‘Untrustworthy’ Newcastle board blasted by Benitez

Newcastle United
Former Newcastle United defender Olivier Bernard says he is 'saddened' by the club's decision to let Rafa Benitez leave the club.

Rafael Benitez has claimed he walked away from Newcastle United this summer as a result of a lack of trust in the board to deliver on their promises.

The Spaniard called time on his three-year stint at St James’ Park at the end of June after failing to reach an agreement with the club over an extension to his contract.

The two parties had been in negotiations for months and the former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Chelsea boss was said to be keen to stay on but only if the Magpies gave him certain assurances.

Benitez has consistently called on owner Mike Ashley and co to make more money available to him for transfers but has, more often than not, seen his pleas fall on deaf ears.

Having guided the north east giants back to the Premier League in the 2016/17 season, the 59-year-old had managed to get the best out of the limited resources at his disposal to guide the club to consecutive mid-table finishes in the top flight.

Having finished 13th last season, Benitez had called for Ashley to give him a transfer war chest to spend on new players this summer to help turn Newcastle into contenders for Europe once again.

However, after meeting with managing director Lee Charnley to discuss a new deal and what the future held for the St James’ Park outfit, Benitez said the offer on the table wasn’t one he could agree to.

Ashley has since claimed Benitez had made fanciful demands, while Charnley accused him of leaving for money having since taken up a job with Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang.

Benitez, in his column for The Athletic, has denied Charnley’s claims, insisting he had previously received lucrative offers, only to stick by Newcastle.

The Spanish tactician has now disclosed that he felt he couldn’t stick around any longer after “three years of unfulfilled promises”, claiming he had a revealing chat with Ashley.

“They told me they didn’t want to invest in the academy or the training ground – if they like, I can explain the reason why Mike Ashley refused to do that,” he wrote. “Their idea of a project was a policy of signing players under 24 and, in my opinion, the budget available was not enough to compete for the top 10.”

Benitez’s departure was met by dismay by Newcastle fans, several hundred of who protested against Ashley’s ownership ahead of the Premier League opener against Arsenal on Sunday.

Steve Bruce has replaced Benitez in the St James’ dugout and managed to make five signings during the summer, including club-record signing Joelinton, but couldn’t avoid a 1-0 opening day loss to Arsenal at home.