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Opinion

Mike Ashley accepts mission to prove Rafa Benitez correct – 95% of the way there

1 month ago
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Mike Ashley announced on 24 June 2019 that Rafa Benitez definitely wouldn’t be staying beyond his contract ending on 30 June 2019.

In his usual classy way, the NUFC owner instructed his people to NOT let Rafa know in advance that this statement (see below) was going to be put out.

Mike Ashley having the nerve to refer to Rafa and his people only making a ‘significant contribution’ to ‘what has been collectively achieved’…

The Newcastle United owner obviously convincing himself with the help of his sycophantic minions, that it is instead actually the way he runs the club that has underpinned the relative success of these past few years, when the manager did great work against the odds and a refusal to allow any net spend on the squad.

That official Mike Ashley 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.

In reality, Mike Ashley made no attempt whatsoever to try and persuade Rafa Benitez to extend his stay.

Whilst Rafa wanted to move the club on now, Ashley was determined to take it back to the past.

If you are/were in any doubts about the situation, just look at everything that has happened so far this summer, Mike Ashley determined to prove that the Spaniard was correct.

Rafa repeatedly stated that moving early for players in each transfer window was essential if you were to land some of your top targets, to get the best value and sign them ahead of competitors.

We are now 69 days into this 85 day transfer window and Newcastle haven’t signed a single player.

In order to properly prepare for a new season, Rafa made clear time after time that new signings had to arrive ASAP so they could have a proper pre-season and integrate into their new squad/club. Plus then the manager being able to work with the new mix of players so they are ready to hit the ground running.

With two and half weeks until the season kicks off, no new signing has played any part in pre-season and even if they are signed today, would have only two weeks at the very most to integrate and be made ready.

Rafa was desperate to keep the best players at the club. The arrival of Almiron had seen a spell from February to April were playing in a trio with Rondon and Perez they looked a massive developing threat.

Mike Ashley didn’t allow any bid at all to be made for player of the season Rondon and made no attempt to keep the top goalscorer of the past two seasons, happily banking £30m for Perez.

Rafa wanted full freedom to operate so he could use his experience to land the best mixture of new signings to get the best out of the team/squad.

Mike Ashley has made clear this is not happening, with a determination to revert back to a patsy ‘in charge’, even giving  Steve Bruce the title of ‘Head Coach’, just to underline the fact that like Steve McClaren his job is to train and pick the team, nothing else. It is widely reported that if and when any new signings are made, they are set to be young players with high potential resale value, rather then the overriding factor being what is needed for the team.

Rafa Benitez had wanted to bring stability and order to the club, instead there is chaos and a total mess.

Rafa Benitez wanted investment in the infrastructure. Instead of a new state of the art training complex that was promised by Mike Ashley in 2013, the NUFC owner has instead had the walls painted, the same at St James Park – instead of looking to expand the stadium he is making a profit on land the club did own opposite the Gallowgate and which is now set to be developed and prevent any future SJP expansion – whilst St James Park itself is having sections of wall painted, no proper investment in the Academy either.

Rafa Benitez wanted to prepare Newcastle United for success, Mike Ashley is just once again preparing for the next relegation.

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