Amidst all the takeover talk, is Rafa giving a tactical masterclass?

Don’t worry – this isn’t yet another article on the now almost mythical impending takeover of the club by yet another billionaire looking to add the finishing touches to his toy collection, though the next paragraph does reference it so that I can lead into the real subject of the piece. I tell you this in case you scan the start, erupt with “not this again” and toss your phone / laptop across the living room disgust. I have to say I’m getting a bit that way myself and I’m writing some of it.

With the entire Geordie Nation (and most of the UAE) talking about the takeover many fans are rapidly becoming impatient with Ashley because he’s saying nothing about the takeover. Bin Zayed Group are leaking like our back 7 with 5 minutes to go yet Ashley refuses to comment. BZG are issuing more statements than Nigel Farage, and still Ashley just sits there shtum. 
And the fans can’t understand why. 
After all BZG claim they’ve signed an agreement, shown proof of funds and submitted paperwork to the Premier League but still Ashley says nothing. If BZG are just messing around you would expect Ashley to come out and say something, wouldn’t you? 
We have to come to the conclusion that Ashley can’t be trusted and he’s just playing his usual games with the fans.

On a possibly related matter the entire Geordie Nation is talking about Rafa’s contract renewal / extension and are rapidly becoming impatient with Ashley because, err, he claims he’s made Benitez a final offer and Benitez is sitting there saying nothing. 
Newcastle claim to have forwarded the offer to Rafa more than 2 weeks ago but still Rafa refuse to comment. 
If Ashley is just messing around then surely you’d expect Rafa to come out and say something, wouldn’t you?
We have to come to the conclusion that Ashley can’t be trusted and he’s just playing his usual games with the fans.

So how did that happen? 2 similar situations with Ashley on the opposite sides in each one, yet he’s painted as the villain in both. One with our much beloved manager the other with a guy from the Middle East who we’re not even sure exists.

Yes – I know we hate Ashley, and he’s shown us over the years that he can’t be trusted, and he’s a perfect example of why drive-by castrations should be encouraged more as a hobby than punished as a crime, but he’s got to be sitting there thinking “damned if you do, damned if you don’t!”

Rafa can’t seem to lose, what with the halo and having to carry that big wooden cross round all the time, he could get away with anything at the moment and we’d just turn round to Ashley and say “See what you did now?” `

I appreciate Rafa’s position. He feels he’s been Keegan’ed on a regular basis by Ashley and Co and I can’t understand why he would even consider continuing under the current regime. Even if he was given a commitment in writing he would still have to wrestle the funds from their sticky paws and that has proven to require fabled levels of talent. You could probably stand Rafa in front of Excalibur and challenge  him to pull the legendary sword from the stone and he’d just smile, shrug and say “doddle, but don’t expect me believe anything that comes out of Ashley’s mouth, or the other end – Charnley”.

Surely in the same way that the fans have lost all trust of Ashley, Rafa must feel the same. So why would he sign on for another 12 rounds? 
I suspect Ashley is only offering an extension of one or 2 years where Rafa is looking for something more long term. If the club is sold and Rafa is under a short term contract extension I’d assume he could be replaced at little or no cost to the club, a nice clause to have in there if you’re selling.

But the question has to be “why is Rafa staying buttoned up?”
First of all maybe he’s just waiting to see what happens with the club. If the club sale is announced and he is still flavor of the day he can negotiate a better, longer deal. 
Of course, it’s possible that he could have other irons in the fire and he’s just running down his contract, waiting to see what pops up. He may be under no obligation to inform the club in advance of his contract expiring, of his intention to leave, in which case Ashley will be desperately rattling through his Rolodex, looking for Denis Wise’s telephone number.
Personally I hope he’s waiting to see what happens while keeping his options open.
A manager of his ability should not be subjected to the kind of restrictions and gamesmanship that Ashley considers “business as usual” , and by submitting to it Rafa is demeaning himself at a time when he should be preparing his glorious swansong rather than struggling to keep his head above water. 

We as fans, understand that expecting Rafa to commit  himself to another couple of years of humiliation under Ashley, purely for our benefit, is a special kind of selfish, but that’s what fans are like.

Personally I’m more concerned about Rafa’s silence on his contract than Ashley’s on the takeover.

I think Rafa is just as capable of playing the fans and the club as Ashley is, and if we’re honest who can blame him? 

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at & we’ll get back to you!)

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