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Opinion

Will Newcastle fans question loyalty of Dubravka, Lascelles and Schar when/if they leave?

4 weeks ago
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Newcastle fans are now facing the end of the season with some trepidation.

Rather than anticipation at what could be achieved if building on the basis of a team Rafa Benitez has constructed on very little money.

Instead, Newcastle fans are fearing that Mike Ashley has no intention of trying to convince the manager to extend his stay, meaning everything he has built could fall apart very quickly.

If Rafa goes, who else will go?

If the manager leaves, it will be a signal to everybody that nothing has changed at the football club, that the owner intends to just keep to his ongoing plan of attempting to survive in the Premier League whilst allowing as little spend as possible on the squad and infrastructure of NUFC.

As well as Newcastle fans thinking what’s the point, you would have to be very naive to believe that there won’t be any number of player thinking the same.

What will be the reaction of supporters if the likes of Fabian Schar, Martin Dubravka, Jamaal Lascelles and others, demand a move.

Depressing to think about it but if Mike Ashley doesn’t even see that it makes 100% sense to buy Salomon Rondon in the summer, why would other players with ambition not be looking to follow the Venezuelan to the exit door?

Whilst Newcastle fans recognise that Mike Ashley is the one that is responsible, past events though show that for supporters the emotions take over when it comes to certain players actually walking away.

Fans used to sing about there being riots if Yohan Cabaye was sold, yet when he actually left, many of those same fans actually turned on the midfielder.

The player was seen as refusing to play for the club and whilst he claimed it was a case of Mike Ashley breaking a promise to let him leave in that January 2014 transfer window, many supporters still blamed Cabaye.

Likewise, Demba Ba was loved by Newcastle fans when he played, no wonder as he scored 29 goals in only 54 Premier League appearances.

Yet when he was happy to leave when Chelsea activated his £7.5m release clause, many supporters were blaming him rather than Mike Ashley.

It happens time and time again, NUFC fans saying at any particular time how this group of players are so much more committed/loyal than the last lot. Easy to say that until players are actually presented with an alternative option that is a lot more attractive than staying at Ashley’s ambition-free Newcastle United.

Fabian Schar has only started 16 Premier League games for Newcastle, Martin Dubravka only 43, how will supporters react if they walk away after being at St James Park for such a short time.

If Rafa leaves and everything falls apart, it isn’t unrealistic to imagine the scenario where ambitious clubs come in for both Schar and Dubravka (and others), Mike Ashley then sets very high selling prices, the players demand a move and potentially threaten to strike as Cabaye did. What would be the reaction of Newcastle fans then?

I think it would be mixed but whilst pretty much everybody would see Mike Ashley as the root cause, many would also be unhappy with the players.

Even though it would be the same lack of ambition that is driving the better players away, as has been the case these past 12 years under Mike Ashley.

The very worst disaster under Ashley was surely summer 2012, when through any number of factors, Newcastle had managed a breakthrough season by finishing fifth and fans waited to see what would be added to that squad to build on what NUFC had, in order to establish the club in the top group.

Instead, there was no net spend and only the very average Vurnon Anita was added to the squad.

Newcastle United were almost relegated the following season, only reaching safety when winning the final away match of the season at QPR.

That set of very good players from the previous season (Ba, Cisse, Ben Arfa, Coloccini, Krul, Tiote, Cabaye) were clearly totally demoralised at the lack of ambition that had been shown.

If Ashley had shown even half-decent ambition and brought in three or four decent signings to add to that team/squad, would Cabaye and Ba have still wanted to leave?

Nobody can say for sure but it would certainly have given them a lot more reason to hang around.

Money was a factor as well with Demba Ba, as he wanted higher wages than the relatively low deal he agreed when signing in 2011. Does that make him greedy or was it simply wanting to be rewarded for producing the goods?

Ashley refused to agree to an increase and so an excellent striker ends up leaving and Newcastle then go on a cycle of spending far more money on rubbish players such as Riviere, who they ended up having to give away.

Danny Simpson is a less talked about case than Cabaye and Ba but he was allowed to leave on a free transfer because Mike Ashley wouldn’t agree to the wages he was asking for, Simpson ending up winning the league with Leicester whilst six years later I would say we still haven’t seen a right-back as good at defending as Simpson was. However, at the time the media were happy to repeat the Ashley PR spin of greedy Danny Simpson, rather than the owner being at fault.

Coming back to the present day and the likes of Schar and Dubravka (and others) deserve to be rewarded financially with better contracts AND to see Rafa Benitez convinced to stay & some better quality players added to this team/squad that has signs of definite promise.

If Schar and Dubravka do though end up following Rafa out of the door, I will know who to blame and it won’t be any player.

The blame will lie at Mike Ashley’s door, nowhere else.

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