Date: 27th June 2019 at 2:30pm
Written by:

OPINION

Whatever happens on Tyneside between now and the start of next season, it promises to be a bumpy ride.

With Rafa Benitez on his way out, and perhaps more worryingly, Mike Ashley showing no sign of leaving, there are sure to be twists and turns aplenty in the coming weeks – with no guarantees that things will get any better any time soon.

Simply put, these are sketchy times for Newcastle United, and what the club needs more than anything, aside from Ashley selling up, is a steady hand who can take the wheel and steer them through this minefield of a summer.

Benitez was the man to do that, and that fact that the club has allowed itself to get to this point is frankly ludicrous, but there comes a point at which the Magpies need to pick themselves up, dust themselves down, and go again.

The world will not stop just because Rafa has left, as much as many fans would rather it did.

That doesn’t mean that supporters should sycophantically fall in line as Ashley continues to peddle unique brand of toxic ownership, but the reality is that unless the right man is brought in, the Geordies could sink like a stone.

And so a replacement must be found.

One name that has been touted repeatedly is that of Patrick Vieira, as reported by the Telegraph.

The Arsenal legend is currently manager of Ligue 1 side Nice, and guided them to a wholly respectable seventh-placed finish last term.

But this is not the first time that Vieira has been linked with the hot seat at St. James’ Park.

As reported by Lee Ryder in the Chronicle, the 43-year-old was in the running for the job four years ago before it was eventually handed to Steve McLaren.

And while Vieira was interested back in 2015, negotiations were far from harmonious.

As Ryder writes: “Even during the brief talks with Newcastle back in 2015 he also didn’t agree with some of the aspects of the head coach role.”

Surely that rules him out of the running this time around.

Four years have passed, but ask anybody on Tyneside and they will tell you that nothing has changed.

There have relative successes under Benitez, but they have been in spite of the owner, not because of him.

For that reason and that reason alone, Vieira would be mad to take the job while Ashley is still in charge.

The Frenchman is too wise and too experienced to throw himself head first into the lion’s den without a safety rope, and while Ashley is at the helm, there will never be anything close to something resembling a fallback for the man in the dugout.