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Mike Ashley statement to Newcastle United fans – Two years ago to the day he said this

3 months ago
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Mike Ashley is in his final days at Newcastle United, hopefully.

The NUFC takeover at the Premier League, fans waiting for their process to be completed and new club ownership confirmed.

Yet still I see much of the media defending Mike Ashley, ready to argue his case against that of the Newcastle fans.

Two years to this day Newcastle United smashed the reigning Premier League champions 3-0.

Sunday 13 May 2018 saw Dwight Gayle and Ayoze Perez(2) grab the goals in the sunshine at St James Park.

A remarkable achievement, in the circumstances, as Rafa Benitez had steered Newcastle to a top half finish, even though Mike Ashley had gone back on his word and refused to give him the necessary support on promotion, both Huddersfield and Brighton with far higher net spends after promotion. Mike Ashley had promised Rafa ‘every penny’ to spend on promotion, however, that translated into bargain buys and loans, with only £5m allowed to bring in a striker (Joselu) to help score the necessary PL goals.

In the immediate aftermath of beating Chelsea 3-0 on the final day of the 2017/18 season, the club released a statement (see below) from the owner as fans were still celebrating that Sunday win at home.

Mike Ashley saying: ‘Rafa, as always, has my full support…I hope very much that Rafa will remain at Newcastle United.’

It was time for actions to speak louder than words and for Mike Ashley to convince Rafa Benitez to sign a new contract, however, the Newcastle fans saw this for what it was, a desperate PR gesture by the owner, to try and make it appear he is willing to do the right thing. All part of the process of trying to make it look like it wasn’t Ashley’s fault when he forced Rafa out of Newcastle, the manager with one season left on his contract and making clear that things needed to change, that the owner had to start delivering on his promises, both in terms of investment in the playing squad and the rest of the club, the Academy, the state of the art training complex promised in 2013 and so on.

In his 13 May 2018 statement, Mike Ashley talked of ‘full support’ and ‘every penny generated by the club is available’..

Ashley needed to not only back Rafa in the transfer market but also give him total freedom, instead of playing games and blocking deals.

Instead, summer 2018 saw Rafa Benitez treated to simply more of the same, only even worse.

Mike Ashley insisting on a £20m+ profit on transfers in and out, whilst at the same time making it as difficult as possible for Rafa to even do loan deals. Salomon Rondon’s arrival delayed until the very final stages of the transfer window AND Rafa having to agree to Gayle going out on loan, even to get Rondon in on a temporary deal.

Mike Ashley can’t be trusted, simple as.

Official Mike Ashley Announcement via Newcastle United – 13 May 2018:

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has thanked Rafa Benítez, the players and the club’s supporters following the club’s tenth-place finish in the Premier League.

The Magpies secured a place in the top half with a 3-0 victory over Chelsea at St. James’ Park on Sunday.

The owner said:

“I would like to thank Rafa Benitez for his magnificent achievement this season.

“I would also like to applaud the players, led fantastically by the captain Jamaal Lascelles. 

“On many occasions throughout the season they have been described as a Championship side, which I personally consider to be derogatory.

“Rafa, as always, has my full support, and contrary to some media reports that portray me as a pantomime villain, I will continue to ensure that every penny generated by the club is available to him.

“I hope very much that Rafa will remain at Newcastle United.

“Finally, I would like to thank the fans for their unrivalled support of Rafa and the team throughout the season.”

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