On Saturday evening, the Mirror put out a late night piece claiming that Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, was reinstating the club’s highly-controversial transfer policy of signing youngsters with sell on value.
Initially, signing good, young players with high potential sell-on-value isn’t controversial at all. It’s common sense and something most clubs look to do in an ideal world. United have tried to do that for most years under owner, Mike Ashley, with varying levels of success.
What troubles most Newcastle supporters isn’t that plan in itself, it’s the sudden emergence of Ashley returning to the club and barking out orders. United fans have had an innumerable amount of poor experiences due to Ashley’s meddling in the past with and, understandably, they don’t want a man with a poor knowledge of football shifting the weights once again.
Newcastle United have once again regained hope, confidence and a togetherness that will see them reach new heights. Rafa Benitez has turned the ship that was out of course, and they have land in sight.
The Mirror piece reports that Ashley has left managing director Lee Charnley in no doubt as to his wishes. In addition, former recruitment guru Graham Carr is set for a direct role in all future purchases.
Carr supposedly works well with Benitez. He does his job as a head scout, using his lengthy network of contacts, finding the right players for Rafa. The head scout role, which Carr has held for several years, suddenly came under threat when Rafa agreed to become the club’s permanent manager over the summer. There were talks of the vastly-experienced and widely-respected head scout leaving his role at the club. However, to the surprise of many, that did not occur.
As long as Carr is head scout at Newcastle he’ll always have a direct role, but that should not be in terms of having a say in who Rafa should sign. Be it final or a board decision, whether United decide to sign a player or not should be left to Benitez and Benitez alone.
The words in the Mirror piece that triggers a reaction are Ashley being unhappy. Ashley leaving Charnley in no doubt. Ashley reinstating Carr in a direct role in all future purchases. These are all words that could potentially yield an unwanted shift in power at United, once again.
It’s later been confirmed by a report in the Chronicle, that the Mirror report had several “well placed sources” – and that Carr now will return to a higher state of power at Newcastle United. Ashley is indeed unhappy that NUFC have strayed from their contentious transfer blueprint.
If United want to return to the Premier League, they should do so through the brains, hands and eyes of Rafa Benitez – not through a man who’s had his club relegated on two separate occasions. The best thing that could happened to Newcastle in 2016 was giving Rafa full control of all footballing matters. And transfers is a huge factor in that.
There’s a big dislike for Mike Ashley’s sudden “hands on” involvement. He should be delighted that the club are on track for an instant return to the Premier League. Rafa should be able to rule as he sees fit. So far, Benitez has not set a foot wrong. He works best that way. At Real Madrid, he felt that he failed because there were too many chefs in the kitchen. His voice mattered too little.
While we still do not know what it means when Carr is handed a direct role in purchases, it’s easy to assume the worst. Journalists and social media accounts alike, have attempted to calm supporters throughout the day. Though once Ashley has gotten your little finger, it’s not long before the entire arm is gone.
There’s another piece from the Chronicle explaining that this might even have had an effect on the current transfer window. Though Rafa remains the man in ultimate control. If that’s the case, supporters don’t have much to fear.
Hopefully, the coming days sheds more light on this, as it is not something to sweep under the rug.