According to The Chronicle’s Mark Douglas, there’s a theory that Mike Ashley may be more likely to release funds if he becomes more engaged with NUFC – and this is why Lee Charnley has encouraged him to meet with Benitez and attend games again.
Many have wondered just why Ashley has returned to St James’ Park over the past few games – especially when he ‘wants to sell up’ – however this may explain it (although I’m not convinced).
His ‘dinner date’ with Rafa and the players was a start and his presence at games has now followed, so it seems something is going on.
Here’s what Douglas had to say when asked ‘Why is Mike Ashley back on the scene?’ during The Chronicle’s Q&A just yesterday:
“So here’s the thing: Lee Charnley has been trying to encourage more interaction between the owner and manager for months now.
“The theory seems to be that if Ashley is involved and visible, he will find it more difficult to say no to requests for players and to release funds for reinforcements. It is much easier to turn things down if he is sat somewhere in London or Shirebrook with no link to the club whatsoever.
“Get him engaged and excited, the theory goes, and he may want to grow the club.”
Most normal owner would invest without persuasion when their club is in the bottom three and in clear need of investment, but it seems Ashley always needs convincing.
I get what’s being said here – he may be more likely to realise just how bad things are when he’s watched us be beaten (and fail to score) against both Leicester and Brighton – but I still wouldn’t bank on him giving Rafa much to play with in January.