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Opinion

Time for media to step up instead of normalising what’s happening at Newcastle United

2 months ago
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Of all the things i expected to see at Newcastle United, I didn’t expect this.

Once the season ended I expected a quick conclusion either way.

When both Mike Ashley’s people and Rafa Benitez were happy to make public a meeting would happen in the week after the season ended, it was surely simply to be a meeting where a deal would be sealed after the hard work had been done behind the scenes and any issues ironed out.

Otherwise, it just made no sense as to why no urgency had been shown to get this meeting arranged far earlier.

The fact that Mike Ashley had chosen the first day of the transfer window (Thursday 16 May) to meet Rafa Benitez did raise a few eyebrows though.

This was surely no coincidence but what did it all mean?

Would there be a joint statement that night to announce that on the first day of the transfer window, Newcastle United had not only agreed a new long-term contract with their manager, but also completed the no-brainer permanent signing of Salomon Rondon?

The short answer to that is…no.

Instead, we are now nine days into the transfer window and absolutely nothing has been communicated to the fans, or indeed anybody else.

What is more, we are constantly being told that this is now the sixth day of talks, seventh day of talks, eighth day of talks, ninth day of talks…

Honestly, what is there to talk about?

There is clearly something else going on.

However, the media continue to normalise the situation, as though what is happening at Newcastle United isn’t bizarre.

Day by day the newspapers go through this routine of pretending that that have some kind of an inside line on what is happening, that talks are continuing because of this and that, where in reality it is just regurgitating everything that they have said so many times before.

They know nothing.

What has happened to the days of journalists chasing down stories, speaking to sources, digging for the truth?

This is sorting out a new contract for a manager who has already been at St James Park for over three years, how complicated can it be?

It surely only comes down to one question, does Mike Ashley want Rafa Benitez to stay or not?

There had been talks during the season between representatives of the club’s owner and manager.

At Ashley’s request, Rafa had provided in March the exact conditions that were needed to be agreed on, for him to extend his stay.

This isn’t Brexit, with so many angles and so many different parties involved, trying to get any number of people to agree on something that is so divisive.

This is a quality manager in place at a football club, who is ambitious and now asking if the club’s owner shares that ambition.

The media/newspapers need to drop this pretence that they are somehow in the loop and know anything.

They need to start digging to find out what is actually happening and why this (latest) disaster is happening at the hands of Mike Ashley, they need to be asking questions of the club and if necessary attacking the stupidity of what is (not?) going on.

As it stands, I could easily see this stretching out until the 30 June, until the very moment Rafa’s contract officially ends, with journalists still claiming that talks are ongoing and progress is being made…

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