I think it’s fair to say that Newcastle United are at a critical point in their existence with yet another sliding door moment that has littered the Mike Ashley era.
This current predicament, if you can even call it that, sees our manager, Rafa Benitez, linked with the now vacant West Ham manager job by the national written media and more prominently by Sky Sports.
On one hand, you can dismiss this as just mostly hot air and political propaganda as Rafa has a history of playing political games to get the upper hand at a club he is involved in but in the other, you only need to see the people involved with Mike Ashley’s version of us to know that their PR work is higher up the list than trying to make Newcastle a more ambitious club, which is of course what Rafa wants.
It’s easy for a company like Sky to release certain stories for the whole point of click bait and when you take into account that they have their own betting site as well, it’s not beyond the realms of belief that certain stories do indeed influence the odds of certain things. With Manuel Pellegrini a clear favourite yesterday for the West Ham job and Rafa’s odds quite far out, today sees that example of change with Pellegrini at 8/11 and Rafa as low as 6/4.
As far as Rafa is concerned, he’s made it clear that he sees the potential in us trying to compete to better ourselves and there’s no excuse whatsoever for Mike Ashley not to back Rafa’s vision but this is where it gets tricky as Ashley has never even hidden the fact that he wants us to exist with a capped turnover with as little a financial outlay as possible. To just basically pass go and collect the prize money.
There now sees a crossroad of sorts where someone has to back down or change their approach. History suggests that it will be us Newcastle fans that suffer but there is far more at stake here than a little bit of money saved on transfer kitties or wages. A whole fanbase in revolt at an admittance of a lack of ambition will be more than a straw to break the camel’s back and it will be financial suicide for Ashley.
A critical period lies ahead.