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Forget Rafa and the players as Mike Ashley leaving is the only show in Toon

3 years ago

The discussion around Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez is intensifying with each passing day.

It is now only 47 days until the manager takes charge of the final game of his Newcastle United contract.

What follows on from then is the unknown.

The debate is all about whether what Mike Ashley offers Rafa will be enough to tempt the Spaniard to extend his stay.

To me, that conversation/debate is absolutely pointless when it comes to the overall picture, as until Ashley sells up and leaves, the club is still only going to be treading water.

As it happens, I don’t think the owner is dong anything to try and keep hold of Rafa Benitez.

He would probably quite like it if the manager stayed on BUT only on his (Ashley’s) terms.

Whatever promises/concessions that he might make to Rafa, would only be a drop in the ocean. They won’t be any kind of a basis for  the club realising its potential, that can only stand a chance of happening once we see Mike Ashley go the distance.

Plus of course, any promises/concessions won’t be honestly stuck to either, with Ashley shaving off as much as possible from what Benitez believed had been agreed between them.

I’m sure Rafa Benitez is looking at this in a similar way to me, I can’t believe he would consider tying himself to the Sports Direct tat supremo with another contract.

Certainly since the first transfer window (even then Rafa generated a £40m profit for Ashley) there hasn’t been a single bit of goodwill shown by the owner to the manager. Just the usual playing games and messing about that anybody decent experiences when they end up landing in the job.

Transfer window after transfer window has seen Rafa Benitez left exasperated, going public with his disappointment at yet more broken promises. Whilst Miguel Almiron was a welcome signing, it was hardly what Rafa Benitez had wanted from that window.

Rafa was in a desperate fight against relegation when we got to the end of December and needed players in as soon as possible. Yes he wanted Almiron but for Ashley to not make any effort to get the player in any earlier than the very last day of the window, could have been a massive own goal, as was the fact that no other signings were allowed to help the manager. The fact Antonio Barreca can’t even get in the matchday squad is evidence enough that he wasn’t on any list Rafa had to try and help him in the remainder of this season.

The manager has engineered what looks another season of survival despite the January transfer window, not because of it. Almiron has done ok but in reality it has been the squad that was already in place, which has got NUFC to the brink of safety.

Yes, if I had a choice of Rafa Benitez to still be here or not next season, of course I’d choose him to remain.

The same with players such as Lejeune, Schar, Dubravka and Rondon of course.

However, I would trade all of that/them, if it meant we got rid of Mike Ashley.

After 12 years of his rule we surely know exactly what he is about.

The club and supporters are only there to benefit Ashley and his Sports Direct empire, any benefits for Newcastle United as a football club are purely accidental.

His 12 years have seen hardly a penny spent on St James Park or the training ground.

The state of the art training complex which was promised in 2013 and said by Ashley to be essential if Newcastle are to compete, hasn’t had a brick laid.

As for St James Park, the owner is benefiting financially on a personal basis, from a development on land that once belonged to the club, which when completed will prevent any future realistic expansion of the stadium’s capacity.

Could the messages he sends out be any louder?

The only talks I am interested in hearing about concerning Mike Ashley, is him talking to people who want to buy him out.

If he put the club up for sale at a market price (what it is worth), then it will sell.

The club has never been properly for sale and sadly I can’t see that changing.

The benefits are so massive for him and the rest of his business empire, both in the ways that are very visible to us all and no doubt in countless other ways we are unaware of, as well as those where it is all smoke and mirrors – such as the club shops, dealings with Puma and the conferencing side of the business.

If Mike Ashley remains as owner and Rafa Benitez does stay, it will simply continue to be a struggle for the manager. No long-term planning allowed and Rafa having to fight for every penny to try and get the squad in a position to ensure there isn’t a third relegation under this owner.


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