Former Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez reveals that he initially felt that owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley wanted him to stay at the club.
The Spaniard has now officially left the Magpies and is widely expected to join Chinese side Dalian Yifang. However, he did believe that the Newcastle chiefs were happy with his work.
“Yes,” he told The Times when asked if the trust had gone at St James’ Park. “We didn’t have that, so I had to choose.”
Did he believe that Ashley and Charnley wanted him to carry on?: “Obviously, I had the feeling they were really pleased for me to stay at the beginning, but later on, when we had different views in terms of how to move forward, I couldn’t see this support. I couldn’t see this clear desire I could feel at the beginning.”
So, as Benitez tells it, Ashley and Charnley were initially happy for him to stay and carry on his good work at the club, but as soon as some disagreements arose they were ready to show him the door. That’s not how you negotiate and it’s not how you run a football club successfully. Owners and managers aren’t always going to agree, that’s just not realistic. However, you can’t throw your toys out the pram and give your manager the boot just because he has some different ideas to your own. As Benitez keeps saying, it was all about the potential of the football club and trying to realise that potential, something that he was hugely keen to do, but Ashley seemingly less so. What Benitez says does correlate with what actually happened, as well. He held a meeting with Ashley and Charnley in London in May, so at that point there was obviously a desire from them to keep the Spaniard at the club. However, Benitez clearly wanted too much for Ashley’s liking, whatever that means.