Newcastle icon reveals how Benitez ‘disaster’ can be undone

A shock Rafael Benitez U-turn at Newcastle United could happen if a change of ownership is made in time, says ex-captain Mick Martin.

Newcastle left fans devasted on Monday by announcing their beloved coach Benitez will leave once his contract has expired this Sunday.

The Spaniard had delivered superbly at St James’ Park to keep them in the Premier League despite the club’s heavily-restricted resources.

However, club owner Mike Ashley couldn’t match Benitez’s demands for a new contract – much to the supporters’ fury.

The 58-year-old made it no secret over his frustrations with Ashley and the club board after being left without support in the transfer windows. In January, he even refused to offer any guarantees that he would remain in charge until the end of the season.

“Yes, it’s been a disaster, to be honest with you,” Martin told Love Sport Radio.

“I have to say I didn’t think it would come to this, because Benitez seemed happy to be in his position at Newcastle.

“Other than the fact there’s a couple of issues that needed to be sorted out. He loves the crowd, he loves the area, he’s done great work with the team, and he just wanted a couple of things made clear to him.

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“In other words, a couple more quid to invest, and control, and help with transfers. And on top of a few quid more on his wages, so I think he would have deserved all that, the crowd would have been happy.

“Unfortunately, it’s come to this stage where there’s going to be turmoil around here.”

But Martin, who made 147 appearances for Newcastle, did offer Magpies fans’ a ray of hope by suggesting that Benitez may still be in the dugout next season.

“The problem you have facing you now, is an appointment of a new manager,” continued the Irishman.

“Now a new manager comes in, straight away you have to hit the ground running, because if he doesn’t, results aren’t good, then the crowds are going to start booing him, booing Ashley, and everything is going to be up in the air.

“Whoever does come in has got to be strong and handle the pressure of replacing Rafa Benitez, because if he doesn’t he’s going to get buried up here.

“There is one little possibility that might happen, if there is a sale of this club prior to the season starting, it wouldn’t be beyond the new owners to go to Benitez if he hasn’t got a job by then to bring him back.

“I read that somewhere and thought ‘God, that’s a good idea’, and if there was a sale that could possibly be on.”

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – MAY 04: A Newcastle United fan shows a banner in support of Rafael Benitez, Manager of Newcastle United after the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool FC at St. James Park on May 04, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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