have my doubts.
“I thought Rafa Benitez would have gone by now.
“Clearly he’s not a happy man, but thankfully, he is staying loyal to the fans.
“One day though, he will have had enough, and then we will be in big trouble.
“Despite all this unrest, the Geordies will never turn on Rafa or the team, and that is why Ashley can’t win this one.
“Not that he seems to care – being unpopular obviously doesn’t worry him.
“Sadly, he will just carry on running the club just the way he wants to.”