Andy Gray is quite sure of who has to take responsibility now at Newcastle United.
Yet again, unsurprisingly, the disgraced presenter comes down on the side of Mike Ashley and points the finger at Rafa Benitez.
His argument is that you can ‘blame Mike Ashley all you want’ regarding how much money has or hasn’t been made available for transfers.
However, when it comes down to it, according to Andy Gray, it is Rafa Benitez who has chosen the players who have been signed.
There is a kind of logic to Gray’s comments but it is the logic of stupidity.
As a typical example, when promoted to the Premier League, Rafa was desperate for a quality goalscorer.
Mike Ashley refused to allow this kind of signing to happen and instead allowed £5m to be spent.
That bought a £5m Stoke reserve striker, who wouldn’t even get in their (Stoke’s) Championship team now.
So the Newcastle boss is stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Rafa allowed to buy no players at all in two of the four transfer windows since promotion, whilst in the other two, he has basically had to bring in bodies on a budget to fill shirts.
Rather than being allowed to spend money and improve the team, as every other club tries to do, Mike Ashley instead leaves Rafa bringing in the likes of free transfer Ki, £3m Schar, £4m Manquillo, £5m Joselu and £6m Atsu. With then loan deals to supplement the minimal spending.
It’s like giving a racehorse trainer ten grand to buy a horse and then having a go at them for not winning the Derby.
In the vast majority of cases you get what you pay for and Ashley has only allowed his manager Championship level spending.
Not difficult to see where that will take you unless you have a very good manager and a lot of luck.
Last season Newcastle had both, this season luck has deserted NUFC.
Andy Gray talking on beIN Sports:
“You can blame Mike Ashley all you want, for a lack of funds.
“(But) In the last two or three seasons, 15 or 16 players have arrived.
“Mike Ashley does not pick the team.
“When August comes around, only one man picks the team, and that is Rafa Benitez.
“People will say that they have played four of the top six…but Wolves got a point against Man City.
“The next seven games Newcastle fans will be thinking they can win them.
“But other teams will be looking at Newcastle and thinking we can win that.
“He (Rafa Benitez) shouldn not have said ‘We have to hope there are three worse teams in the league’, that was wrong.
“You can’t say this to fans.
“He has the responsibility and he is not producing the goods.
“He has to turn it round and very quickly.”