While we realize that pundits have to get their articles read, so they tend to make them (very) controversial – Andy Gray’s piece in BeIn Sports today has missed the point about owner Mike Ashley at Newcastle.
Gray talks about fans wanting to spend Mike’s money at Newcastle – that’s not the real problem with the owner.
It’s that he will not spend the club’s money to bring in players – or even improve the facilities with the club’s money which is something Rafa is asking for.
Andy Gray – misses the point about Ashley and our fans
Here’s some of what Gray told Bein Sports:
“You have to be very careful because Newcastle fans have an expectancy maybe beyond what they should have,”
“They haven’t won a domestic trophy since 1955. That’s a long time since they haven’t won any trophy since the Fairs cup in 1968.”
“Yet the fans still think they are entitled to whatever Mike Ashley has got, whatever his millions are. I think Mike Ashley has done a really good job with them, they finished tenth last year.”
“I heard last year that Mike Ashley was ridiculous he didn’t give Rafa enough money. They were this, they were that. They finished 10th.”
“Rafa spent more money and brought more players in and they might finish ninth this year. I dunno what they want.”
“Do they want Mike Ashley to say ‘here’s a quarter of a billion pounds of my money, you can have it and spend it how you want, Rafa’.”
“It’s not going to happen, It’s not going to happen. “If you look at the investment he’s made in Newcastle, I don’t get the stick he gets, I really don’t.”
“Then again, I’m not up there seven days a week the way the Newcastle fans are.”
“I don’t know what they want from Mike, I really don’t. He’s brought in Rafa Benitez he gets no praise for that.”
“He brought him in. He was the man that said I’m going to bring Rafa Benitez into the club and yet he gets no credit for that.”
“It’s a difficult place to attract the very best players because most of the foreign players that come to the UK want to play in London, Manchester or Liverpool.”
“They don’t want to play in the North East of England. So it’s difficult to attract the very best players up there.”
“If they finish between sixth and 10th most years and win a cup or have a cup run unless they do a Leicester and surprise us all, I think that’s where they are.”
That stuff about Newcastle’s location – how come we had such a good team under Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson?
Good players want to join a good team which is why Rafa is trying his best at Newcastle – the better we are – the better players we can attract.
And players will want to join Rafa Benitez wherever he’s managing.
And while we finished 10th last season – which was excellent – we were in a relegation place at the end of last year.
We brought in goalkeeper Dubravka and Kenedy on loan in January, and they made the difference, and we climbed the league table.
Finishing 10th in the league was also a testament to Rafa’s brilliance as a manager.
Just to clarify – Mike Ashley brought Rafa in when we were fighting against relegation in March 2016, and even Rafa couldn’t save us.
But getting Rafa in certainly saved Mike Ashley after the second relegation in his tenure.
Newcastle are now back in the big time of the Premier League, and we still made a £20M profit in this summer’s transfer window.
Don’t talk about a quarter of a million pounds of Mike Ashley’s money to spend – how about £100M of the club’s money?
That’s £120M more than Rafa got last summer.
But beware – this piece by Andy Gray is only meant to be a wind-up for Newcastle fans.