By Roy Frankland (Dubai Toon)
I’m not a gambler, (apart from the odd line on the national lottery!), and definitely not a Poker player and this is because, in my view, the gambler very rarely comes out on top. Many tend to want to go just that bit further, they don’t know when to stop, and then they lose everything.
So, what has this got to do with Newcastle United, you may well ask? Here is my thinking…
We all know Mikey is a bit of a gambler, so, what I’m referring to is Mike Ashley, sitting across the poker table from Rafa Benitez, and the stakes on the table, well this is our beloved club, laid bare for the world to see and a managerial contract with Rafa’s name on it. Metaphorically speaking, they are both holding a hand of cards, but the difference as I see it, is that all the cards are in play and are laid down, face up on the table top for all to see. Rafa has laid down a Royal Flush, and Mikey has a pair of 2’s. Is this really a realistic gamble? You would think not, as everyone around the table can see those cards and understand very well that there is only one winner, but Mikey wants to gamble on and take it a stage further – and the whole world can see that he is going to lose, except him it seems.
So, when I say Rafa has a Royal flush, what I mean is this..He is one of the best-known managers in world football and has managed teams in the best leagues and has trophies to prove his worth. League wins, Cups, and even a Champions League win. His reputation is solid gold. If he is available, and even if he isn’t, he is the one that top teams want. A case in point, Spain came calling just days before the World cup, and would have even taken him temporarily just for the tournament, such is his reputation and CV. His hand is rock solid, he can leave and walk into a top job very quickly indeed.
The value of Rafa at NUFC is not so easy to put numbers on, but I would suggest that it must be upwards of 200 million pounds or more. I’m talking here about the cost of relegation, and I think if Rafa decides to walk away, we will be relegated, combined with loss of TV rights, sponsorship, etc. We will lose the few decent players we have and we will not be so lucky as to get out of the championship at the first time of asking, the next time round. (of course, this is just my opinion!)
So, the stakes are super high, even for a man of Ashley’s means, he is gambling with upwards of 200 million and he holds a losing hand, plain for all to see. If he forces Rafa to play his hand of cards, and refuses to put money into the club, Rafa will walk away, be it now, or in one year when his contract expires and there can only be one winner, and one loser. Rafa will likely walk into another top job, holding his head high, his integrity intact, knowing he did all he could, whilst Mike will be left with a club that is worth less than what he paid for it, likely relegated into the championship, if not this coming season, then next, and not even the TV advertising exposure for his tat that he so desires.
To gamble, means you don’t know the outcome and that you have at least some chance of coming out as a winner. In this case, if Mikey doesn’t support his manager, and thus, pushes Rafa to play the game and play his hand, the outcome is there for all to see and Mikey will lose – and he will lose big!
When you can see the outcome so clearly, it is no longer a gamble, it is pushing the self-destruct button.
There are about 2 and a half weeks left and the timer is running …