The Chronicle are reporting this afternoon that Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez is still thought to have full control of all football matters at the club.
This follows a report in the Sunday People today from head sports writer Neil Moxley that Mike Ashley was disappointed with Newcastle’s transfers recently and wanted to get back to the old way of signing players under 26 – so they have sell-on value.
They also reported that Ashley was keen to get Graham Carr contributing more to the players coming in.
Mike Ashley – at the game yesterday
Presumably the Chronicle reporters have contacted some folks inside the club to get to the bottom of the situation.
The Chronicle report says the club are still keen to follow the policy of the last eight years of bringing in young players who can then be coached at Newcastle through (hopefully) to the first team.
But that’s a lot different to bringing in players under 26 and it’s a youth policy we have had for a while.
But Newcastle have not been successful with it since it was introduced by then Chairman Chris Mort in January of 2008, shortly after Ashley bought the club.
The Chronicle report is that Newcastle will bring in a couple of youngsters for the U18 or U23 side before the end of this month and they will be two for the future.
The Chronicle has reported a couple of times today that Rafa gets on well with Graham Carr and that he’s been eager to work with the staff already in place at the club – and he’s been successful doing that.
It seems to us that Rafa has been a unifying force for bringing the club together, both inside the club and with the Geordie fans.
Rafa did bring in European scout Paul Baker last year, but there seemed to be no push-back against him doing that.
Graham Carr is still in place of course and he has a contract at Newcastle through 2020.
The big problem will be if Mike Ashley tries to dictate to Rafa who he should bring into the club.
That would seem to go against the free rein on all football matters that Rafa had demanded before he agreed to stay with Newcastle in England’s second division.
It’s also all written down in his contract that he has that level of control.
We’d be very surprised if Mike Ashley upsets the apple cart at Newcastle – things are working too well under Rafa.
And by the way, the manager is doing one terrific job for Newcastle United as witnessed by the sell-out crowds at St. James’ Park and also on the road.
We’re also top of the Championship and 8 points ahead of third-placed Leeds United if you take into account our much superior goal difference.