I was scrolling through Twitter and stumbled across on old clip Kevin Keegan’s famous rant at Mike Ashley back in 2010.
After watching him deliver a few home truths about the NUFC owner, it struck me that absolutely nothing has changed, with his words now reflecting the EXACT same struggles Rafa Benitez is now facing today at Newcastle United.
‘There’s no trust there’, ‘you can’t work with these people’, ‘from day one they’ve been mislead’, ‘they tell you one thing, they mean another’. I wonder how many of these Benitez would agree with based on his experience with Ashley? All of them I should think.
Here’s what the former Newcastle United boss had to say when asked why there’s so much negativity towards Ashley during his famous appearance on ESPN back in 2010:
— Black&WhiteBarmy (@BlackWhiteBarmy) July 31, 2018
“Because there’s no trust there.
“There’s no trust there because from day one they’ve been misled.
“Having worked with Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias – you just can’t work with these people.”
“You can’t trust them,”
“They tell you one thing, they mean another.
“I had a phone call for about an hour to buy a player. After I went off the phone, they [the board] had another conference call together and said ‘right, we don’t want to offer £2m, we offer £1m’, they’ll reject it and that’s it.”
It’s interesting that he claimed there was non-footballing people making footballing decisions at the top end of the club, calling for Ashley to bring in ‘footballing people’ who can be ‘trusted’ to get on with their job.
Why? Because after years of yes men (Pardew, McClaren), we finally had that footballing man who was ready to be trusted in Rafa Benitez.
A few years on and the same mistakes are being made. The same power struggle exists. The same lack of trust between manager and owner is present. Benitez is constantly undermined, mislead and mistreated – all while the club ask him to sign a new contract!
Benitez was promised ‘every penny’ generated by the club this summer, yet here we are with 9 days of the window to go with a net spend of -£25m, with Rafa told he can’t sign a certain Argentinian left-back because an £8m fee would eat too much into his ‘limited budget’.
We don’t ask for the world, and I don’t think Rafa does either, but you clearly can’t trust Mike Ashley – and you certainly can’t second guess him.
Keegan’s comments eight years ago still ring true today and I imagine Rafa can relate to so many of what he says in the clip above.
A sad state of affairs, but it seems King Kev was right about Ashley all the long.