Former Toon defender Jose Enrique has given his opinion on the situation at Newcastle United, discussing owner Mike Ashley, Rafa Benitez and current boss Steve Bruce.
The former NUFC left-back believes the club should be competing at the higher end of the Premier League, and not struggling for survival every season – a sentiment most inside St James’ Park would agree with.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the Spaniard said:
“Obviously, the top four is very difficult, but it should be a team that fights for fifth and six position, definitely.
“It’s very difficult now, but it should be a team fighting for Europa League. It should be there.”
European football feels a million miles away from where Newcastle United currently find themselves, and that doesn’t look likely to change anytime soon while both Ashley and Bruce are at the helm.
NUFC have achieved European football in just one of the 12 seasons under Mike Ashley’s ownership, after Alan Pardew guided the team to 5th place in 2011/12.
Enrique then goes on to praise the brilliant job Benitez was doing with such limited resources – and says what all fans were thinking – why did Ashley not give funds to Rafa what he is willing to give to Bruce?
“Steve Bruce is a top manager as well. Rafa (Benitez) was doing well with not much money to spend.
“All of a sudden they give so much money to spend this summer instead of giving it to Rafa.
“Hopefully, they don’t get relegated.”
When you look at how much we actually spent this summer, we hardly broke the bank in terms of net spend.
Offloading Perez bankrolled most of our transfer budget, with Joselu also sold for a couple of million. Wages were also freed up when we took the decision not to make Rondon’s loan move permanent, so a net spend of around £20 odd million is hardly splashing out.
The point on Rafa is valid, however. Enrique’s fellow Spaniard wasn’t allowed to spend a penny during his whole 3 years at the club. After all, Bruce got more £16m+ signings in one window than Rafa did in 3 years.
All the fans asked for was for Ashley to give Rafa a fair crack at the job to allow us to compete – we weren’t demanding anything unreasonable.