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Opinion

The two possibilities why no reply from Mike Ashley to Rafa Benitez

1 month ago
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Whether you like his style of play or not, it is clear to see that right now, at this moment in time, Rafa Benitez is by far the best thing we have going at this club.

Yeah sure, we have managed to cobble together a few decent players, and Longstaff coming up through the ranks is one of the biggest positives to come out of this season, but we can’t exactly boast a squad of exceptional talent when considering our league opposition.

The fact that we are pretty much safe (win on Saturday and any fears I may have, small as they are at this stage, will disappear entirely) with the squad that we have just goes to show what a class act our manager is.

He has managed to solidify a pretty average defence with a very good shoestring purchase in Schar, found an absolute gem of a goalie in Dubravka, and is finding the right balance and selection for matches – no they aren’t the best on paper, but he has got them well drilled, focussed and organised, resulting in a very resilient, hard to break down back line. His best teams have always been founded on defensive solidity and he certainly hasn’t gone against his own grain here.

The whole team works together towards the same aim – we don’t have different roads or paths being walked by our players – they either tow the line and show the commitment he demands, or they don’t play. That is management, that is good management, that is great management in fact.

In an industry that is renowned for dressing room mutiny, we seem to have complete unity; even the players that want a move away in the summer, Hayden for example, are continuing to give their all for the club.

These are just a few small examples of why Rafa Benitez’ services MUST be retained, a few small elements that point to a situation where absolutely everything should be done to keep him at the helm of Newcastle United.

So, what’s the hold up with the contract talks?

Why hasn’t he signed a contract extension?

Is the relationship with Ashley that distant that ZERO feedback has been received?

The simplest conclusion must be YES, the relationship really is that distant, and no feedback has been received.

Way I see it, and it is just my opinion, there are two possible reasons why there has been no movement from Ashley’s camp.

First, the sale of the club is going to happen, and the new owners may want to evaluate the managers position before offering a new contract (stay with me here). We are all sick and tired of the Ashley PR spin as we get closer to transfer windows and contract showdowns etc – history shows that Ashley can be trusted about as much as a magpie (the winged type) in a silver spoon factory, but eventually, he will sell. He isn’t going to be around forever; at some point he will leave.

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There has been very little media talk of a takeover in the offing but that doesn’t always mean that nothing is going on. Now that premier league safety has all but been assured, IF it was going to happen, now would be an ideal time. Ashley has just taken a big hit with the whole Debenhams debacle, to the tune of around £100m, and with his love of snaffling up failing businesses, liquid cash is a necessity – £300m in his coffers will take both the financial stress, and operating stress away from him. When Chelsea are on the verge of a sale at £2.2billion, Ashley’s asking price must be intriguing to investors.

Second, and unfortunately for us, the most likely reason, is Rafa has asked for commitment on transfer budgets, academy and facilities upgrades in order for him to sign.

We know that Rafa has a vision for the club, and with some backing could very quickly make it a reality, but that costs money, and if Ashley isn’t going anywhere imminently, then we know already, he isn’t going to invest. He isn’t going to give Rafa the tools to do the job properly, he isn’t going to loosen purse strings, or change his way of running the club after 12 years.

Without his commitment, Rafa won’t sign, and in 23 days time will regretfully take charge of his last NUFC game.

There are possibly other reasons, but justifiably, these two must be the most realistic. Which one will happen is anyone’s guess; for me, I think we are going to be waving Rafa off in a little over three weeks time.

Whilst I would love to believe that the club will be sold this year, and even though the time is now right to do so, I fear we are going to have to endure another season at least under Ashley’s ownership…..i shudder at the thought.

Who replaces Rafa if he does go?

Again, it is anyone’s guess, but I have a horrible feeling that Steve Bruce will be the next puppet through the door. God I hope not!!!

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