When you take a look around the world at different sports, there are surprisingly a lot of similarities. From the basics; Fans, Stadiums, Coaches, Players. There is much more than that but I’m not going to go into such details because then this would turn into a 20,000 word piece.
I’ve been lucky to see multiple sporting events on multiple continents in my lifetime, but there is only one place, one sport, and one club that is different from anything I’ve ever seen. It’s Newcastle United.
On Monday, Newcastle United announced that Rafa Benitez and his staff will be leaving the club after their contract expires on June 30th. When I woke up and saw the news on my phone, I was literally shocked. Nowhere. LITERALLY NOWHERE in the world, in any sport, will someone willingly let one of the top coaches walk away from them.
In any sport that I watch, if a coach/manager does well, their contract gets extended. No questions asked. That’s because the owner knows that if he doesn't lock down this world class manager, then players won’t want to come play, fans won’t want to come watch and stadiums will not be filled.
In the States, I’ve seen a share of terrible owners. The difference is, these owners in the States are just incompetent on how to run a sports organization. The true thing is, they try. They still attempt to sign players, they still attempt to win. Simply, they try. Now the person that shall not be named who owns Newcastle is different from all of those bad American owners. Not only is he INCOMPETENT, but he has NO AMBITION to have his club succeed.
When you go to a match in any city, you see the statues of the coaches and managers that have walked on that pitch. Those statues come with stories and memories of how they played/coached, and parents tell their kids about these people. Rafa Benitez was a man worthy of enshrinement in Newcastle. Imagine 10 years of him with funding while his name and memory will live on forever. You do not let someone of that pedigree walk, ever.
This owner of Newcastle United won’t have anything inside St. James’ Park to resemble his tenure at the club. Literally the most iconic thing that will happen is actually when things get taken down in his memory. Taking down banners from St. James’ Park. Man, I can’t wait to see those banners removed. Would be one of my greatest days.
Incompetent, inept, unskillful, inexpert, amateurish, unprofessional, lacking ability, bungling, blundering, clumsy, inadequate, substandard, inferior, ineffective, deficient, inefficient, and lacking are all synonyms for Newcastle United’s ownership. There is no need to list the many failures the club is responsible for because we all know what they are. But the decision on Monday was the worst of them.
We all know they have the money, we all know they can make NUFC competitive and now you have confirmed for the countless times that you don’t care. Ownership doesn’t care about the hundreds of thousands of supporters in Newcastle and England and they sure as hell don’t care about the countless supporters around the world. This decision is the loudest I have ever heard in any sport.
As an American NUFC supporter I ask myself, What can I do? How do I protest? There isn’t much really. My hands are tied. I can’t “walk out” or “walk in” or boycott. It’s confusing because I want things to change so bad, and it’s helpless to think I cant do anything. Our manager Rafa Benitez gave us so much hope and now as we approach a new season there is nothing left. I have zero excitement for the new season, there is a 0% chance I buy a kit, there is a 0% chance I spend the money to fly across the Atlantic to see them play. The reason is simple. I have never seen a more shambolic ownership in my life.
To Newcastle’s owner. I hope Newcastle supporters never give you another sell out, I hope we never buy another kit from Sports Direct, and I hope somehow you never make another penny off of Newcastle United. You don’t care about the club’s growth so therefore I don’t care about yours.
I hope one day we can all look at this time and laugh. Maybe one day the owner of Newcastle United will get arrested and forced to sell and the new owners take us to the Champions League and the Mackems are still in League one. I hope that all comes true, but for now, it doesn’t matter. Wherever we live across the world it doesn’t matter, because everywhere across the world, people have made their voices heard loud and clear. This is the worst decision to sports, and I hope you (the owner) pays for it.