By Russell Edge

17th May, 2018 | 9:06am

Now or never for Newcastle as journalist reveals behind-the-scenes desperation over fan fave


Things are never simple at Newcastle United, and that is proving to be the case less than a week after the Premier League season finished.

Instead of being able to enjoy an impressive top ten finish in their first season back in the top flight, the Toon Army are now left stressing over the future of manager Rafael Benitez, as he enters the final year of his contract.

As if pondering if the forthcoming season will be the last with the Spaniard at the helm, the Newcastle faithful’s panic has been ramped up to 11 with claims from Sky Sports that West Ham are keen on taking the former Liverpool boss down to east London, having got rid of David Moyes after his short term spell.

For supporters, losing Benitez only comes down to one man – owner Mike Ashley – and it is the Sports Direct supremo’s penny pinching running of the club which has the Magpies on edge.

With the Hammers circling, it seems now or never for Newcastle if they are to keep the fans’ firm favourite, and it appears as though desperation is starting to emerge behind the scenes at St James’ Park.

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The Times’ north east correspondent George Caulkin has claimed on his personal Twitter account that calls and emails were circulated between the club and Benitez’s team trying to convince him of exactly what the plans are for the summer transfer window – with a lack of backing resulting in vocal frustration from the Spaniard in the past.

West Ham’s interest only hands power to Benitez in negotiations and if Ashley is unwilling to back the manager, then he could well lose his prized asset to a rival.

Newcastle need to sort out their boss’ contract sooner rather than later, but they may well have already left it too late.

In other Newcastle United news, one senior figure’s future is in serious doubt as his close ally is on the verge of walking away.

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