Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Clock ticking for Magpies

As ever, it’s been a summer filled with drama for Magpies fans. We’ve seen countless transfer links, Jose Mourinho tipped to become manager, a fresh takeover saga and they were even second favourites to sign Kylian Mbappe at one point.

The pressing issue, though, is the future of the manager, Rafa Benitez. His contract with the Magpies expires on June 30th and still, there has been no major progress in their contract negotiations. Some say it’s due to the takeover saga hanging over their heads, some say it’s because the potential new owners don’t want Benitez and some say it’s because Mike Ashley won’t give him the cash to spend.

So essentially, nobody seems to know a damn thing about the situation. One thing we do actually know is that there are 12 days left to fix the situation. With the takeover saga still looming, and the Bin Zayed Group remain adamant they will become the new owners at St James’ Park. One report this week claimed the deal would be done by the end of the month.

It seems though, with the club having offered absolutely no communication with regard to either the takeover or the managerial situation, it will be down to the current ownership to resolve the future of the gaffer.

You really have to feel for the fans of Newcastle United – they’re in total limbo at the moment. They don’t know who their manager will be next season, they don’t know who their owner will be next season and they don’t know if the club even has any money to spend. Geordies at the moment don’t know whether it’s time to “get on the cans” or pick up the pitchforks and head to the local Sports Direct store. One thing is for certain, there’s certainly no in between – come June 30th, one of those two things will become a reality.

Magpies critical summer

Magpies Rafa situation
Magpies have a huge Rafa situation

Here’s the two ends of the spectrum for NUFC this summer:

1 – they go into the new season with Rafa at the helm having agreed a new deal, the Bin Zayed group now sat in the boardroom and a war chest of £100m+ to spend. They do a Man City from 2008, spend big and find their very own Robinho as they set themselves up on a journey towards waking up the sleeping giant within.

2 – Benitez is unable to agree a new deal and leaves for pastures new, maybe he goes to China and makes some good money. Instead, Mark Hughes (or someone of that ilk) comes into the club as takeover talks break down once again. Newcastle start the season with virtually the same squad they had last season, minus star-striker Salomon Rondon, and spend no money.

Both of these scenarios are very real possibilities and with the clock ticking, it’s time for the hierarchy at Newcastle United to make a move and choose which one it will be. At the very least, the fans deserve some kind of communication from the club to let them know where they stand.

The longer the club stay silent, the more worried the fans become. I’m starting to get the feeling that not even the club have any idea what’s going on. It’s as though Mike Ashley, Lee Charnley and their lawyers are the only ones who know what’s actually happening. While they’re in their offices letting everything stew, their staff are facing the brunt of the frustration.

Club employees are attracting heat on social media from frustrated fans who want answers. Some have attacked the clubs media staff for not giving answers when in reality, they won’t have the answers to give. Another group of people attracting heat are local journalists – with every story printed, a wave of allegations and insults are thrown their way.

Although some of the comments are inexcusable, they are very much understandable. The fans are annoyed, frustrated and upset that their club has demonstrated all the transparency of a brick wall. With it looking likely that will not change at all in the near future, fans may just have to prepare themselves for disappointment on June 30th.

To Mike Ashley and his team, their message is clear – the clock is ticking…

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