Darren Gough implied Rafa Benitez left Newcastle United to pursue a big-pay day in China and Micky Quinn disagreed.
The former England cricketer shared that while he thought Benitez was brilliant for the Magpies, at the end of the day while he was frustrated at the club, he had left for the money.
“At the end of the day guys, Rafa as good as he was for Newcastle, and it was brilliant the club got him in the first place, as the owner persuaded him to go there right, so that was good, but at the end of it he was frustrated over everything that happened at Newcastle, but he’s gone for money by the way,” said Gough on talkSPORT (17:38, Monday, July 22nd).
Quinn, who played over 100 times for the Magpies during his career, quickly piped up to insist Benitez didn’t leave St James Park due to the money on offer in China, but because he didn’t get the backing he wanted from Magpies owner Mike Ashley.
“He had no choice (Gough said Benitez didn’t have to go China for the money),” fired back Quinn.
“He has a one-year extension offered to him, let’s talk the bigger picture like the academy, he wanted players to come through the academy, he wanted to build the club.
“The only thing that happened at the academy was there was a lick of paint on the wall and he wanted to take them to the next level from midtable up to Europe, he wanted backing from the chairman and he never got it.
“He couldn’t stay.”
There are always going to be people that suggest Benitez left Newcastle for the money, after all, he is now the manager of Chinese side Dalian Yifang where he is thought to earn £12million-a-year (Source: BBC Sport). However, Quinn knows Newcastle better than most as it’s a club close to his heart, and you feel he is right about why Benitez exited. The Spanish manager was never overly backed in the transfer market, and given that he’s a manager capable of winning the Champions League, something he did with Liverpool, he wasn’t going to manage the Magpies for much longer if they weren’t going to progress as a club. Benitez guided the Magpies to a 10th-placed and 13th-placed finish in the Premier League over the last two season, and he clearly needed Ashley to invest in the squad by spending big in the transfer market to allow him to do more. However, Quinn’s remarks also showed that Benitez was trying not to rely on the Magpies going wild in the transfer market in the summer window every year, as he wanted the academy improved so that quality players would start being churned out.