For outsiders peering into the absolute basket case that is Newcastle United Football Club, you’d be forgiven for having a good chuckle about what’s been going on for the past 12 years under Mike Ashley.
Two relegations, admitting to a tribunal that it intentionally misled fans and the press, renaming the stadium and appointing awful manager after awful manager.
There’s been many more gaffes from the owner that have irked the fanbase but yesterday’s announcement that Rafa Benitez will not be returning to the club when his contract expires is easily the lowest ebb that this football club has endured.
When the news broke that Benitez wouldn’t be staying on, it honestly felt that there had been a death in the family and the mood across Twitter amongst Newcastle fans was that of anger, sorrow and vitriol the likes I have never seen before despite the follies of the club in the past.
Season ticket cancellations, a split fanbase and debates of whether fans should go to the games or not filled my timeline and without a manager or plan in place for the upcoming season, where the hell do we go from here?
Rewind to a month ago and takeover speculation was rife with BZG eyeing up a deal for the club but now all that talk has gone quiet and all signs point to the deal being dead in the water.
The time for Ashley to go is long overdue at this stage and this latest act of incompetence has all the ingredients of a full scale revolt if this takeover doesn’t go through.
If the rumours of Rafa wanting an extra £20 million on top of a suggested £50 million transfer budget then surely it would have been worth offering the extra cash to keep the fanbase happy even if Ashley does decide to stay on.
Without Rafa, the thoughts of another relegation are too worrying to even contemplate but financially it would cost Ashley more than what Rafa wanted in the first place.
It genuinely makes no sense unless of course a takeover happens and the new owners decide to reinstate Rafa as a hero’s welcome to the club and get fans onside.
That’s the best case scenario and I’m clutching at any straw available to me right now in the hope that it happens.
In all likelihood, the club won’t get sold and we’ll be stuck with the second coming of Sam Allardyce – a name that Ashley sounded out in a televised interview as being the “biggest regret of his tenure” when he sacked him.
It’s clear that Ashley doesn’t care about the fanbase whatsoever. Why would he?
No matter what he does, fans still flock to St. James’ Park to support the team every other week so why should he appease fans in any way when they attend games and renew season tickets year in and year out?
Ashley’s interest has and always will be his retail stores and his latest acquisitions would tell you that he has no interest in investing in Newcastle United.
That’s his prerogative and to his rare credit, Newcastle United are a self sustaining club, however it’s unclear where the TV money has gone and with the lowest net spend in the league, Ashley’s “promise” of giving Rafa “every penny the club generates” is yet another bare faced lie.
With players due to arrive back for pre-season training next week, Newcastle United still has no manager, no clue and ultimately no hope.
There’s six weeks to go in the transfer market but I and many other fans of the black and white army need only one major transfer out the door…the owner.