Mike Ashley hasn’t been a popular owner at Newcastle, and in, it’s hard to see him ever being a favourite of the St. James’ Park faithful.
However, there has been a little bit of growth at Newcastle over the last few months, with Rafael Benitez impressing as manager and a few new faces coming in in January – namely Miguel Almiron.
Of course, that doesn’t undo all of the mistakes that Mike Ashley has made over the last few years, but any positive strides are good for Newcastle.
However, a recent report from The Times indicates that Newcastle may be on course to take a few steps backwards. Indeed, according to The Times, Newcastle are preparing contingency plans in the event of Rafa Benitez’ departure from the club, with the two parties yet to come even close to an agreement over an extension to his contract.
David Wager is mentioned as a potential replacement, alongside Brendan Rodgers.
Now, make no mistake, regardless of who Newcastle bring in – it’s going to be a downgrade on Benitez, and that’s why the Magpies cannot afford to let him leave.
Sure, Ashley may point to an unwillingness on Benitez’s part to renew. but the reasons for such a decision would be clear. It’s clear that the manager has not been sufficiently backed by the board, and so why would he commit his future without promises on that front from the club?
Simply put, Ashley needs to put his money where his mouth is, otherwise Newcastle risk going down a very dangerous path. The club need to back Benitez and give him what he wants. It’s hard to see this being about financials on Benitez’s side, but rather, the manager simply wants investment in his team.
Without that, Newcastle will only be going one way.