When I was a child, I was always told “no news is good news”, and have long-lived by that motto… until now.
Rafa Benitez sat down with Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley, for talks over his future, on Thursday May 16, with talks continuing remotely over the following days.
Those talks were intended to end the impasse over his contract, and get an agreement in place for Newcastle to start a summer of squad transformation.
Rafa, as we have been told in the past, prefers to get his transfer business done early, then have most, if not all, pre-season with his new players, in a bid to help them settle in.
But we sit here, over three weeks since the commencement of the negotiations – 22 days to be precise – and we are as in the dark about Rafa’s position now, as we were a year ago.
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His current deal is set to expire in 23 days, and with no announcement appearing imminent, fans are worried that messrs Charnley and Ashley will simply allow it to elapse, and move on with someone else.
I have said it before, and I will reiterate it here – this whole sorry saga is beginning to mirror that of legend Alan Shearer, when he failed to keep Newcastle in the Premier League, and was expected to be offered the role permanently.
What happened, of course, was the club simply left him in limbo, before moving on to appoint Chris Hughton instead.
It seemed an undignified way to treat a Newcastle hero, and left a bitter taste in the mouth of both Shearer, and the fans.
A decade later, we find ourselves in an eerily similar position, with a hero manager that almost all fans want to stay, yet still no sign of a resolution.
Silence is golden, or so they say. In this case, however, the silence is deafening.
The managerial talks have come and gone; the takeover speculation that was rife, has abruptly paused; players have been linked with moves to, and from, the club. Yet still a wall of silence surrounds St James’ Park.
Newcastle United cannot move forward until the Rafa’s future is decided
There are so many outstanding issues and questions that need answers. But as is the case, and has been for much of Ashley’s tenure, there is no official word from inside the football club.
Are talks with Rafa continuing? Have they given him an ultimatum? Is he waiting to hear from Newcastle? Are Newcastle waiting to hear from him? Is he holding out for news of any takeover developments? Has all the talking been done, with everyone simply waiting for his contract to expire?
These are all legitimate questions that need answers.
Of course, the best outcome would be just to announce the signing of a new contract. Fans could celebrate, and work could begin.
The whole football club needs an end to the stasis we currently find ourselves in.
The footballing world does not put itself on hold until Newcastle United gets its house in order. Players are moving between clubs, and plans are being implemented up and down the country, while we are bobbing around like a ship without a rudder.
It is time for the guessing game to end, and, for the sake of the football club, a decision must be made – even if it is not the one the fans are hoping for.