It’s fair to say that Newcastle United have made a pretty disastrous start to the summer.
After the club confirmed that Rafa Benitez will be leaving come the end of his contract on Sunday, things have been exacerbated by a general lack of movement on the takeover front, with supporters still being kept in the dark over the extent to which the Bin Zayed Group’s optimism can be trusted.
The Dubai-based consortium are adamant that they are in a good position, but a report from PA Sport yesterday, as cited by the Chronicle (12.51), would seem to suggest that they have not yet been granted exclusivity, nor have they begun to meet the Premier League’s requirements with regards to an owners and directors test.
All things considered, these are frustrating times on Tyneside, but perhaps most annoying of all is the persistent and all-encompassing lack of communication from the club themselves.
Time and time again, as news and rumours filter through to the fanbase from outside sources, the board at St. James’ Park refuse to comment, and it’s gotten to a point now where the very last drop of trust that might have remained at the end of the season has finally drained away.
But Mark Douglas of the Chronicle is not surprised by the blanket silence.
Speaking to the outlet, he said: “Remember they said nothing on the record about Peter Kenyon but with Amanda Staveley they did eventually kind of rubbish it but that was towards the end – so they have got form; they don’t usually talk about takeovers.
“But I think what they should do is issue some sort of holding statement confirming there are negotiations so we can treat what the Bin Zayed Group said with that little bit more credibility – and I do think they’re credible.
“The club’s attitude to communications is that they don’t want to talk to anyone at the moment – they want to get on with things. I think it was about 140 words, the statement about Rafa Benitez – it’s just not good enough really.”
The fact of the matter is that if Mike Ashley has any respect for the Toon Army he would see fit to speak to them about what is going on.
Instead, having worn them down into a state of open revolt, he now presides over the current situation with an air of smug detachment. All he has to do is talk, but he won’t.
In fact, you fear that the mess he has created on Tyneside means that something as simple as opening up to the fans is just beyond him at this point.
The Toon Army deserve a whole lot better than this.