Newcastle boss Ashley reveals Benitez contract talks
Despite having lost Rafa Benitez, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley insists that contract talks were under way with the popular Spanish coach. Ashley revealed that he offered a long-term contract to the former Liverpool and Chelsea manager.
Newcastle fans are furious with the recent appointment of Steve Bruce at St James' Park, as Benitez is seen as a hero to the Toon Army fans.
However, Ashley insists a deal was offered to Benitez: “At one stage they were talking about a one-year extension and I said my preference would be for an eight-year contract. I have to take a medium to long-term view. I don't worry about my takings on a Saturday. And we are now talking planning and strategy. So if you really want me involved, I need time from you, too. And that was the idea. I did it before with Alan Pardew.
“Looking back, though, it doesn't really matter what Rafa asked for because I think the Chinese thing was done. He had talked about what he could earn in China previously. We were not even slightly surprised by that move.
“If you come out and say the things he did you would think it was football club first, Rafa second, money third. I'd say it was money first, Rafa, then the club last. He took the totally soft option, took the money and went to China. That disappoints me.”