In the Q&A yesterday with the Chronicle one of the reporters (Chris Waugh) suggested that he didn’t think Mike Ashley would give Rafa Benitez any money in the January transfer window unless we were really struggling and relegation was (again) a possibility.
That’s how Ashley seems to have freed up money in the past.
As one example when we were struggling with relegation in January 2013, Ashley got involved, and we brought in five French players – four of them in one week after we were beaten at home 2-1 by Reading for the first time ever in our history.
We just survived relegation that season after we had finished 5th the season before.
The problem was created in the first place by Mike Ashley himself by refusing to strengthen the side in quality and quantity when we qualified in 5th place for the Europa League.
Why did we need to buy new players after we had our best league position since 2004?
Mike Ashley – he must support Rafa Benitez in January
So it was Ashley (what again?) who caused the problem he had to solve six months later.
That’s what Mike Ashley does – he dishes out the money and seems concerned when relegation threatens.
So the Chronicle’s Chris Waugh could well be right that Rafa Benitez will only get money if we are really struggling against relegation.
But that’s exactly what Rafa doesn’t want to happen.
It will prove to Rafa – if he doesn’t already know – that Ashley has no ambitions to have Newcastle become a top team.
He’s simply not willing to spend the club’s money to achieve that.
Rather, he’s happy enough to keep Newcastle in the Premier League and spend as little money as possible.
If that scenario does happen – that Rafa gets little or no money to spend in January because we are fairly safe in the League – it will cause Rafa to leave the club when his contract runs out in June.
We wouldn’t blame Rafa in the least if he left in those circumstances and, the problem is again caused by Mike Ashley.
Rafa has struggled in trying to build a top team over the last two and a half years and he hasn’t been given the necessary funds to do that.
Managers of much smaller clubs and with much less history than Newcastle have spent some big money – clubs like Bournemouth, Fulham, Brighton, Burnley, Watford, Southampton, Crystal Palace, and others.
If Ashley again withholds money – for whatever reason – Newcastle may save money in the short-term.
But the price Ashley can get for Newcastle in a sale will then plummet and we’ll have trouble hiring another manager when Rafa leaves.
So long-term Newcastle will lose a lot of money becasue of a probable third relegation next season.
And Mike Ashley is supposed to be a good businessman?
If that happens and Rafa leaves the club, Mike Ashley will have made his biggest ever mistake at Newcastle – and that’s saying something.