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Mike Ashley is a leech and won’t leave until nothing left to suck out – If I was Rafa Benitez I’d walk

1 month ago
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There are now just over four weeks of the Premier League season to go for Newcastle United.

So we have asked a number of regular/irregular Mag contributors about the state of Newcastle United.

What has/hasn’t happened this season and maybe more importantly, what is likely to happen moving forward.

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Next up answering questions is Billy Miller:

How would you sum up how you feel as a Newcastle fan at this moment in time?

Fearing the worst.

I’ve known three truly great managers at Newcastle in my time supporting them.

I caught the tail end of the Keegan era, Bobby Robson saw me through secondary school and now Rafa has all the ability to make us competitive once more.

It is devastating that we probably won’t ever see the full potential of what could be achieved with him at the helm. Part of me can’t wait for this season to be over, part of me never wants it to end. I’m terrified of what comes next.

As it stands now, do you think:

Mike Ashley will still own Newcastle United when next season kicks off?

Without a doubt.

Mike is a leech and there’s plenty of blood left in our club.

Only when it’s completely dry will he move on in my opinion.

I was more confident than ever he would sell this season after all the interference run by Newcastle fans against Sports Direct and the companies of his allies. But it was all a facade again.

Rafa Benitez will sign a new contract?

If I were Rafa I would walk away.

The only way I would stay is if I had it written into my contract to have a certain guaranteed pot of money (which could be bolstered by sales) each year and the freedom to spend it on whoever I pleased.

I’d then insist on a huge compensation package to be written in should Ashley renege on either of those elements.

That’s never going to happen though and if Rafa doesn’t get what he wants and walks, we need to crank the pressure up to the maximum.

This time there can be no compromise, even when Mike inevitably says he’s selling once more. We must do all we can until the papers are signed and he’s banished from our club. Just like Cersei Lannister, Mike Ashley has no place in the North.

Salomon Rondon will be bought by Newcastle?

I just can’t see it. If Rafa goes then definitely not.

The 11 Newcastle players you would most like to see still at the club next season (including players currently on loan), list them in order of importance.

Schar, Dubravka, Almiron, Rondon, Longstaff, Ritchie, Lejeune, Lascelles, Hayden, Perez, Shelvey

What do you think about Miguel Almiron so far and is Rafa getting the best out of him, or should he be playing further forward?

I think Almiron looks like a really exciting prospect.

I was definitely in the pro Hatem Ben Arfa camp and Almiron has shown flashes of that quality but with a tenacity and willingness to work back as well.

He hasn’t done anything too special yet but I think he just needs to settle in this year, get a full pre-season under his belt and then hopefully we’ll see his best next season.

A few other positive additions would probably do him the world of good. I’d like to see him playing in the number 10 role with new players brought in on either wing.

Do you think real progress can be made at NUFC under Mike Ashley, regardless of whether Rafa stays or not?

Only if he changes his entire philosophy. What we need is for someone to invent a personality reversing beam and target him with it. Then maybe we can experience the true potential of having a world class manager.

Do you think any of the criticism about Rafa’s tactics is fair, not just when playing the ‘big’ teams but also against the rest?

Give him the tools and then judge him.

If you ask a travel agent to book you a month long holiday around America and give them a budget of five hundred quid, expect a rubbish trip.

Rafa is always going to be about organisation and defensive quality and he’s managed to form an excellent backline on a stringent budget. With two or three really exceptional midfield/attacking additions we may be able to add some excitement to our defensive resilience.

With the players/resources available to him, which position in the table would/should Rafa Benitez have been fairly expected to achieve?

People have been asking me all season if I think we’ll go down and I’ve always given the same answer, ‘Not with Rafa.’ Not sure I can say the same if he’s replaced by an inferior manager next season.

Rafa Benitez was desperate for help in the January transfer window to fight relegation, did what ended up happening (the final day bringing Almiron in and the loan of Barreca) equal full support for the manager?

Not even slightly. It was a nice change to celebrate a big deadline day (incoming) transfer but it should never have taken that long to get Almiron ‘over the line.’ Sorry, Barreca who?

Has the unexpected success of Sean Longstaff given you hope of more young players making it at Newcastle and should Rafa be looking to give young players more of a chance?

Longstaff was a revelation and really uplifting.

The chances are he may have gone unnoticed for the next couple of years before heading out the door had it not been for injuries giving him his opportunity.

But then, it’s hard to throw young players into a first team that’s in a precarious position.

Asides from Sorensen, I’m not sure who else I’d be desperate to see given a chance at the moment. Woodman didn’t really convince me in the cup games but has been highly spoken of for a long time. It’s much harder to give a goalie a chance as there’s only one position and Dubravka has been outstanding since he signed.

It would be nice to see more players coming through though and once safety is 100% confirmed, I would quite like to see Sorensen and Woodman get a couple of games.

You can follow the author on Twitter @billymerlin

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