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Opinion

The 6 questions for Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez

1 year ago
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Without counting our chickens, it looks like Newcastle United will escape the drop.

Only a massive downturn in fortunes would trigger the uncertainties that goes with relegation.

Staying up nonetheless creates many questions of massive consequence.

Here are a few of them.

Will Rafa Benitez sign a new contract?

Will anyone with real wealth want to buy our club?

If the club is sold will the owner be prepared to invest enough to take us forward?

Will Mike Ashley be prepared to sell even if a large bid is lodged?

If we don’t change ownership will Ashley have a change of heart?

Will things just stay the same but without Rafa?

Just some of the many questions to be answered. Now I can imagine a lot of readers taking the ultimate negative standpoint, after all, the way things have been run over the entire Ashley regime, hardly inspires confidence. Ashley to stay, Rafa to go and the same old story of penny pinching, false expectations and fingers up to the fanbase? In short, the Ashley model in full flow.

I’m hardly an optimist after supporting / following Newcastle, through thin and thin all my life, but I don’t think the worst case scenario will happen. Why? Because even Ashley with his spiteful and gambling approach to running our club, needs Rafa more than Rafa needs him. Even a true gentleman and contract honouring legend has a breaking point and his has been reached a few times already.

A massive plus is the team he has built on the cheap, he will know that the last pieces of the jigsaw will be expensive but in sight. Then there’s the question of the training ground and sole control of the football side and its finances. It ain’t gonna happen I hear you say!

Well this might be true but he might (contractually) be given some of this, with assurances based on progress. Above all, I think he likes it here and wants to stay if he can just be given an excuse to do so. Without him things won’t be able to stay the same, Uncle Mike knows this too.

There are a few sobering thoughts.

Perhaps people who could afford us even at £400m with £200m investment needed, actually don’t want us. Then we could get an owner worse than Ashley, if that is possible! There are some, ask Portsmouth, Cardiff or even Sunderland. Another is that Rafa has maybe already decided to go, come what may.

The most sobering thought of all, no wonder I drink, is that everything is in the hands of Ashley, his decisions only. Everything is dependent on him having a change of heart. There is no in-between. Over to you Mike, just the way you like it.

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