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Opinion

Unintended consequences when/if Mike Ashley forces Rafa Benitez out of Newcastle

1 month ago
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Newcastle United fans hope Rafa Benitez will stay at St James Park.

However, expectations are somewhat different.

The way the latest accounts went out from the club didn’t suggest a change of direction by Mike Ashley.

With less than three weeks to go until Rafa takes charge of the final game of his current contract, the NUFC owner appears to be very relaxed about the possibility of the Spaniard walking away.

Ashley has very much lived season to season  in his 12 years at Newcastle United, at times pretending to have some kind of long-term strategy, but in reality just trying to survive and see what happens next summer.

However, whilst fans can see just how wide-ranging a disaster losing Rafa Benitez could be, Mike Ashley seems to think he can just swiftly move on with minimal damage.

The Sports Direct supremo not taking into account the law of unintended consequences.

If Rafa goes then I think safe to assume the following will also happen…

Coaching Staff

I think it goes without saying that the manager’s backroom staff would also leave. They have played a massive part in the relative success achieved under Benitez and have also been key to the preparation for games, helping to form tactics, formations and team selections that have allowed Newcastle to compete/survive against the odds. A big gap to fill if they go.

Fans

I honestly believe that Mike Ashley has convinced himself that getting over 51,000 on average in the Championship wasn’t much/anything to do with Rafa Benitez deciding to stay on. The owner believes what he wants to believe and no doubt whatever Ashley says, the likes of Lee Charnley will automatically tell him he is right. Some people predict massive protests if/when Rafa leaves but I don’t think it will be people taking to the streets. Instead Ashley will find crowds sinking to closer to 40,000 as so many fans will quietly say enough is enough and walk away.

Media

Whilst the media have been overall very generous when Mike Ashley has made so many bad moves in the past, I think the NUFC owner will get a big shock this time. The media will be primed, ready and waiting, knives at the ready if the team bombs after Rafa Benitez has been forced out. There has been ever more recognition of the job Rafa has done against the odds.

Domino Effect

The better players who would have been more than ready to give it at least another year or two, will now be having second thoughts.Players such as Dubravka, Lascelles, Schar and others will take closer interest if clubs come in for them.

The Dressing Room

Rafa Benitez is in charge, delegates to Lascelles in the dressing room, he helps hold it together with the help of other senior/influential players. Without the manager there, it will all crumble beneath him, back to the days of every player looking after himself, rather than the current squad ethic.

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The Triangle

Despite Mike Ashley, these past three years have seen the Newcastle manager, players and fans form a special bond. With the triangle broken, the spell will also be. A puppet manager in the style of Pardew and McClaren, will see a return to the days of distrust and lack of unity which helped bring about the last two relegations.

Retail

Things are bad enough these days when it comes to official club merchandise sales compared to the pre- Ashley era but honestly, sales would only head further down if Ashley loses his key asset.

A Defined Style

With much hard work on the training pitch, Rafa Benitez makes his tactics/systems work. He gets players buying into a style of play and has even become the first ever NUFC boss to  make three/five at the back a success. A new manager comes in and it is all but guaranteed they will have their own ideas and any new style will not get anywhere near the same levels of performance from the same players.

Stability

Despite all the nonsense, Rafa has brought some kind of stability to the football club. That is guaranteed to walk out the door with him if he goes.

Salomon Rondon

Zero chance of Newcastle’s most influential player this season staying if the manager doesn’t. Turns 30 in September and no doubt looking to have a real go these next few years with an ambitious club. Which clearly won’t be Newcastle if Rafa Benitez is allowed to walk away.

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