Newcastle United and manager Rafa Benitez are currently in the midst of a frustrating summer transfer period, one where serious reinforcements do not appear to be on the horizon yet again. Fans have voiced their opinions, and now the political world is making a statement on the subject as well.
Labour MP Chi Onwurah brought a petition to the House of Commons this past Tuesday that questioned owner Mike Ashley’s decisions in regards to both Benitez and the future of the club. The focus of the petition is in several areas but has a particular emphasis on the financial choices that Ashley has made.
Sky Sports reported that after a request, Newcastle United Football Club declined to comment on the story.
It is yet another display of angst in the North East towards how the club is being run, following a new fan movement “If Rafa Goes We Go” that has begun to create a large following. In that case, the simple title has summarised how many supporters have felt in recent times for their beloved Magpies.
It is difficult to say how this will affect the current situation for Newcastle United. If this petition truly brings action, a potential investigation into how the club is run from a financial standpoint would be absolutely fascinating.
From television revenue to the money generated from outgoing transfers, there is a sense that potentially available funds for the Toon are not being utilised. This is believed by many to be the root cause of why Benitez is in the final year of his contract without his future committed to Newcastle.
Benitez has stated his ambitions, and wants to build something special at St. James’ Park. These ambitions involve once again competing in Premier League title chases and playing European football. Investments must be made, and not simply just from signing big players. The academy and youth set-up must be funded properly, as that infrastructure will continue to produce talent for the future. However, this vision is not being seriously considered by Ashley.
The petition stated: “Football is an integral part of Newcastle upon Tyne's social, economic and cultural wellbeing. Fans of Newcastle United are heavily invested both financially and emotionally in the success of the team. The current manager Rafa Benitez needs the support of both fans and the club's owner. This support should include investment in players, training facilities and community engagement."
Mike Ashley has had many critics since his takeover of Newcastle United in 2007. But now the cries of injustice continue to grow louder as the summer goes on.