George Caulkin of the Times has written an article chronicling his belief that Rafa Benitez is done at Newcastle.
He lays his reasons but it boils down to failed contract negotiations as Ashley is just unwilling to properly invest in, and care about, this great club.
The added concern of this article is that George reiterates his earlier contention that the Bin Zayed Group do not have an exclusivity agreement. This would mean that the takeover is not as close to being completed as previously reported.
Here are a couple of excerpts from George’s article about Rafa’s contract negotiations and the takeover:
Progress since then has been interminable and when an offer came — one year, on the same £6 million annual wage and with none of the structural improvements that Benítez had originally asked for…if they are not prepared to invest in other areas, surely his obsessive efforts to improve the team could be rewarded? Is that not the easy bit?
The complexities of Newcastle’s “takeover” are dense, but almost a month on from the Bin Zayed group’s emergence, the club remains in Ashley’s hands.
No exclusivity agreement has been signed and at least two other bidders (one of which is known to The Times), claim to be in the running, and at varying stages of progress.
Discussions are being handled by Justin Barnes, Ashley’s Sports Direct fixer.
George has responded on Twitter to the obvious concern raised by Newcastle fans with the following tweets:
To stay, he needed to be made a fuss of, in one way shape or form. That hasn’t happened. And I just think trust has gone, so if he was offered the world now I’m not sure he would take it. The takeover stuff hasn’t helped, because there’s no clarity at all.
— George Caulkin (@GeorgeCaulkin) June 21, 2019
Just reporting as I see it / what I’m told. If I was him, I’d wait and see, but I’m not and he’s royally hacked off. I would never rule anything out, but the Chinese want him now.
— George Caulkin (@GeorgeCaulkin) June 21, 2019
Hmm. I hope you’re right – truly, to the depths of my soul. But I also think that hope is all that’s left. My honest assessment, barring miracles, is that he’s gone.
— George Caulkin (@GeorgeCaulkin) June 21, 2019
George Caulkin is a highly reputable journalist and no doubt has some inside knowledge into the situation at Newcastle. His reporting may be thoroughly accurate but it still does not necessarily mean a continued existence for our club under Mike Ashley and without Rafa Benitez.
We still believe a takeover is happening even if it takes longer than we can stand.
We also believe that George is correct that Rafa will leave the club if Ashley remains as owner. However, we have to still have faith at this moment that Ashley will finally sell the club.
Then we hope that the new owners, preferably BZG, will sign Rafa as manager. That would be a dream scenario and sometimes dreams do come true.
Though there are many Newcastle supporters out there who have understandably run out of hope. The silence from the club and the seemingly endless takeover have become too much to bear.
Here are some tweets by fans who fear that George Caulkin’s report means that Rafa is gone for good:
If @GeorgeCaulkin thinks Rafa is away then he’s away ladies & gents, best local journalist by a country mile, prepare for the inevitable #NUFC
— The Insider (@theinsidernufc) June 21, 2019
It’s over isn’t it. #nufc #IfRafaGoesWeGohttps://t.co/LcjeDgWGkk
— Chris Stebbings (@realCStebbings) June 21, 2019
Seems the general consensus now is that #Rafa will walk at the end of his contract. In a long list of ultimately self-defeating, boneheaded decisions made under Ashley’s reign of terror, not supporting him will be the worst by a country mile. #NUFC
— Steven Medd (@BorisBedd) June 21, 2019
Great article @GeorgeCaulkin that deals even the most optimistic #NUFC supporter a shovel-size dose of reality. I want to believe Rafa stays and a takeover is on the horizon. Sadly, looks more like the usual chaos, confusion and sick feeling in my stomach. 9 days. NINE! https://t.co/saO0MXRSZK
— Philip Burn (@Philip_Burn) June 21, 2019
78 comments so far
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:06 PMComment #1
I’ve seen absolutely nothing with quotes on from Rafa, or sources close to Rafa.
It seems to me that people are pushing out opinion pieces based on the little to no information they are getting from the situation.
Most of it started when Rafa went to the training ground, then, it would seem, Chinese whispers took hold and opinions seem to be being put out as facts
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:10 PMComment #2
I know where you are coming from, but I think its naive to think that people wouldn’t talk to mates after a few pints.
It could be Gough giving it the biggun based on past events and somewhat stretching the truth? He may have seen the Staverly emails from last time? Who knows.
But if Gough is telling the truth, I wouldn’t like to be his source at this moment in time.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:10 PMComment #3
kev, I think you’re right about the Chinese whispers. It wasn’t long ago that Rafa was being linked with Chelsea, Napoli, West Ham (?) – seems that speculation is rife and has been for months. It was Leicester back in January.
Just spotted the bus moved before I hit the submit button.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:14 PMComment #4
supershola, it’s an interesting snippet. I wonder if it has anything to do with his withdrawing from KBA – – was the company registered there previously?
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:15 PMComment #5
There is along time left in these talks, like any negotiation, time is one of the biggest levers.
Don’t panic yet on takeover and Rafa
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:18 PMComment #6
Robleenio: other Rafa links – Leicester, Roma, Marseilles, Betis, Lyon.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:18 PMComment #7
We won’t hear anything till after Rafas gone
That’s the reason we’re having this years fakeover
The bollix news is to keep the anger from building up too soon.Similar to every other year
Over and over again
MA won’t leave till either he’s forced too or there’s nothing left to take
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:19 PMComment #8
I still don’t think Rafa is going to China. That is the weak link in Caulkin’s analysis.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:19 PMComment #9
If the Gaffa walks hes a cnut.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:20 PMComment #10
Afterward MA will keep using his PR until it all blows over
Exactly like last time
Year in year out , over and over again
It’s not just me who is repetitive
Sultan of Broonale
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:20 PMComment #11
I’d be disappointed with Rafa if he signed a deal with this regime. What would be the point? It’s a dead club with Ashley and it’s nearing the end game. That’s why I think a takeover will happen, Ashley has been preparing the club for sale for the last 18 months that’s obvious.
Rafa either walks because he can’t work with Ashley and no one would blame him or the takeover happens and the new owners keep him on or bring in their own man.
The second option would be incredibly cruel on Rafa who I credit for standing up to Ashley, galvanising the support and making the club attractive for sale.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:21 PMComment #12
He will leave us an empty shell of a club
A dryed our husk
And he will most probably enjoy doing it
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:23 PMComment #13
He thinks the fans are all mugs and idiots
You think he’s going to walk away from hundreds of millions in pure profit per year he’s getting from us ?
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:23 PMComment #14
But some would rather bask in the utter twaddle people post here
Year in year out
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:25 PMComment #15
Froggy: the flaw in your analysis is that KBA are not very good at PR. You act like they have convinced us of something, to buy into Ashley’s rubbish. You act like he is Joseph Goebbels but I doubt the German Propaganda Minister would have been on twitter for only 8 hours yesterday.
Nicky the ball tosser
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:27 PMComment #16
Fascinating stage of the game and very precarious obviously if Rafa doesn’t sign an extension. Will BZG or any other interested party follow through if he leaves? What chance of us being in the bottom 3 after ten games if he does walk, given everything and our tough opening run of fixtures. Is this what Harmison was on about?
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:28 PMComment #17
Might be Rafa not signing is the thing that finally pushes Ashley to sell. If Rafa had signed a 12 month extension, who knows, Ashley might’ve pulled the deal to get another PL season out of him along with the money involved.
This way he’ll be aware that this squad won’t survive without Rafa and likely there’ll be an exodus of players too, making him more likely to take the money on offer and run. He won’t get that money in the Championship after all.
That would leave BZG clear to buy the club, then resign Rafa straight away. Maybe even BZG asked Rafa not to sign yet for exactly that reason. I know I would
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:29 PMComment #18
You think the repetitive blathering about how it’s all legit this time
After 12 years and 8 sales isn’t repetitive
I’ve never said KBA are any good
Check my previous posts,go look
Sultan of Broonale
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:29 PMComment #19
I’m not sure Ashley is actually making any money. He could have invested and be selling the club for a 1bn quid now – what are Spurs worth?
Instead he runs everything on the cheap, he has no interest in even making the minimal investment to keep the club competitive. Why take out a loan for Almiron?
He wants out, he’s a gambler but football rarely offers returns.
How do you make a million out of owning a football club? Start with a billion…
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:29 PMComment #20
I think you’re letting opinion get in the way of fact. This is what George thinks will happen.
I think its pretty apparent that on the takeover front George’s sources are in the second bidders camp. They are obviously still telling George they’re in with a shout.
I thin Ashley is stringing as many along as possible because he is looking to sell the club and he has no trust in anyone actually completing.
I honestly think he believes the other buyers were time wasters, even though most probably weren’t.
I remember reading an article last year, it might have been Chi the MP who met with Ashley and his cronies and she said something alluding to even though they clearly aren’t doing a good job, they all think they are and can’t see/ aren’t willing to see from another perspective. They are genuinely shocked Mike Asjley gets abuse from fans.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:32 PMComment #21
Frogster: glad to hear that you have a low opinion of KBA but they probably are aware of the PR playbook that if you repeat lies often enough that some people begin to believe it. Trump is the master of this.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:33 PMComment #22
Are we there yet?
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:36 PMComment #23
That’s one of my theories, Ashley wants Rafa as a fall back so he can pull the plug if needed. That’s why the offer is made with no updated terms because he’s not in it for the long term so if it falls through this year he doesn’t want Rafa to speculate to accumulate when he needs to keep the accounts clean for a quick sale in the future when he’s desperate for cash.
Rafa is fed up of Ashley’s crap and wont agree to the terms.
It’s almost forcing Ashley to sell. He knows from experience a JFK or Joh Carver type would end up in relegation again, which could mean another 3 year cycle before another sale chance comes around.
With Rafa he’d be guaranteed EPL again next year and a sale could still happen.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:36 PMComment #24
I’ve no doubt Caulkin’s sources are usually good and he is usually a good journalist because of it. This situation is different, apart from a very small number of key people NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING!! Meaning journalists have to put together anything they can to justify their jobs. Rafa knows, Khaled knows and we’ll all happily know very soon : )
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:38 PMComment #25
Somebody mentioned earlier that Caulkin thought the Stavely bid would go through and mentioned certain sources saying as much. He seems very genuine but we all make mistakes, listen to the wrong people sometimes.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:40 PMComment #26
I actually raised this point some days ago, that if Rafa signed, Ashley might pull the plug on the deal. I know Ashley’s a gambler, but I doubt he’d gamble on us surviving without Rafa. This is his best time to sell, he won’t get this money if we ain’t in the PL. He expected Rafa to sign and Rafa’s called his bluff. He either sells now, or risks losing a small fortune. This really could, be a blessing in disguise.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:40 PMComment #27
You’d like to think that the reason Benitez hasn’t agreed a new contract is because there is a deal being concluded right now and in all likelihood it will be the new owners who have the latitude to hire or dispense with him. But you get the nagging feeling that this is, as toon22 says, another bit of whitewash borne from tentative interest in the club that has again gone by the wayside owing to Ashley’s lack of being a willing seller, and that Rafa is just packing his stuff into bankers boxes and taking his coffee and sugar tins back from the kitchen.
We’re watching you Mike, if you are pulling a fast one again I don’t think you’ll get let off for a 13th year running.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:44 PMComment #28
BZG have too much credibility and Rafa has too much integrity to make this silence anything other than it is, a definitive sign of progress. It’s happening, let yourselves enjoy it
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:45 PMComment #29
We all have that nagging, Ashley is an idiot and is doing this on purpose to us, doubt in our minds.
Hope of a takeover is all we’ve got, because hope as a club is non existent under Ashley.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:45 PMComment #30
I think there’s been a lot of listening to “the wrong people” for some time now. People are so desperate for news that others are quite willing to.manufacture it for them.
JP...from The Rock
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:47 PMComment #31
Elmanio- surely BZG have exclusivity if the final price and all has been agreed right? If so then the other parties are irrelevant they have already lost haven’t they? Unless a massive u-turn by Ashley or BZG and the deal falls through.
Please correct me if I am wrong.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:47 PMComment #32
You have got to laugh on here a respected newcasle reporter in caulkin reports what he has been told n its he knows nowt yet emanio no offence says done deal n we all jump fir joy come off it man
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:48 PMComment #33
Kev, exactly. If he doesn’t sell now, he might never get close to that figure again. Like I say, maybe BZG asked him not to sign and agreed they’d sign him up as, soon as the sale goes through. In fact, that would explain Rafa just letting his contract run down, leaving Ashley in a really bad position trying to get another manager – good luck with that now! – and keeping this squad together. Rafa refusing to sign is Ashley’s biggest nightmare. He could be stuck with a club guaranteed to get relegated and unlikely to come back up like the last twice. This, might force his hand.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:49 PMComment #34
Tsunki, serious question, if this is an elaborate stunt from Ashley, how do you explain the statements from the BZ Group?
Given that they appear to be serious, wealthy businessmen operating in a World where honour and reputation are key, what could possibly induce them to not only play along with Ashley’s games but actively push that agenda?
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:52 PMComment #35
Sultan of broonale “Ashley has been preparing the club for sale for the last 18 months that’s obvious”
That he has – turning a profit while keeping the club in the Premier League, paying back debts owed to himself and re-organising the club structure, both administratively and in terms of the academy, all point to that.
The one thing he’s failed to do is to get Rafa to sign a long-term deal. Has Rafa played a blinder? Time will tell.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:53 PMComment #36
Except Caulkin wasn’t reporting what he’s been told from BZG, it’s the other potential buyer.
Mike Ashley is a liar as proven in court. I fully believe he’d string other buyers along with lies if it suits his objective (to sell the club)
And the whole Rafa side of the article was complete opinion.
Jun 21, 2019 at 11:54 PMComment #37
For all we criticize the Fatman he is no mug. He was right about the previous bidders wasting his time. They come to him wanting the club at a discount because there is a threat of relegation. That sound reasonable, but then they want a clause that he indemnifies them for their losses if the club is subsequently relegated whilst under their control.
This time is different because Stavely and Kenyon wanted Fatty to insure their losses, whereas BZG are not asking for that. AND with no threat of relegation Mikey Boy can ask for a higher price.
Jun 22, 2019 at 12:00 AMComment #38
Kev yes ok but elmanio source someone from mike ashleys side that lieing tw*t you just mentioned
Jun 22, 2019 at 12:01 AMComment #39
Utter utter bollix
The last pretend buyers never had the money,and were used by MA in his pretend sale
Its all hes got when he needs a fix
You must think were a bunch of blithering idiots to bother us with utter rubbish
Jun 22, 2019 at 12:01 AMComment #40
I’ve said a few times when it has come to this takeover and journalists stories I am sceptical. We have some very good journalists covering our club, George Caulkin, Luke Edwards and I do like some of the pieces Mark Douglas has put out. Anyways, if this was your run-of-the-mill football story, transfer, contract, Rafa’s future etc, I would gladly take it as gospel what they say, between themselves they generally nail a football story. However, how often have they been in the circle where they would make trustworthy contacts/sources they could pin their reputations on when it comes to a takeover? Football matters they are in that circle every day. Football finances, its bordering impossible, they have to be relying on second-hand/iffy information.