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Mike Ashley says it is Sheikh Khaled’s fault why Rafa Benitez is leaving Newcastle United – Report

7 months ago
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Mike Ashley put out a statement (see below) on Monday saying Newcastle United had ‘worked hard’ to try and agree a new contract with Rafa Benitez.

The statement though also said that this hadn’t been possible and wouldn’t be possible to agree in the remaining week of his existing contract, so the manager and club will be parting company after today (Sunday 30 June 2019).

It was later revealed that Mike Ashley had also insisted on the manager not being told in advance that the statement was going out, so Rafa Benitez found out when a friend alerted him to it being in the media on Monday.

Indeed, it was also reported that Rafa had been up for more talks to try and reach agreement at this late juncture.

However, on Sunday morning an ‘exclusive’ from The Mirror says that Mike Ashley has blamed Sheikh Khlaed for Rafa Benitez leaving.

The story (see below) relating that allegedly the main reason for failure to agree a new deal with Rafa, is because Sheikh Khaled didn’t want the Spaniard as manager when/if he takes over. A new deal for Rafa Benitez meaning the new owners would then have to sack him and pay compensation, according to the report.

There only appears to be two explanations for this tale being published, either The Mirror totally inventing the story, OR Mike Ashley and his people pushing this PR line out looking to focus blame elsewhere, after the backlash caused by the manager leaving.

Wherever the story has originated, it doesn’t convince in any way.

In the media we have been repeatedly told, including by the reliable George Caulkin of The Times, that exclusivity has not been reached with any bidder. So Sheikh Khaled supposedly dictating on who should be manager, doesn’t add up.

Also, the refusal of Mike Ashley to bend towards what Rafa Benitez would need agreed to stay has been going on pretty much the entire length of the manager’s three year deal. In particular, the last year there have been ongoing talks between representatives of the owner and manager that have got precisely nowhere, long before any claims of the Bin Zayed Group being interested in buying NUFC.

This culminated in Mike Ashley making that eventual much reported one year offer, which offered no changes at all in terms of how the club was run and in actual fact gave Rafa Benitez less influence, especially on transfers, as well as the owner’s ongoing refusal to agree to any investment in the infrastructure, especially the new training complex that was promised six years ago by Mike Ashley.

No doubt the next story will be that it is Sheikh Khaled’s fault as to why Salmon Rondon hasn’t been signed, or why Sean Longstaff has been sold.

Everything is down to Mike Ashley and no matter what embarrassing PR his people put out, we have to remember that.

The Mirror report:

‘Blame Newcastle United’s would-be owners for Rafa Benitez exit, says Mike Ashley

EXCLUSIVE: Benitez’s Newcastle reign ends on Sunday — and Ashley insists it is because potential buyers don’t want him

According to sportswear tycoon Ashley, Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan – who is in talks over a £350million takeover of the Premier League club – does not want the Spaniard as his manager.

Although a new one-year offer to the hugely successful former Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Napoli boss was on the table, Ashley decided to call a halt to any further discussions last Monday, after having the Sheik’s choice confirmed.

MirrorFootball can reveal that there had been discussions between Ashley’s people and Sheikh Khaled’s advisors over the 59-year-old’s future. It became clear the Middle East-based group had their own targets, which included managerial rock-star Jose Mourinho and long-time Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger , as we exclusively revealed earlier this month.

That would mean sacking Benitez and paying out hefty compensation of around £6million if he signed a new deal under Ashley and then had to be dismissed by Newcastle’s new owners once a takeover went through.’

That official Newcastle United Statement – 24 June 2019:

‘It is with disappointment that we announce manager Rafael Benítez will leave Newcastle United upon the expiry of his contract on 30th June 2019.

We have worked hard to extend Rafa’s contract over a significant period of time, however it has not been – and will not be – possible to reach an agreement with Rafa and his representatives.

Rafa’s coaching staff, Paco de Míguel Moreno, Antonio Gómez Pérez and Mikel Antia, will also leave the club on 30th June.

We would like to thank Rafa and his coaching team for their efforts over the last three years and their significant contribution to what has been collectively achieved.

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