In early May things looked great at Newcastle.
That was after the meeting with Rafa and Mike Ashley, and we were promised that Mike would give every last penny of the club’s money this summer to help Rafa build a good team for the Premier League.
We were all looking forward to an exciting summer player signings.
But it’s not the first time Mike has not followed through on his promises.
And a short four months later it looks like Mike’s unwillingness to spend the club’s money has cost us potentially the best manager we have had in our 125 years of history.
Certainly, when he arrived a short 18 months ago with three European Championships with three different clubs, Rafa was the most successful and experienced manager we have ever hired in our history.
But the arrogance of Mike Ashley and his unwillingness to spend money on players has got in the way once again, and Mike seems determined to keep Newcastle as an average side.
Mike Ashley – Newcastle’s frugal owner
That’s after we had over 51,000 average crowds last season in the second division – the highest for many decades – and we will have sold out crowds of over 52,000 this season in the Premier League.
Rafa has been let down badly by the owner, and he will not stay at Newcastle past this season.
We are now reduced to hoping that we can avoid a second relegation in three years and the third under Mike’s disastrous 10 years of ownership in which we have finished in the top nine in the Premier League only once.
That was in 2012 when we finished 5th, and we were fighting relegation the next season.
We suppose one hope is that some consortium comes in to buy the club, but that would have to be before next summer while we still have Rafa Benitez as our manager.
With a good owner in place who will allow Rafa the freedom to build the club in his own image and give him the money necessary to do that, Newcastle could indeed become a powerhouse in Europe.
But if (when) Rafa leaves, not only is that dream dead, but we’ll be back struggling against relegation again as Mike Ashley spends the minimum amount of money to keep us as a Premier League side.
Mike Ashley should do the right thing for the club and sell it to an owner who has the ambition of Rafa Benitez.
Then we’d be back in the big time again.