Newcastle United supporters have been hugely satisfied in the Transfer Tavern in the last few weeks following their team’s run of just one defeat in six Premier League matches, a streak which has moved them five points clear of the relegation zone.
Rafa Benitez’s men were just two points above the drop after their 3-1 defeat to champions-elect Manchester City back on January 20, but they have since then won twice and drawn three of their six games to pull clear of the danger. The Magpies produced an outstanding display to beat Manchester United 1-0 at St James’ Park last month, before backing that up with a vital 3-0 victory over fellow relegation candidates Southampton in their last league outing, a result which moved them up to 13th place in the table and five points clear of bottom three.
As such, there have been many buoyant and optimistic Newcastle fans in the Tavern in recent times, yet they are unlikely to be too thrilled by a recent report from The Daily Telegraph, which hints that the relationship between manager Benitez and owner Mike Ashley ‘remains strained’.
Former Chelsea and Liverpool boss Benitez took over at St James’ Park back in 2016 but was unable to keep the club in the Premier League, albeit he remained with the North East giants to help them win the Championship title last season, thus leading them back to the promised land.
However, the Spaniard has made no secret of his frustrations with the club’s transfer policy, a policy which hasn’t seen their transfer record broken since 2005, and recent reports suggest that the relationship between him and Ashley ‘remains strained’, to the point that Benitez has reportedly found working under the club’s owner ‘difficult’.
And with only a year left on his current deal at Newcastle, this news is unlikely to fill our resident Magpies fans with optimism, but the fact that Benitez is still at the club two years on from working under Ashley suggests that he may well stick it out a while longer yet.
Landlord’s verdict: In Rafa Benitez, Newcastle have one of the best managers in world football, and the sort of character that can bring the good times back to St James’ Park once again.
Yet it appears that things haven’t change regarding Mike Ashley’s running of the club, with the transfer policy very much remaining the same despite Benitez’s repeated calls for further investments, to the point that the Spaniard was given just three loan signings during the January transfer window.
And while Benitez reportedly ‘loves’ the club and indeed the city, Newcastle fans are likely to feel slightly uneasy regarding the relationship, as it could prompt the 57-year-old to re-consider his future at the club come the summer.
Newcastle fans… what do you make of the news? Let us know!