Everyone of us is entitled to change our opinion. It is a sign of our innate human intellect to move on what we think about things and alter our perceptions and beliefs – usually based upon good old fashioned evidence, maturity or education.

Luke Edwards of The Telegraph is more than entitled to change his view on the subjects he reports upon. And he’s a nice lad, good company, spiky, impassioned and intelligent. Those who have listened to him on TF Podcasts and at TF Forums can’t fail to have been entertained and informed by his perspective as a long term journalist who has covered Newcastle United for the thick end of twenty years. He lives in the city, he knows how the club is loved and how the people who own it are viewed by the vast majority of the local populace.

But like anyone, Luke can be questioned about his coverage of the club.

So, here’s a piece of coverage Luke penned back in April – click here entitled: Rafa Benitez does not want control at Newcastle United, he just wants influence. 

Here are some extracts from the piece:

 If Benitez is going to extend his stay on Tyneside beyond the end of June, he wants to have a say in how things are done, to shape the club’s recruitment strategy, to try and do some of the things that he knows will raise the standard of the squad over the next two to three years. He does not want to rule at St James’ Park like an absolute monarch, where every wish is effectively a command. Neither does he merely want to be an employee, where directives are obeyed without challenge or scope to compromise. He wants to work at a club with ambition, a club with aspirations. When he talks about wanting Newcastle to be able to compete, he does not mean for a Champions League place or for the title, but to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of the rest. That small group jostling for positions below the top six, who can attack the domestic cup competitions rather than willingly surrender them because the priority is Premier League survival.

Exactly, many of us nodded at the time.

As things stand, Newcastle have a squad that is good enough to avoid relegation, although it is one which will be involved in another battle against the drop next season if upgrades are not made. In both of their seasons in the Premier League under Benitez, the Magpies’ wage budget and net spend has been bottom-six material.

Spot on Luke. Why are we not paying wages on a par with Everton, West Ham for example?

Newcastle say they want to be more than that, but there is no proof of it yet.

They say virtually nothing Luke but words need to be backed up with deeds don’t they? No club will find itself into the top 10 of this division on a budget Rafa Benitez had to work on.

The threat is a genuine one. This is not political posturing, it is about a fundamental truth. If a football club does not aspire to be better, if it does not have a sense of ambition, if it is starved of the hope of silverware and the dream of causing a real, significant upset of the status quo, it is not a proper Premier League club. This is how Benitez thinks. It is how every Newcastle supporter thinks too.

This is writing which speaks exactly to the discontent there is Newcastle United and manifested in 10,000+ season tickets chucked over the summer when the man who had the confidence of the supporters and shared their ambition was allowed to leave the club at the end of his contract in June. This is exactly it. Well written Luke.

Benitez does not always articulate this well, the language is combative, his personality means he is unrelentingly demanding of his players and his staff, but also those above him. Handle him correctly and he is a force for good, but he is tired of the conflict at Newcastle –drained and stressed by the wrestling match he is forced into every transfer window.

And it was every transfer window wasn’t it? Bar the first one when What Rafa Wants, Rafa gets – that lasted one window and one window only. And that must have been debilitating for Benitez, who like us aspired for better than being a Zombie club happy to survive in the PL and absolutely nothing more. That’s not what Rafa wanted for Newcastle United and its not what any self-respecting supporter who understands the size and potential of our supporter should aspire to either.

He has also talked animatedly about the “balance” of the squad. It is all well and good saying you want to sign young players with resale value – a model he broadly agreed with because his passion is coaching and improving players– but to build a successful team you need experienced players around them. Last summer, Ajax took the decision to sign the 30-year-old Dusan Tadic from Southampton and the 29-year-old Daley Blind from Manchester United for £14.1 million. Both were large fees for a club with Ajax’s meagre budget. Ajax is a club defined by the need to produce and sell its own players, but recognised the one thing a talented group of young players lacked were the wise old heads to help, lead and inspire the younger ones. They didn’t worry about Blind and Tadic’s resale value, they recognised their value to the squad. A few months later and Ajax are in the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time in 23 years, the Dutch Cup final and are top of the Eredivisie.

Spot on Luke. Right between the eyes. You could not have got it more right. No-one wants another transfer window like the one Allardyce presided over in 2007 when hippo head brought in players for their last pay-day who cost the club millions and repaid with nothing – Geremi, Viduka, Smith et al. Horrendous squandering of precious club money.

If Salomon Rondon, who has enjoyed an excellent season on loan from West Bromwich Albion, is 29, it should not matter. He has made the team better and players around him more effective. If he costs £16m plus, it is a signing that deserves to break the recruitment “rules.”

Yes, yes, thrice yes.

Other new arrivals can be younger players with potential, but it is team building, not balance sheet construction, that matters. He needs room to compromise, not rigid diktats that tell him the only players he can sign are aged 26 or under. And he needs the club to move quickly, not drag their heals as they have done in previous windows, when he finds a player he wants.

Painfully, excruciatingly on the money Luke.

Benitez wants to stay, but if he feels Newcastle want to go down a different path with recruitment, or shun his idea of what ambition looks like, he will leave, following in the footsteps of other popular managers – Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer and Chris Hughton – who were either disposed of by Ashley or chose to quit because they were unable to get him to change.

Again, who could possibly disagree with this? It is unbelievably an accurate summation of the club under Ashley and the opportunity offered under Rafa, which has been allowed to slip in the dumbest, narrow-minded and mean-spirited of fashions.

This piece and others like it from Luke made him one of the writers supporters felt had his finger on the pulse and understood the club, its celebrated manager and the thousands of supporters who understood his value and vision.

But. Something has changed. This piece – click here – entitled: Newcastle United fighting amongst themselves as well as relegation … but all may not be as bad as it seems

This is not the only article Luke has had in The Telegraph which represents something of a dramatic volte-face from that piece in April which would have Tyneside nodding in vigorous agreement. In this piece Luke again repeats the insinuation Benitez is a money-obsessed operator who manouvered himself into a big money move to China and was never going to stay at Newcastle United. We can stop that nodding and start the head-scratching.

The long-feared departure of Benitez, after new contract talks broke down over the Spaniard’s wage demands and how much control he would have over recruitment, while a £12 million-a-year-offer from China hung over the negotiations like a garish neon flashing light, has whipped up another storm on Tyneside.

Really Luke? So much absent from the polemic back in April and a new unexplained complete change of view of Rafa’s motivation and intentions towards the club.

And that headline? That wasn’t you really was it?

not totally absorbed into the cult of Benitez’s personality, are sad and frustrated, while others simply cannot forgive Ashley’s decision not to agree to every demand their Champions League-winning manager made.

But didn’t you write the complete opposite of this in May? What’s changed Luke?

By the time Benitez’s departure was confirmed, Newcastle were on the verge of selling top goalscorer Ayoze Perez to Leicester City for £30m and were unwilling to do anything to prevent last season’s player of the year, Salomon Rondon, leaving, the No 9 following Benitez to Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang.

One may have impacted upon the other Luke don’t you think?

And, as the anger that followed Benitez’s exit gradually fades, there is the thinnest sliver of excitement piercing through the grey clouds of depression.

This is the bit where it might have been useful to add something about the plus 10,000 season ticket holders who chucked it in the summer and the protests and marches planned before KO today? Don’t you think Luke?

And the other stuff from players Luke? Do you really think choreographed interviews courtesy of the club’s embarrassingly bad media operation is really substance? It may have been relevant to include what Perez said about United a week or so back when he referred to lack of ambition etc. Ah well., maybe you missed that because it wasn’t on the NUFC.CO.UK website.

an emotional homecoming for Andy Carroll – for who Luke? His Mam?

And for those who tip him to fail and have labelled him inadequate, the last time Bruce managed in the North East he finished 10th and 13th in the Premier League with Sunderland, the exact same record as Benitez was lauded for at Newcastle. Neither the new manager nor the team are as bad as people seem to believe.

You’re better than this Luke, you really are.