The Mail’s North-East reporter claims that Ashley would still accept an offer from the manager to come to the training ground – suggesting the pair may be able to rebuild their fractured (slash non-existent) relationship – however it’s unbelievably pathetic to hear that Ashley has taken issue with this.
Firstly, it’s his club so why would he need to be invited? And secondly, I’m not sure why Rafa would feel so inclined to invite him given how little effort he’s put into communicating with Benitez over the past few years!
Nevertheless, here’s a snippet from The Mail’s piece:
‘Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is miffed that Rafa Benitez has never invited him to watch training – but would still be likely to accept an offer from the manager, raising the possibility of the pair mending their broken relationship.
‘Sportsmail has learned that the sports retail tycoon is irritated that the Spaniard has never invited him to take in a session at the club’s North Tyneside base or invited him to a game, issues which we understand have been raised during meetings involving both sides.
‘The pair do not speak and Benitez only communicates with Ashley through managing director Lee Charnley.
‘But we have been told that, were Benitez to extend an olive branch to Ashley, there is a chance they could meet face-to-face in a more relaxed setting away from the negotiating table. Sources close to the owner say he does not want to be at war with Benitez.
‘The news will offer hope for supporters that the popular boss could yet stay on beyond this season – when his contract expires – but it is further evidence of the stand-off which exists between them.
‘Sources have spoken of the ‘stubbornness’ and ‘principles’ of both men being a part of the problem which is jeopardising the future of the club.
‘Benitez wanted a guarantee of transfer funds and promises over improvements to the training ground and academy before signing a contract extension this summer. Ashley, though, wanted the manager to commit before pledging his support. The manager, it is said, could not trust the club to keep their word.’
Hopefully a positive can come from all of this and the pair can form some sort of relationship, but you get the feeling bridges may have been burned as far as Benitez is concerned?
Isn’t it all a bit too little too late?
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