The World Cup is providing some light relief from the usual unease at NUFC but even for us and Ashley, this seems a particularly slow and uneventful summer – made even more baffling by the fact we’ve now entered the final year of Rafa Benitez’s contract.
There has been no communication from the top and Rafa has also been eerily quiet. Everything seems to be up in the air. The only singing we have made was agreed in January and the only thing we could celebrate was Rafa not leaving – yet.
Here are some of the most pressing and concerning issues, making me wonder just what on earth is going on at NUFC right now:
We’ve not even made a bid for a single player yet
This is a baffling claim from the Chronicle, who are usually well versed on the goings on at Newcastle. There have been so many rumours and clearly so many players we’ve been scouting but we seem to completely stand still just when we need to take action and actually sign these players Rafa and the recruitment team have spent months looking at.
A feeling that we’ve got to sell before we buy
Mbemba/Mitrovic/Sels/Merino sales seem vital yet why should they be after a season of Premier League football and TV money? Selling players the manager doesn’t want, deadwood or ones who are set on leaving (Merino) is good and frees up space and wages. But this should be after we get targets through the door. Clearly Ashley is not willing to support us with any cash flow and the small club mentality of selling before we can buy is crippling our transfer plans and Rafa’s ambitions for the club.
Talks over Rafa’s contract have stalled
There has been no breakthrough and it’s easy to see why. Rafa is not going to commit if we keep making the same mistakes and tie his behind his back in the transfer market; and so far this summer it all looks too familiar. We managed to see off the interest in our manager from West Ham but a bigger club will come calling and despite his clear loyalty and love of Newcastle, unless he is backed he will leave. Ashley and Charnley needs to sort it out as soon as possible and stop trying to hinder a manager who can take us to the next level.
Not released new kit yet and were late to announce pre-season plans. What is actually going on?
These may not be as pivotal this summer but it is again just a lack of professionalism from the board and Charnley. Our commercial revue is very poor compared to rivals and hasn’t grown during the 11 years under Ashley. Our kits for the new season has not been released yet when usually they are worn on the last game of the previous season. Gone are the days of us playing glamour pre-season friendlies against the likes of Bayern Munich like we did under Bobby but it would be nice to finalise what the team are doing for pre-season or release the full schedule. None international player return to training soon, which is the vast majority of our squad. A meticulous planner like Benitez will be baffled at such poor organisation.
Is is too early to be overly concerned or is anyone else really starting to worry?
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About Simon Riddlesden
Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.