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Rafa, Rondon and Perez may be gone but good news is Newcastle still have Joselu, Colback and Shola…

1 year ago

Newcastle United is the gift that just keeps on giving.

That is, if you are a Mackem or some other ‘neutral’ fan of a club, who for some reason enjoys seeing Newcastle fans suffer.

It is 52 days since Rafa Benitez led Newcastle to a 4-0 win over Fulham, following a pre-match cruise for a couple of thousand Newcastle supporters up the Thames in the sunshine.

If you were one of those on the cruise and had a ticket for Craven Cottage on 12 May, you must be waking up each morning and wondering how exactly have we ended up where we are now.

Of course you only need to utter two words…Mike Ashley. Apologies for using that kind of language so early in the morning.

Rafa Benitez on the pitch after that final whistle, having overseen another early Premier League survival on a budget.

Ayoze Perez getting the second of four goals to finish top scorer on 12 PL goals, his best ever total.

Player of the year Salomon Rondon with 11 goals and seven assists, his most productive season in the Premier League, getting the fourth and final goal. A fitting end to a season that had ultimately seen some real green shoots of hope show up in Spring 2019.

Miguel Almiron missed the final weeks through injury but his arrival had been like an important piece of a jigsaw, not the very final one, but one that helped allow us to start and see what the picture could quite possibly be.

I happily admit to being a big Ayoze Perez sceptic but certainly even I saw that as part of a trio with Rondon and Almiron, it looked like there was definitely something there.

Four days after that game we had the much talked about London summit for Rafa Benitez and Mike Ashley.

Surely now it would be an easy decision to allow Rafa to buy player of the season Rondon for £16.5m, give him a more realistic budget, trust the respected manager to make the decisions (within that budget) of exactly who needed to be bought and sold.

With that forward trio and clever defensive buys such as Schar, Dubravka and Lejeune helping to build a solid defence, we have/had the makings of a team.

Buy some better wing-back options, add a bit more quality, some decisions to be made in the middle of the pitch with Longstaff’s promise, can Rafa persuade Isaac Hayden to stay? Ki a good back-up, decision to be made on Shelvey, but a centre midfield which has promise – if Hayden did go then allow Rafa the cash to properly replace him…

Instead, Newcastle United are now a driverless clown car careering down a hill towards the cliff edge.

No effort made to keep Rafa Benitez.

No effort to keep Salomon Rondon.

Ayoze Perez now agreeing a move to a more ambitious club in Leicester City.

Tomorrow the Newcastle players come back to start pre-season and just over a week later fly off to China for the first friendlies.

No manager to meet them, empty pegs in the changing room where Rondon and Perez used to hang their kit.

It doesn’t take a genius to guess what our better players will be thinking.

Dubravka, Schar, Lascelles and Lejeune wondering just what is the point? All of them getting great reviews and claims of interest from elsewhere, why on earth would they now think Newcastle is the place to be? If you have any ambition the clearly this isn’t a club to stay at.

Any chance of Isaac Hayden being persuaded has surely gone with Rafa’s departure, Sean Longstaff definitely thinking that nothing has changed since the days of Waddle, Beardsley and Gazza all having to leave, whilst as for Miguel Almiron…he has only been playing  here a few months and  seen an attacking trio with great promise coming together and already ripped apart thanks to Mike Ashley.

On the positive side though…

Joselu is bizarrely still here despite a transfer to Alaves allegedly arranged weeks ago, Newcastle fans wondering if this is put on hold ‘just in case’ Mike Ashley fails to bring in ambitious transfer targets.

Jack Colback back at the club along with the likes of Saivet, Aarons and Lazaar. No doubt the Chronicle set to run a series of exclusives set up by the club, with talk of how they could be ‘like new signings’ and that they are ‘putting in loads of extra work and determined to impress the new manager’, those ambitious Ashley transfer targets put on hold whilst the new management team assess what they have already got.

As for Shola Ameobi, recently appointed to deal with Newcastle players going out on loan. Little surprise if he is now moved in to help Neil Redfearn manage the team/squad, the players then said to have responded so well to this ‘temporary’ management team in charge, so they are going to give them a chance…

Welcome to Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United. Established in 2007 and only two relegations and a handful of near misses so far…


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