I was ten when Mike Ashley bought Newcastle United from Sir John Hall. Was I paying attention? No. I was ten. Was I paying attention to the issues that ensued following his purchase? No. When I started paying attention to every facet of Newcastle United, I already had a disdain of Ashley just from what I read and heard.
Since then, my dislike of Ashley has only grown. The man has made minimal investment into a team that has so much potential. I’ve watched as each season brings pretty the same story: a fight for Premier League survival. And the occasional failure in that endeavor.
Rafa has managed to bring hope to Tyneside, but not the success that he wants. It’s simply impossible with Ashley as the owner to get proper investment in a winning squad.
Benitez has had four transfer windows as manager of Newcastle United. Each one has brought the same level of disappointment as previous ones. No major surprise signings. Each player is brought in to fill in a need that we have, and few do it extremely well. Bargain hunting once again.
Newcastle can no longer afford to bargain hunt in this transfer window. The club needs to take whatever money it gets from sales and put it into a world class player. If that doesn’t happen, my faith in the coming season will be lost. I won’t expect a top ten finish. I’ll expect a bitter relegation battle till the very end. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended with relegation and a Benitez exit.
With Newcastle’s placement last season, Ashley believes that he can get Newcastle to a high finish through bargain purchases and cheap loans. With what Benitez has achieved Ashley knows he has a manager who can manage with a minimal transfer budget. But the ambitions of the two are staggeringly different.
Benitez’s ambitions are more in line with the ambitions of fans. It’s why we have such a connection with him. He wants players that will perform at the highest level, and he believes he can get the best out of players that may not have previously shown that ability. He’s done a fantastic job so far, and there’s no reason to believe this season will be any different.
But without a star player. Without that one striker, and that world-class playmaker, he knows, and we know, that Newcastle will be destined for Premier League mediocrity.
You aren’t going to find these players in the “bargain basket” or through a loan. It comes with the purchase of Kenedy for whatever Chelsea wants for him. It comes with paying the high wages and fighting Sporting CP in a legal fight for Bas Dost.
And this summer is going to be the last chance for us to reach that. Benitez’s contract ends after this season. And if we don’t get the finish Benitez feels is needed to remain with the club, then we’ll fall back into the same routine. we did with Pardew and McClaren. The constant flow of managers with routinely mediocre finishes.
This is our last chance.