Steve Howey played under Kevin Keegan at Newcastle United, the centre-forward turned centre-back prospering under KK, ending up in the England team.
This all seems a long long time ago and to an extent it is.
Kevin Keegan is the greatest Newcastle manager most of us have seen, Sir Bobby Robson up there with him, now Rafa Benitez capable of joining them.
However, whilst Rafa has all the expertise and experience, it is impossible for him to get close to the great days and relative success Sir Bobby and Kevin Keegan brought to the club.
It is just a sick joke that the fans and Rafa Benitez are in a position now, where Premier League survival would count as success this season, based on the squad investment at other clubs and the lack of this at NUFC due to Mike Ashley.
Sky Sports gave Steve Howey the chance to enlighten the audience about Mike Ashley and Newcastle United and he didn’t hold back…
Steve Howey talking on Sky Sports following Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest:
The Premier League is all important:
“It’s not a great start to the season and this was always going to be a difficult game anyway.
“You can argue, does Rafa play his strongest team just so they can get that first win? He has come out and said this is an opportunity to the fringe players.
“Look they’re out of the cup, it’s disappointing and I think it will be a case that Rafa and the players will be disappointed, so will the fans but I think the manager is more or less concentrating on what can he do in the Premier League.
“We all would like a cup run but the league is the most important thing.”
How does it get better for Newcastle United?:
“It’s going to be very difficult for it to get better.
“You look at the teams that Newcastle have got coming up in the league and the fans are very very frustrated with what happened in the transfer market.
“There has been a lot criticism coming out about Newcastle fans, people saying they think they’ve got a God given right, that is absolute nonsense.
“That is not the case.
“You get these people coming on saying this and that about the club and they haven’t got a clue what is going on.
“The fact is, Newcastle fans are disappointed because they can’t see the club moving forward, they can’t see the club progressing in any way. They had a perfect opportunity at the end of last season they finished 10th…
“Newcastle made a £123m from the Premier League and TV last year plus £43.5 million in player sales, now Mike Ashley was on Sky Sports and used this as a platform to say ‘Rafa Benitez will get every penny the club generates’, that has not been the case.
“He (Ashley) said he wants to sell the club, that hasn’t been the case, or he has put it up for too much money.
“Rafa Benitez should have been at least given the money he got for selling the players but he didn’t, that is what narks the fans.
“Rafa Benitez has spent £13 million on THREE players which doesn’t get you anywhere in this day and age.
“Newcastle fans are not asking, like Mike Ashley said, (for the kind of money) where can compete with the likes of Manchester City, we’re not expecting to compete with Manchester City or Liverpool or Chelsea, we’re not.
“We’d just like to compete with the rest of the teams.
“When you look at teams like Huddersfield, fair play to them, they have gone out and spent £17,5m on one player. Bournemouth broke their record and paid £15m for Jordan Ibe and just paid £25m for another player this summer.
“Look at Newcastle United, Rafa has not been given the opportunity to bring players in.
“You have got a world class manager and he’s not been given the tools to work. If he has not been given finance and finished 10th – how good can he be if he’s given a little bit of money behind him because at the moment he’s working with hands behind his back.”
Before Mike Ashley arrived:
“Before Ashley came we were playing in the Champions League and in 10 years I think we finished second, third, fourth, fifth and seventh, two FA Cup finals, two semi-finals, Champions League, UEFA Cup
“We had the most expensive striker in the world, Alan Shearer in 1996, broke their record again in 2005 for Michael Owen and that’s it…it’s stopped.
“It’s galling for the fans when they can see all these other teams breaking records, when Newcastle’s record is £16m.”
“Rafa is the one that the fans are pinning their hopes on, he is Newcastle’s biggest asset and why would you get rid of your best asset?
“You lose him and when you haven’t got the strength and depth of quality, which Newcastle haven’t got, they are going to struggle.
“Rafa Benitez has turned around and said he would love this to be a five or ten year plan.
“But if you look at the ground, it needs work on.
“The academy needs work on.
“There was a picture on social media, fans go to the ground and they pay their hard earned money for a ticket to watch the game and the facilities… the toilets, absolutely disgusting.
“This shouldn’t be happening..fans see the funds not getting spent on the pitch, not getting spent in the academy, and obviously Mike Ashley seems to be in a position where he can’t be bothered anymore and the club seems to be getting neglected.
“Where has £123 million gone? I don’t understand where it goes.”