Speaking live on Sky Sports from outside of St James’ Park, north-east reporter Keith Downie has given a pretty grim but honest update when asked about the current situation on Tyneside.
He highlights three key issues – ‘no takeover’, ‘no manager’ and, currently, ‘no incomings’, with him insisting that the former is significantly impacting any progress on the latter (manager and signings).
Keith regularly provides updates on all things NUFC but, like most other reporters, it’s with mixed success. He stated that he thought Benitez would stay before he left for China, though here has spoken well and echoes the views of the majority of the Toon fanbase, with him addressing the big issue the club face on the manager/transfer front while takeover uncertainty remains.
Here’s what he’s had to say about the ‘toxic situation’ currently hanging over the club:
“It’s a toxic situation at Newcastle. There are three issues at the moment: no takeover, no manager and currently no incomings with just a month to go. The takeover talk is making everything more difficult. Will a new man want to come in while that’s up in the air and they could be out of a job in two weeks, two months? It’s difficult for them to attract a new manager when there’s so much uncertainty.
“It’s my understanding there has been no official approach for Rangers’ Steven Gerrard but Newcastle want a man of that ilk – someone like Gerrard or Patrick Vieira, who can come in and gain the respect of the players straight away but they’re more likely to get a man who is out of work.
“They head off to China for the Asia Trophy on Friday. I think they’d like to have someone in charge for the tournament but time will tell. And through all of this, the shadow of Rafa Benitez, who was such a popular, immense figure in the city, still looms large.”
It is classic Mike Ashley that he wants a manager of quality or of a certain ‘ilk’, that will be respected by the players, but won’t pay compensation to get them from another club. Not only that, who in their right mind would leave a settled job to join the current circus at St James’ Park?!
Newcastle have to issue some clarity on the takeover because as Keith says, it puts everything else on hold, with us surely paralysed when it comes to signing players or appointing any new manager for as long as a potential buyout is being discussed.
So far though, it has to be one of the worst summers in recently memory at Newcastle. Selling Perez, no Rondon and deadwood like Colback and Lazaar returning under the guidance of Neil Redfearn – it can’t get much worse.
The fact we can’t attract managers who only have one or two years of experience, despite being in the Premier League with 52,000 fans, says it all. It feels like a takeover has to happen and even within a week or so if we to avoid another season of struggle; the difference being this year that we wouldn’t have the hope and expertise Benitez offered.