Toon owner Mike Ashley spoke out against the Spaniard this weekend in an interview with the Mail, claiming that he had taken the easy way out by moving to China for a higher salary, instead of staying on Tyneside.
But Benitez has insisted to those close to him that he would have been willing to continue at St. James’ Park if his relationship with those above him was better.
There are two sides to every story, and when accusations are being thrown around like they are here, it can be difficult to decide who is telling the truth. The only thing supporters have to go on is previous form, and whereas Benitez never did anything to raise suspicions about his trustworthiness, Ashley has “repeatedly and intentionally misled the press, public and the fans” – that infamous phrase from the Keegan Tribunal back in 2009, as reported by the Telegraph. On that alone, it’s easy to see who supporters are going to side with. Losing Benitez was a hammer blow for a fanbase who have been kicked in the teeth more times that enough, and while what actually happened in those negotiations to keep him will never properly come out, it’s far easier to imagine Ashley upsetting the apple cart than Benitez spitting his dummy out. Even after he’s gone, the saga goes on.