Rafa Benitez is in the last couple of months of his contract at Newcastle and it didn’t help that we dropped to 15th place with an unexpected, unwanted and even underserved 1-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace.
But that’s what happened – I know becasue I’ve watched a replay of the game since Saturday.
And after the game, Rafa was more blunt than during his previous press conference on Friday.
He seemed even a little upbeat about the negotiations which have started again on his potential new contract.
The expectation was that we could be very close to safety if we had beaten Palace on Saturday – but we didn’t.
Rafa Benitez – what “positive” conversations?
Rafa was asked by Sky Sports after the game on Saturday about the “positive conversations” on his potential new contract.
Rafa was curt in his initial response and seemed to object to the word positive:
“I said there were conversations – that’s it.”
“Normally, when you have to negotiate, you have to talk, and then have to see whether we are close or not.”
“At the moment, we’re not too close.”
And last week he indicated that he was waiting for an answer from the club so the ball was in their court – make that Mike Ashley’s court.
This is what Rafa had said on Friday:
“I will not give more details. We were talking. I was talking with (Managing Director) Lee Charnley – we were talking – and now we’re waiting.”
“They were coming with something, we are coming with something. That’s it.”
“The ball is in their court. It was Lee Charnley, with my people.
“I will not talk too much about that. You have the clarification. The ball is in their court.”
“I have no idea (what the outcome will be). The ball is there. Over there.”
“I will not give details about the conversation we had. It took place some days ago. The only conversation I have is with Newcastle.”
It’s hardly a surprise that the main stumbling block is how much Mike Ashley will give Rafa in transfer funds in upcoming transfer windows – including this one over the summer.
If it’s anything near what he’s given Rafa over the last two years in the Premier League Rafa should simply walk away – and rightly so.
It’s ludicrous to have a world-class manager managing the club and not giving him the tools he needs – (make that money) – to build a top team.
Absolutely ludicrous – but that’s Mike Ashley for you.