Martin Keown thinks Newcastle United are on dodgy ground.
The former Arsenal and England defender claims that if Newcastle make it three relegations in the last nine Premier League campaigns under Mike Ashley, they risk becoming ‘another Aston Villa.’
Something which I’m sure no Newcastle supporter would fancy…
Can’t disagree with Martin Keown when he says last weekend’s Brighton match ‘was the sort of game that they should be winning’, with Southampton tomorrow also highly winnable, at least in theory.
Most Newcastle fans are realistic though and if ever there was a situation where it is the shortcomings of a club’s owner, rather than manager, it is the one currently at St James Park.
Which Keown does kind of acknowledge when he says in The Mail: ‘This club is a sleeping giant but under Mike Ashley they have not had the injection of cash they needed to be successful.’
Never mind injection of cash, these two and a half years under Rafa Benitez have seen a profit on transfer deals of around £40m.
This summer seeing a £20m+ profit and Mike Ashley reported to have taken out £10m after the window closed.
The club confirming that Ashley intends to make that a figure of £33m he will take out by the end of this current financial year.
So yes, the manager has to take some blame when a team is struggling, but when Martin Keown claims that Rafa Benitez will find his ‘job on the line’ if things don’t pick up, what would be the point of that.
Newcastle would simply still have the same group of players who are amongst the weakest squads in the Premier League BUT with an inferior manager compared to what they have now, no doubt another Ashley yes man would be appointed in the mould of Pardew or Carver.
Martin Keown asked ‘Are Newcastle heading for the drop?’:
“The alarm bells must be ringing at St James Park and Rafa Benitez’ job will be on the line if results do not improve.
“Brighton at home last week was the sort of game that they should be winning.
“Newcastle are floating through games trying to get a draw.
“By playing this way, it is as if Benitez is admitting that he does not have the players to be expansive.
“This club is a sleeping giant but under Mike Ashley they have not had the injection of cash they needed to be successful.
“Southampton this weekend becomes crucial.
“If they cannot win this game against a rival at the foot of the table then where do they go from here?
“Suffer another relegation to the Championship and the danger is Newcastle become another Aston Villa.”