In a week where Tottenham moved into their new stadium and Leicester proposed plans to redevelop their training ground. It shows just how far Newcastle United have fallen behind.
When Newcastle finished 5th under Alan Pardew during the 2011/12 season, the club were not a million miles away from Tottenham, finishing just 4 points behind Spurs that year. it had been seen as an opportunity to invest in not only the squad but the infrastructure. In doing so, Newcastle would have made that last step in becoming a top four side, however, no investment was made. In fact, Newcastle only purchased one player that summer in Vurnon Anita. It was a missed opportunity, while Spurs have kicked on since that season, Newcastle have gone in the opposite direction, now being dubbed as a yo-yo club.
Fast-forward seven seasons and the distinct lack of investment in Newcastle United is there for all to see. A 2-0 defeat at The Emirates stadium on Monday night showed that Newcastle lack the firepower to really challenge for a top six or seven finish in the Premier League. In the wake of the Arsenal defeat, manager Rafael Benitez stated that the club would have to spend £75M on attack minded players. In today’s market that isn’t even considered to be a lot of money.
Newcastle owner, Mike Ashley, who is considered by some to be a good businessman, has failed to see the potential of the club during his time as owner. Instead he has chosen to let the club rot from top to bottom, with the only saving grace being Rafael Benitez. The Newcastle manager has saved the club from falling down the leagues, like arch-rivals Sunderland. If Newcastle kept their faith in Steve McClaren, there is no doubt that the club wouldn’t be where they are now. Benitez has proved he can work miracles on a tight budget, and with his contract coming to an end in the summer, Mike Ashley must step up and give Benitez everything he asks for.
Newcastle fans and Benitez do not expect a huge investment but enough to at least make a serious push to be an established top ten Premier League side, which is not an unreasonable thing to desire. If Newcastle do not act quickly, they will risk losing the best manager the club has seen since the days of Sir Bobby Robson.
Should Benitez leave, Newcastle will yet again go backwards instead of pushing forward. The club cannot afford having a staring competition with Benitez, ultimately it will be the club that blinks first. Losing Benitez would have huge impacts on the club. No other manager would be able to do what the former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager has done on Tyneside.
The relationship between Newcastle fans and owner has been strained for over a decade. If Ashley lets Benitez walk in the summer, that already strained relationship will turn extremely sour very quickly. Fans have already cancelled their season tickets for next season due to the uncertainty surrounding Benitez’s future. Should Benitez leave, attendances at a usually full St James’ Park will start to dwindle.
It remains to be seen what the future holds for both Newcastle United and Benitez. With the club almost certain to be playing Premier League football again next season, it is time for the club to do whatever it takes to become an established top ten club once again. Benitez should be at the forefront of that.