Mike Ashley made his way down to the Newcastle dressing room to congratulate Rafa Benitez and the player following Saturday’s win over Bournemouth according to Lee Ryder – with the NUFC owner said to be ‘keen’ to build a ‘rapport’ with both players and staff.
A nice touch from Mike? Maybe, but it’s the least an owner can do – and he’s probably only done it as he knows a failure to turn around our form would’ve forced him into spending in January.
Here’s a snippet from The Chronicle’s piece today – with Lee Ryder also suggesting that Rafa may only resume contract talks at the END of January once he sees if Ashley has backed him or not:
‘For the second game running Toon owner Mike Ashley is believed to have made his way down the the dressing room area to briefly chat with the players and Benitez.
‘Ashley offered a “well done” message to the squad and Benitez and told them he was pleased with the way things are going.
‘The positive exchange may have been short but is at least evidence that the communication lines between the club owner and Benitez are now cordial once again.
‘It is understood Ashley – who insisted on a team meal in Ponteland last month – is back on the scene as part of an effort to build a better rapport with the squad and Benitez’s back-room staff.
‘Benitez could wait until the end of January before deciding to resume discussions on his new deal with some observers feeling the winter window will be an acid test for the ex-Liverpool and Napoli boss when it comes to seeing exactly how ambitious Newcastle really are.’
It’s interesting that he only gets involved in the positivity when it suits him.
Where was he over the summer after our 10th place finish? It was the perfect time to back Benitez and allow us to kick on as a club (meaning more money for him), but he stayed away, pocketing our Premier League cash as he left Rafa with his hands tied.
Is it positive for the club that he’s getting involved again? Perhaps, but don’t fool for these tactics.
He knows the Wolves boycott is fast approaching and he’ll want to make fans forget about the problems that still exist behind the scenes for Rafa Benitez.