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Rafa leaves Newcastle: precarious future for the club

Monday 24 June 2019

NEWCASTLE United have today announced that manager Rafa Benitez will be leaving the club. Simon Chadwick, Professor of Sports Enterprise at the University of Salford Business School, comments on the decision and what it means for the future of the club.

Professor Chadwick said: “For Newcastle United and Rafa Benitez, it has been a very long goodbye - this has been coming for some time. One has always sensed a natural affinity between Benitez, the club and Newcastle fans, hence the Spaniard's perseverance and patience at St James' Park. However, his calls for investment in the squad have become routine, suggesting an ongoing and remaining divergence of interests between Benitez and the club's owner. 

“Tellingly, his departure at this point suggests at one level that this is the natural conclusion to a relationship that has always somehow seemed rather uneasy. More worryingly for fans of the North East club, Benitez's departure suggests that stories about incumbent new owners is purely speculation. In recent years, reports that Middle Eastern or Chinese investors would buy the club have proved to be unfounded. Indeed, recent rumours that a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family might buy Newcastle United seemed somewhat bizarre. 

“It now seems that these rumours were unsurprisingly without foundation. This all raises questions about where the club and its owner go next; unless a buyer comes forward soon, and unless the club can hire a sufficiently inspiring new manager, one suspects that the club's future may be rather more precarious than some would like.”

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Sam Wood

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