We’ve often said since Rafa Benitez arrived at Newcastle that Mike Ashley can become one of the most successful owners in English football over the next few years, if he keeps doing one thing he’s been doing at Newcastle since the summer – nothing.
Or to be more exact – not much.
And Mike Ashley deserves some credit – but wont get it – for what he did when we were relegated in May.
Alan Shearer in front of his statue at St. James’ Park
As soon as it was certain we would go down after Sunderland had beaten Everton 3-0 at the Stadium of Light on May 11th, Ashley wanted to come to Newcastle to talk with Rafa Benitez about staying on – even though we were going to be a second division club again.
Rafa was busily preparing for the Spurs game and didn’t think that would be a good idea.
But Ashley was there to watch the 5-1 trouncing of Spurs and met with Rafa and Lee Charnley in the Boardroom that Saturday night and kicked off the negotiations to keep Rafa at the club that Lee Charnley continued.
It took an agonizing 10 days but then on May 25th it was announced – surprisingly – that the world-class manager had decided to stay on Tyneside – to win trophies at Newcastle.
Alan Shearer has written a great article all about Newcastle is his weekly Sun column this week – and in it he says the hierarchy at Newcastle must continue allowing Rafa to do exactly what he wants to do to recreate the club in his won image.
You know – we have a good positive feeling that’s exactly what Mike Ashley plans to do.
This is some of what Alan has written in the Sun:
“At last the hierarchy have allowed a manager to decide who he wants in and who he wants out.” “They’ve allowed the manager to get on and manage.”
“If, as I hope, we do go up then the Board have to make sure this continues.” “They have to back him again and let him get on with it.”
“This is too important a period, too big an opportunity to let go.”
“I sat down with Rafa Benitez about a month ago for a cup of coffee and a chat.” “We talked about the area, the club, the fans.”
“He loves all of it, particularly the passion and the people.” “He is desperate to be the man to turn this club around.”
“It must be reminiscent for him of his time in Liverpool.”
“Right now that mood is buoyant at Newcastle.” “Things are looking good again.”
“Newcastle has not had a manager of the level of Rafa for some time.” “Everyone seems to be on the same page. It has to stay that way.”
“Newcastle certainly look to be on their way having opened up a 5 point gap at the top of the Championship now.”
“After so many years of chaos and disillusionment, the feel-good factor is most definitely back.” “You can sense it in the City and you can most definitely feel it in the ground.”
“The Championship is not the place the club wants to be, but sometimes it can have a positive effect to take a step back, build a bit of momentum, and go again.”
“At Newcastle there is hope again, and it is a while since we have been able to say that.”
The reason Alan wont come out and give Mike some praise is obvious – Ashley’s ran the club very poorly since he took over in late May of 2007 – and that’s being kind.
But we haven’t seen nor heard much from Mike much this season and the club are doing great.
Long may it all continue.
Howay The Lads!!