When Alan Pardew and his coaching staff finished 5th in the Premier League back in 2012, it was the only time Newcastle have finished in the top nine in the league.
We did finish 10th later under Pardew, but we have also been relegated twice under Mike Ashley.
In October 2012 Mike Ashley rewarded Pardew and his staff with a new eight-year deal.
With Rafa Benitez, everything is different with the emphasis on everything.
Rafa represents Newcastle well as the frontman, and he is one of the best coaches in the Premier League and in the world for that matter.
We all know just how good he is for what he’s already done in the sort 18 months he’s been at Newcastle.
He was loyal enough to stay at Newcastle when we were relegated – and that was a really courageous decision by Rafa as he put his career on the line.
The current leaders at Newcastle
But he got the job done, and we finished top of the Championship, and we are now back in England’s top division and back in the big money.
With Rafa Benitez’ contract running out in the summer of 2019 there is news today in the Times that Ashley wants to tie Rafa down to a long-term deal at the club.
That’s about time.
The initiative is also necessary right now because West Ham are eying Rafa as their new potential manager.
They would love Rafa to be the manager of the London club if they fire Slaven Bili, who has now lost four of the first six league games.
One big problem Rafa has with Newcastle is our owner Mike Ashley,
And the news in the Times is that Rafa wants to understand what Mike’s vision for the club before he before he even thinks about signing any new deal.
If Mike says that his vision is to spend as small an amount of money as possible to keep Newcastle in the Premier League, then it would be all over with Rafa.
That actually seems to have been Mike’s vision so far, but there are some signs he has gained more ambition with Rafa at the club and even wants to win something now.
He has also reportedly offered the squad £20M of his own money if they can win the FA Cup next May.
That’s some of the good stuff Ashley has been doing over the last several weeks to try to improve his poor relationship with Rafa.
Mike should turn over all football matters to Rafa and allow him to work with Lee Charnley.
All Ashley Mike has to do is to give an amount of money each transfer window – as much as the club can afford – to Rafa and Lee Charnley and let them spend it as they wish to improve the squad.
Mike should stay out of the way and let a manager who has won three European Championships with three different clubs lead Newcastle to the promised land.
It’s as easy as that – if only Mike would see the light.