Newcastle blow as details of possible Benitez rift appear - report
By Russell Edge
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is still yet to congratulate manager Rafael Benitez on winning promotion back to the Premier League, according to a report.
The Times claim that Benitez is yet to receive any congratulations from owner Mike Ashley, in news which will worry Newcastle fans.
The relationship between Benitez and Ashley was said to be fractious when key transfer targets didn’t arrive in January.
Benitez himself is said to be confused by the silence from Ashley – after delivering his job brief of promotion.
His side earned promotion back to the top flight of English with a 4-1 victory over Preston North End, with manager Benitez receiving the plaudits for his leadership in their success.
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Newcastle become only the second side in seven seasons to have won automatic promotion in their first season after relegation, after current Premier League side Burnley achieved the feat last season.
However, when asked about his future by Daily Mail journalist Craig Hope, Benitez was surprisingly coy on his future at the club, and these latest revelations are likely to make fans even more concerned.
Question: Will you be in charge in the Premier League?
Rafa Benitez: You never know, that is football.
— Craig Hope (@CraigHope_DM) April 24, 2017
Ashley has taken a back seat at the football club this season, entrusting Benitez and managing director Lee Charnley to deal with matters such as transfers and club development.
The Sports Direct man has been involved with Newcastle since 2007 and has endured a frosty relationship with Newcastle fans, who have seen their side relegated twice under the multi-billion pound man’s ownership.
They have also been left seething at a number of decisions made by the businessman, such as renaming St James’ Park the Sports Direct Arena and appointing managers such as Joe Kinnear and Steve McClaren.
In other Newcastle news, captain Jamaal Lascelles has opened up about the club’s time in the Championship.