If you want an example of hubris, appear no further than Newcastle’s boardroom | Louise Taylor

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The startling reality is that despite expending 80 m on new players this season only Manchester City invested more Newcastle have still ended up in this mess

So John Carver was right after all. A little over a year ago Newcastle Uniteds interim administrator claimed even a world-class coach would fight at St James Park and, sure enough, Rafael Bentez has vindicated his theory.

When, two months ago, Bentez succeeded Steve McClaren ,~ ATAGEND he had 10 games to keep Newcastle in the Premier League and, justifiably, fancied his chances. Nine of those matches subsequently two won, three lost, four describe the Tynesiders are relegated but this costly tumble into the Championship is not remotely the Spaniards fault.

In the circumstances Bentez has done pretty well. His much improved team are on a five-game unbeaten operate but the squads flaws have proved too great to prevent the former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager being relegated by Sam Allardyce.

Had he been appointed slightly earlier things would have been different but, because this is, Bentez is now deciding whether to exercising a breaking clause in his three-year contract and flee or put up with a season in the Championship with a club he has already fallen at the least half in love with.

After apparently being offered control of transfers as well as the green light to overhaul the academy, medical department and training ground, the shows are he may well say yes to Mike Ashley, Newcastles owner.

Were this stance to be formalised before Sundays home game with Tottenham Hotspur those fans who had planned to turn out en masse and beg Bentez not to leave by serenading him for 90 minutes knows where to find the pain of relegation anaesthetised.

Yet should he walk away, the sense of the second-tier sabbatical being a lawsuit of having to postpone Newcastles return to Champions League combat by an extra season will evaporate. Anger could be expected to complement the inevitable, crushing, mood of anticlimax, with the new manager and Hulls Steve Bruce is being mentioned almost certainly regarded as a significant step down.

Considering this is Newcastles second relegation in seven years, the boards failure to insert clauses into players contracts reducing wages by around 50% in cases where there losing Premier League status seems negligent. If anyone wants an example of hubris they need seem no further than the St James Park boardroom.

The enduring high wages build unloading unwanted individuals more complicated. Take Henri Saivet. Recruited under Newcastles old model whereby the manager had no real say in who came or went and the idea was to sign players aged 25 and under with potential resale value, the midfielder cost the best part of 5m and earns 35,000 a week. McClaren scarcely picked him, an unimpressed Bentez does not deem Saivet worthy of a place on the bench and purchasers are barely likely to be queueing around the block.

All clubs stimulate transfer market mistakes but Newcastle, with recruitment masterminded by Graham Carr, the chief scout ,~ ATAGEND and Lee Charnley, the chief executive, clock up far more mistakes than most. Even worse, they appear to be strangers to the concept of constructing a team as opposed to collecting a disparate, disconnected band of individuals.

Behaving like shoppers who snatch assorted pieces of sometimes ridiculously expensive decorator attire from rails without considering whether they may match or if colours will coordinate, the pair ended up making the opposite of Leicester City.


Newcastle fans protest against owned Mike Ashley. Photo: Michael Regan/ Getty Images

How else do you explain the startling reality that despite spending 80 m on new players this season only Manchester City invested more they have finished up in this mess?

Whereas Allardyce expended 15 m very well on Jan Kirchhoff, Lamine Kon and Wahbi Khazri in January, Carr and Charnley rendered McClaren with 30 m worth of new blood in Saivet, Jonjo Shelvey ,~ ATAGEND Andros Townsend and the on-loan Seydou Doumbia. Of that quartet only Townsend is starting games under Bentez and Doumbia, borrowed from Roma , no longer travels with the squad.

Of the 50 m summertime expend, the 12 m winger Florian Thauvin is back on loan at Marseille and the jury remains out on Georginio Wijnaldum and Aleksandar Mitrovic. The biggest indictment, though, is that a squad already arguably hampered by the presence of too many Francophone players were structurally holed. Critically Bentezs first few games in charge saw him forced to deploy midfielders at left-back.

If it is no exaggeration to say that for want of a left-back Premier League status was very probably lost, the absurdity of refusing to consider signings in their late 20 s upwards is highlighted by the 33 -year-old Jermain Defoes heroics at Sunderland. Awarded, the former England striker possesses negligible resale value but by securing security, his goals have been worth at the least 100 m to Sunderland.

Ashleys decision to delegate football responsibilities to Charnley and Carr while using his public-relations consultant, Keith Bishop, as a go-between, has backfired spectacularly.

If topics must be asked about the futures of Charnley and Carr although it is thought Ashley may reprieve the latter the owner and Bishop would be unwise to try to engage Bentez in hardball negotiations. Behind a warm, genial exterior the 56 -year-old is a consummate political operator in whom the Sports Direct owner may have met his match. Unlike McClaren or Alan Pardew, Bentez is not cowed easily and his slick personal website indicates he could teach Bishop a thing or two about PR.

Unlike their Wearside neighbours, whose latest accounts indicated a 35 m loss, Newcastle have recently recorded healthy earnings( 32 m at the last count) and will benefit from next seasons 37 m parachute pay available to clubs relegated from the top division.

Further monies should also be recouped from the sale of players such as Moussa Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Papiss Ciss and Townsend although the St James hierarchy may oppose to retain the latter leaving Newcastle well-placed to rebuild a squad capable of ricochetting straight back into the big time.

Shelvey, bought for 12 m from Swansea City, wants to stay and could prove extremely effective at Championship level but it should never have come to this. Not after expending 80 m in a single season.

Trouble has to be faced, though; what matters now is somehow persuading Bentez to stay before letting him to implement far-reaching reform. The alternative is too agonising to contemplate.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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