Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

He's Taken Us Down Twice Now - Will Ashley Ever Learn?

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

He's Taken Us Down Twice Now - Will Ashley Ever Learn?

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHNGIBSON

THE gut-wrenching agony is not over like the season. It is just beginning.

When Tottenham Hotspur slammed shut the Premier League door behind them upon departure and humiliation it did not signal the end of Geordie suffering.

Oh no, not by a long way. A stunning 5-1 victory for United with only 10 men might have produced a last-game flurry of surprised delight but we are now about to confront our real dilemmas ... the agony of whether Rafa Benitez stays or goes, the fear Graham Carr retains his vice-like grip on United's buying, the grave concern Mike Ashley's sermon from the mount at the end of a horrible campaign proves as empty as his last heart-opener on West Ham's visit.

There is still more, of course. The despair over Lee Charnley's muddled leadership being allowed to continue unabated and the anxious wait to see which players come and go.

This will be no long, hot summer of rest and idle curiosity. These months stretching ahead will form the immediate and long-term future of a historic club allowed to decay in the hands of wayward landlords.

Aston Villa are not the only soccer giant to hit skid row.

Instead of a walk across the Town Moor for gentle exercise, the close season will be like running up and down Grey's Monument half a dozen times.

Ashley has taken us down before and now he has done it again so not too much was gleaned last time. Will he ever learn? Newcastle finished in a blaze of totally-unexpected glory to stretch their unbeaten finish to six matches, for which much credit must go to organiser Rafa. However, it must not cloud the obvious which the league table emphasises. Facts are facts and not enough points were harvested.

The Toon Army did their bit to try to persuade Rafa. They lustily sang his name and his praises throughout the last-day PL goodbye and the fact he has admitted being swayed by their support and prepared to stay under the right circumstances has only heaped the pressure upon Ashley and Charnley. …

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