It’s probably too late, but after being away from Newcastle and not attending a game since a year last May, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has reemerged on the Newcastle scene.
He has attended the last three Newcastle games and even took Rafa and the playing staff out to a meal.
That was presumably an attempt to have better relationships with Rafa and the players.
Coming out of the meeting were various promises – a free holiday if we can avoid relegation and some support for Rafa in the upcoming January transfer window.
Ashley also said he didn’t expect to sell Newcastle this season so players shouldn’t be concerned about that.
Note that his incentives are to save Newcastle in the Premier League, which is the level of his ambitions for Newcastle United and therein lies the problem with Rafa Benitez.
Rafa wants to win things at Newcastle if he is to stay.
Mike Ashley arriving at the dinner with Rafa and the playing staff
Most fans think this is another charade from the owner, but Newcastle forward Ayoze Perez thinks it’s a good thing.
This is what the Spanish forward has said about Ashley reappearing on the scene:
“It’s good to see the owner, and it strengthens the feeling of togetherness as much as we can,”
“The results are not good, but we have to be together. We are all training every day as one.”
“It’s all about us, and we have to keep going, keep pushing.”
“We improved at Man United and our performance was a step up, but in the end, against a top-six side, it was not enough.”
“The most important thing is that we all have to be going in the same direction,”
“That’s the key. We have to push and make sure we stay focused. We have to stay all together.”
“We have done it before and recovered from a position like this, so the most important thing is to remember that.”
“As long as we are all together, then good things will come. The owner being around can be part of that.”
We have had a tough start playing five of the six top sides in our first eight games, but that’s over now, and we must start picking up some wins.
Under Ashley, it seems like we are perennially fighting against relegation.
The only time we have looked good is when we have been in the Championship.
Newcastle have won the Championship twice, and we won 30 games the first time under Chris Hughton in 2010 and 29 games in 2017 under Rafa Benitez.
Both managers excelled in the Championship for Newcastle as did our players – but that doesn’t extend to the Premier League, and we haven’t had any real success for years.
We were 5th in 2012 and that’s the only really successful season we have had since Ashley bought the club in 2007.
And it’s Chris Hughton’s Brighton who we face at home in a week’s time after the International break.
Failure to win that game will put us further into the relegation zone.
But we can win that game if we play anywhere near the great form we showed last time out at Old Trafford for the first 70 minutes.
This season is particularly disappointing to us on a personal level – we thought we would do well in the Premier League – but that doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen.
Oh well – you don’t always get what you want in life – that’s always been true.
Let’s keep the faith – at least we still Rafa.