According to the Daily Mail, the Newcastle United squad are waiting to hear if Mike Ashley will keep his end-of-season promise – with the NUFC owner stating he’d pay for a squad trip to Las Vegas if we stayed up this season.
This promise is believed to have come when both Benitez and the playing staff met Mike Ashley over Pizza in October, with him vowing to take them all on a summer getaway to the States if Premier League survival was secured.
That said, both we and Benitez know that Ashley doesn’t tend to deliver on his promises, and it’s now claimed that several players in the Newcastle squad are still waiting to hear if his offer still stands.
Here’s a snippet from Craig Hope’s piece for the Mail:
‘Newcastle United’s players are waiting to hear if Mike Ashley will keep his promise of an end-of-season holiday to Las Vegas as reward for Premier League survival.
‘Sportsmail revealed in October that the owner had told the players he would fund a squad getaway should they recover from their poor start and renew their top-flight status.
‘Ashley used the incentive during a pizza-pasta summit with Rafa Benitez and his players after the team had taken just two points from seven matches. We understand the destination discussed was Las Vegas as they dined at Rialto’s in Ponteland.
‘Newcastle are now safe after Saturday’s 3-1 win over Southampton took them to 41 points, but there has been no mention of the Vegas trip.
‘We have also been told that some players have already booked family holidays. Others, though, are still hoping that Ashley is good to his word and foots the bill for a Stateside vacation.’
It may have been a nice touch, but given this is a group of players that get paid tens of thousands of pounds per WEEK, it may have made more sense to put that money towards keeping Rafa Benitez at the club.
After all, I’m sure they can all afford any holiday they desire, not forgetting the fact many of them will have trips planned with their family before they return for pre-season.
Either way, it’ll be interesting to see if Mike Ashley honours his offer now we’ve secured safety.