This is a message to Mike Ashley from every Newcastle United fan. I don’t want to speak for the 52,000 that fill St James’ for almost every match, and the thousands of fans worldwide, but I assume almost everyone feels exactly like this due to recent reports and Rafael Benitez’s reaction to Wednesday night’s disappointing 2-2 draw.
There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people worldwide who absolutely love Newcastle United Football Club. It’s the centre of their lives and they would do anything to see that club back where it should be – the Premier League.
Over the past six months, since Rafael Benitez joined and subsequently agreed to stay with the club after relegation, the attendance at St James’ Park and atmosphere surrounding Newcastle United has improved so dramatically, in spite of being in a lower division. This is down to one man, Rafa Benitez. Rafa has been at the club around a year now and has succeeded not only in changing the team, which most managers can do, but he has also changed the entire club. Fans feel more involved, more valuable and generally happier.
However, recent reports in the local and national press have almost turned this feel-good factor into the noxious, sinking feeling many fans have had for a majority of the past 10 years, since you became owner of our beloved football club. By no means are you a ‘stupid’ man in relation to the business world, but becoming re-involved in football matters is ludicrous. Benitez was told he had control of all ‘footballing matters’ when he agreed to stay after relegation, which seemed to be the case until the January transfer window, when we failed to sign a single player.
The January window is notoriously tough to sign players, especially those of first team quality, but Rafa said in the post-QPR-match interviews that he made it very clear who he wanted to sign. If well-sourced reports are to be believed, these players were not signed due to yourself wanting to become more involved, and having a say on who the club signs.
Rafael Benitez has won trophies everywhere he has been. He’s a Champions League winner, he’s managed the biggest club in world football in Real Madrid, as well as performing admirably with both Chelsea and Liverpool, and you are seemingly trying to tell him who he can and can’t sign. Trust me when I say this, Rafael Benitez knows more about football than you. We appreciate the time and money you have put into the club, but please, from myself and every other Newcastle fan in the world, take a back seat and listen to a man who knows so much about the sport we all love. Do not repeat the actions that have got us into so many messes in the past.
The fans were really starting to come around and understand what you were trying to do at the club Mr Ashley, with recent fan polls overwhelmingly stating the club was in its best position for over a decade and fans felt the best they had for so long. Unfortunately, this has now been jeopardised.
You and the board need to realise how unbelievable it is that we have a manager like Rafa Benitez in charge of our team, so please don’t make the same mistakes that have caused so many problems in the past. If this is a financial issue, falling out with Mr Benitez and making his position untenable would ultimately lose you mass amounts of money. We would find it much much harder to get promoted and, even though we have some of the most loyal fans in the world, attendances would plummet within an instant.
Please let Rafa do what he is good at – manage a football club.