The Chronicle are reporting that Mike Ashley has met with Justin Barnes and Keith Bishop in London to discuss the club’s current situation with Rafa Benitez.
But Lee Charnley is the person who has been given the responsibility, as the Newcastle Managing Director, to negotiate with Rafa’s reps to try to find a solution to the problem.
And Barnes (finance) and Bishop (public relations) are hardly football people, so we assume the meeting was based on some business and finance questions related to Rafa’s requirements.
Rafa Benitez – is progress being made on his new deal?
The real purpose of the meeting is probably to get ready to go back for more discussions with Rafa’s reps, but this can only go on for a certain length of time.
At some point, Mike Ashley needs to decide whether he is ready to support Rafa in everything he wants.
It’s going to take something like that for Rafa to sign on the dotted line.
The danger for Ashley is that Rafa will not sign a new deal and will possibly leave next year.
That would be very serious for the owner because nobody in their right mind would pay £400M for Newcastle without (the great) Rafa Benitez as the manager.
Ashley should accede to Rafa’s requirements – and sooner rather than later.
As seems usual with Ashley – he is playing with fire.
Jack Farish is currently studying for a Master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology at Northumbria University.
His thesis project looks at Premier League fans’ team identification – how well they support and identify with their team.
Jack has put together a relatively short questionnaire of team identification and satisfaction with life; it should take no longer than 10 minutes.
You can help Jack by filling out the survey here.