Newcastle fans should thank Ashley not call for his head

Despite financing another Newcastle United promotion back to the Premier League – Mike Ashley is again being cast as the ‘bad guy’ in the soap opera that St James’ Park is constantly immersed in.

Rafa Benitez guided Newcastle to the title – which is an achievement, but this is hardly Bournemouth or Burnley making to the Premier League, this is the biggest club, with the best squad and the biggest budget making it.

Benitez is in a strong position, of sorts, given he has the fans backing 100 per cent against his boss – yet Newcastle’s hierarchy have already made it clear that he won’t have carte blanche to do as he pleases in the transfer market this summer, but that is by no means to say that he won’t be given the finances to compete – he will.

Benitez brought in 15 players off the back of being given much more of a free reign than previous managers – but the results left a lot to be desired.

Mike Ashley made his thoughts known in January that the squad he paid to build in the previous summer, was not up to scratch.

And Benitez seemingly confirmed this after preliminary talks some weeks ago – when he told the club he wanted EIGHT new first-team players, and that he did not think ANY of his summer signings had a long-term Premier League future.

Indeed of the 15 players brought in, most on long-term deals – hardly any have increased in value and would give Newcastle a profit. Dwight Gayle – aside – who you could possibly make a couple of million on, the rest do not come up to scratch, and some of them have left the club dumbfounded.

A couple of examples – Jesus Gamez has started two league games for Newcastle this season. But now add in the fact he is one of the highest paid players at St James’ Park…

Another full-back Achraf Lazaar signed on a big five-year deal – has not even started a league game since signing.

Goalkeeper Matz Sels – who Benitez insisted he needed, but he was soon replaced by Karl Darlow – who was already at the club.

Grant Hanley, Daryl Murphy – all these players mentioned are going to have to be moved on, but that is not an easy task – and whilst Newcastle fans will be clamouring for Ashley and the club to spend £100million this summer, they need to remember just how poor state the squad is currently in.

And of the current squad who you could sell for a good profit – Mbemba, Mitrovic, Lascelles, Darlow, Perez – easy to see why Ashley wants to make sure the spending this summer is doing with a tad more thought.

Newcastle fans only need look at the graveyard of former clubs that is the Football League. Former Premier League champions Blackburn have just gone down – Nottingham Forest and Leeds United are struggling because of poor owners, and somebody like Portsmouth are only now starting to show signs of recovery after getting rid of bad investment from a former owner.

And a prime example is along the road for Newcastle fans – look at Sunderland, with their American owner Ellis Short refusing to pump hardly any money into the club. Will Short do what Ashley did and plough millions in bringing in more than a dozen players this summer, I don’t think so.

Yes he has got some appointments wrong like Steve McClaren – no doubting that – but don’t forget who brought Rafa Benitez in!

Newcastle have an owner who refuses to mortgage the club’s future – instead they are one of the most secure well-run clubs in English football, yet the fans still want him out – careful what you wish for…



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