Mike Ashley did everything right after we were relegated until a few weeks ago when we had a report in the Sunday People on January 15th.
That was half way through the transfer window and the report was that he was not too pleased with the transfers Rafa had made in the summer and wanted to revert back to signing players under 26 and getting Graham Carr back into a more powerful position at the club.
It was a bolt out of the blue.
Most fans were shocked and we hoped it was a made-up story since after all – it did come out on a Sunday.
Rafa Benitez – Newcastle manager
Why on earth would Mike Ashley want to upset the apple cart when everything had been going so smoothly (at least for Newcastle) with Rafa Benitez demonstrating why he is so well thought of in the game of football as one of the world’s most accomplished managers.
Certainly his record is one of the best – especially when people like Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have struggled of late.
One Champions League win and two Europa Cup wins is what Rafa can boast of in European competition and multiple League Championships and local cups in various countries.
But Mike Ashley has a history of doing naive uninformed things at Newcastle, and it’s because of his inexperience in football, that keeps everybody on edge about what he may do next.
The Newcastle fans have never trusted him and for good reason.
Remember when he rehired Joe Kinnear as Director of Football in the summer of 2013 – what a disaster that was.
But the deal he made with Rafa last May seemed perfect as he handed over complete control of the club to Rafa and Managing Director Lee Charnley.
He deserved credit for that and he got it as the best thing he has ever done at Newcastle.
We had a great summer transfer window as Rafa went about transforming the club from top to bottom and prioritized good communication with the fans.
If Rafa is left alone and we are successful under the Spanish manager (as we expect) Newcastle United will be worth hundreds of millions of pounds in a few short years.
Maybe £600M in three years time if we become a top six team in the Premier League and win a local cup in that time period – that’s not an unreasonable estimate.
We know money interests Ashley, so why on earth would he want to interfere with Rafa in a way that will jeopardize whether Rafa wants to stay on Tyneside past this summer?
Maybe Mike is a control freak and cannot take a back seat in the running of things for too long?
But if he doesn’t quickly rethink his latest move to be more active in club affairs and take some of the powers away from Benitez, we could lose one of the most accomplished managers Newcastle has ever had in our long history.
That’s the fire Mike Ashley is playing with.
We hope he has more common sense than to continue with his new policy of interfering with what Rafa wants to do at Newcastle.
Otherwise, we could have another catastrophe at Newcastle which would be much worse than any relegation.