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Mike Ashley makes it ‘Clear to Rafa Benitez wants him to stay’ – Funny way of showing it

7 months ago
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Running alongside the relegation battle, is the ongoing question of what will happen between Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez.

The two things are of course linked, or of course we at least assume them to be.

It isn’t as simple as Newcastle stay up and Rafa stays, or relegation and he goes. Or vice-versa…

More probably a case of if/when Newcastle United stay up, what does Rafa Benitez need to persuade him that it is worth sticking around.

By this summer, the Spaniard will have been at St James Park three and a half years.

So I think we can take it as read that he now knows exactly what the club is all about under Mike Ashley.

What he can rely on (the fans) and what he can’t rely on (what Mike Ashley promises him).

The Chronicle report ‘Both Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley have made a written offer to Benitez to entice him to extend his current deal.’

I looked up the dictionary meaning of ‘entice’ and it states ‘attract or tempt by offering pleasure or advantage.’

So what pleasure or advantage is Mike Ashley offering?

Well, if he has indeed made a written offer of a new deal, Rafa Benitez will want Ashley to be committing in writing exactly what he will be getting.

Not vague verbal promises of ‘every penny’ or that the manager will have the final say on transfers within the budget available, which in reality has meant only transfers which then Mike Ashley agrees with as well.

Which for example meant Rafa wasn’t even allowed to try and buy Salomon Rondon, despite Mitrovic having been sold for £22m (rising to £27m).

The Chronicle headline says ‘Newcastle United chiefs make it clear to Rafa Benitez they want him to stay beyond this season’ but without backing that up with proper commitments to properly support the manager, it isn’t really making it clear they want him to stay.

It is just them (Ashley and his minions) wanting to make it look as though they want him to stay for the benefit of fans, neutrals and media.

The report continues…’The Spaniard has yet to sign a contract extension but won’t get everything he wants if he decides to stay… Benitez is aware that there is no bottomless pit of money to spend and his requests for new players, a new training ground and a new Academy will have to be staggered out over a five-year plan.’

It is presented as though Newcastle United have suddenly found themselves in this situation of being a Premier League club without a properly funded Academy, first team squad, training complex, stadium and so on.

The truth is, Mike Ashley has been here for 12 years now and neglected the Academy throughout that time, spent almost nothing on maintaining/improving St James Park and the training complex, whilst no ambition or long-term plan as been in place for the first team squad.

Instead, the club limps along from season to season, giving Mike Ashley’s retail the exposure around the world, which was the central reason why he bought Newcastle United.

Mike Ashley announced in 2013 that a new state of the art training complex was essential if Newcastle were going to be able to compete and plans were unveiled at that time. Still there hasn’t been any work started on it. If Rafa Benitez has to wait another five years for that, it will have been 11 years after first been announced, which tells you everything about what ‘essential’ means for Newcastle United where Mike Ashley is concerned.

Normal Premier League owners wouldn’t say that if such a training is to be built then it will be at the expense of buying essential first team players. Spending on a training complex would usually see an owner take it on the chin and personally finances it with his or her money, seeing it as a personal investment in an asset, so a bit like putting a conservatory on your house, it increases the value when you come to sell it. Rather than saying to your family yes we will build a conservatory but it means we won’t be able to buy any food in the meantime.

Spending on things such as the Academy and training complex are outside of FFP (Financial Fair Play), so an owner can spend extra cash on those without in any way affecting what you would be allowed to spend on the playing squad.

Also, Newcastle will have had by the summer successive years of Premier League cash, with another one guaranteed so long as they stay up this season. Exactly when do NUFC under Mike Ashley start making a net spend on players?

In Rafa Benitez’ three and a half years, he is still in profit on transfer deals.

For the manager to be convinced by Mike Ashley, there will have to be a lot of promises…and in writing.

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