Mike Ashley will make it seven in a row if he turns up at St James Park this afternoon.

After not attending a match for 13 months, the Newcastle United owner has attended the last six.

No explanation given for the change in behaviour and maybe particularly surprising, considering his business empire has never been busier – Mike Ashley seemingly intent on buying up any ailing business to grow his influence and wealth.

Newcastle United of course continues to play an integral part in that business empire, with the worldwide advertising of his brands via the club, plus of course the club revealed that the owner took an unspecified amount of money out of the club once the transfer window ended, after a £20m+ profit on deals in and out was made.

Rafa Benitez has repeatedly said in interviews that he won’t make any decision on a possible contract extension until he sees first what happens in the January transfer window.

A newspaper exclusive last week said that Mike Ashley was intent on tying Rafa down to a new five year contract BEFORE the transfer window even opens, fat chance of the manager falling for that one.

Saturday morning has seen the Chronicle reveal that their information is that Mike Ashley has still refused to give any indication of what, if any, money will be made available to spend in January.

A year ago with Newcastle deep in a relegation fight, Ashley refused to allow the manager to buy any players, instead Benitez having to make do with three loan signings.

Newcastle were very lucky to see two of the three instantly hit the ground running and prove huge successes in the run from February to April that took Newcastle to early safety, with wins over Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea before the season ended.

Difficult to see that luck repeated if Rafa only allowed to scratch around in the loan market.

Rafa Benitez revealed at his Friday press conference that Mike Ashley spoke to the players as well as himself and the coaching staff after the victory over Watford.

Rafa Benitez:

“I wasn’t there in the dressing room (when Mike Ashley spoke to the players) but when I spoke to him he said: ‘Well done, congratulations,well done. Thank you.’

“He congratulated the team and he congratulated the staff.

“He is welcome, he is the owner, he can do what he wants.”

Mike Ashley has done exactly ‘what he wants’ for these past eleven and a half years and that is why we have experienced such a chaotic mess, due to a failure to invest in every area of the club.

The training complex, St James Park and the Academy all desperately in need of money, care and attention if the club is to get anywhere close to having a go at reaching its potential, not forgetting failing to properly invest in the first team squad…

Rafa Benitez has repeatedly made clear in transfer windows that he wants targets brought in early, in this next one it is absolutely essential.

Mike Ashley has to belatedly back Rafa and make clear to him now, at what level he can go shopping at, then set up signings to come in at the very start of the January window.

The clock is ticking.


GO TO SOURCE
Jim Robertson