Although Lee Charnley has been whispering off-the-record patter into the ears of the Newcastle United press-pack (which sadly some have swallowed hook, line and sinker) Rafa has provided some detail of a summer of off-the-leash-smack-your-head-off-the-wall incompetence at St James’ Park.

Rafa has exposed Ashley-Charnley-Barnes to have known the offer they made to him shortly after last season ended to be wholly unacceptable and likely to end his time at the club. Clearly, if this becomes a something that ends with m’learned friends, Rafa has been clued up to retain the stash of e-mails that have gone back and forward between the two parties.

These are Rafa’s own words: “Newcastle need to think about the new season. I have a great challenge ahead of me. But I will say that, after the meeting in London, it was a clear decision for me. A few days later, we told the club we would not extend the contract. We had been waiting for a solution to the takeover

So, Ashley asked Rafa a question he already knew the answer to when the talks first opened and provided him with completely the wrong answer – giving nothing to the most capable manager Newcastle United has probably ever had. Nothing for the training facilities, no pay-increase whatsoever and of course giving no guarantees on transfers etc. If these clowns won’t give such indications to Benitez, what can the next mug seriously expect?

Ashley-Charnley-Barnes have known the whole close-season that Rafa would be leaving the club because the terms under which they wanted him to work were wholly unacceptable. Making the correct offer to Benitez to get his name on a long term deal was one thing but the other was they have done absolutely nothing to secure any kind of replacement for him, when it became obvious they either had to make significant changes to their offer or get a new manager. This either suggests they have spent a summer on Spice or they believe the club will be sold and the new owners wish to appoint their own man. But the takeover hasn’t happened, there is no indication that it is going to happen now. The time-frame to allow a new owner to turn around this situation and avoid another relegation is narrowing seriously by the day.

On top of that the club has lost the forward-line that played such a huge role in keeping the club in the PL and there are vultures circling for other players. Frankly, they would be insane to stay at Newcastle United as matters stand now.

Those journalists who have been jollied along by those off-the-record conversations with lee Charnley now need to wise up and do their jobs properly because they have been led up the garden path.

It may be alarmist but as things currently stand, the club is walking off a cliff edge.

The full piece from Neil Moxley, The Mirror is available here.