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Newcastle United fans start a new movement with "If Rafa Goes We Go"

Roy Emanuel
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 16:51 IST

Newcastle United Training Session
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United and manager Rafa Benitez face an uncertain campaign ahead for 2018-19, as the positivity from last season’s tenth-place finish has begun to disappear in a frustrating transfer window. The Spanish coach has just one year remaining on his contract and few reinforcements have arrived on Tyneside, but now some supporters have come out with a message of their own for owner Mike Ashley.

Twitter account “If Rafa Goes We Go” has already gained quite a bit of attention in a short period of time, and seems to grasp the feelings of angst that is present for the Toon Army. Simple and effective in both name and overall outlook, fans are voicing their feelings about what the future may hold at St. James’ Park.

A negative view for Ashley from Newcastle supporters is not something new, as the “Ashley Out” signs have been seen for a number of years. The Magpies have suffered relegation twice since his takeover in 2007, and progression is an elusive concept.

Newcastle is a side that paid a world-record transfer fee to secure Alan Shearer’s signature in the 1990s, and then topped that mark when they brought in Michael Owen during the next decade. Premier League title races and Champions League football are a thing of the past, with talks of a relegation battle again being the primary focus.

The core issue lies in Newcastle’s financial approach under Ashley, and that “strategy” is being seen this summer. The Toon have made three signings (one free transfer and one loan), and there are areas of the team that simply must be addressed.

The club have been linked with several targets, including Andros Townsend and Miguel Almirón, but there does not appear to be anything guaranteed at the moment. Television revenue for Newcastle has reportedly been estimated at £125.9 million, and that is exactly why fans have reached a breaking point.

With a world-class manager and new money thanks to their top-flight return, Newcastle should be looking to get back where they once were. Others around them such as Huddersfield Town and Brighton have added quality pieces to their line-up, setting up another difficult campaign for the Magpies. Ultimately, if Benitez departs there could be a genuine mutiny forming soon.

Newcastle United supporters want to see more from their club, and owner Mike Ashley does not seem bothered by this outpouring of emotion. “If Rafa Goes We Go” may sound like a simple phrase, but it also holds a lot of weight.

Published 20 Jul 2018, 23:10 IST
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