Takeover talk could desta­bilise Mags, warns Withe

Sunderland Echo - - Football -

For­mer New­cas­tle United striker Peter Withe has warned that takeover talk could desta­bilise the club – but be­lieves that Rafa Ben­itez can keep the Mag­pies in the Premier League.

New­cas­tle sit in 15th place af­ter pick­ing up just one point in the last six games, with a five-point gap over third­bot­tom Crys­tal Palace.

But Withe – who had a stint at St James’ s Park from 1978-80 in be­tween spells at top-flight ti­tle win­ners Not­ting­ham For­est and As­ton Villa – still be­lieves that Ben­itez’s ex­pe­ri­ence will help the Ty­nesiders find con­sis­tency and se­cure sur­vival, es­pe­cially if he is backed in next month’s trans­fer win­dow.

Withe, 66, said: “Rafa has done bril­liantly, he is a very ex­pe­ri­enced man­ager.

“If they can keep him, give him a few bob in the trans­fer win­dow and let him make a few sign­ings, then there is no rea­son why they can’t kick on. “It’s ob­vi­ous that they aren’t go­ing to be com­pet­ing with Manch­ester United, Chelsea or Manch­ester City. “I would like to think he could (keep New­cas­tle in the Premier League).

“I have seen them play and they’ve lost games they should’ve won and they’ve won games they should have lost.

“They need con­sis­tency and, if Rafa can bring that, there is no rea­son why they can’t sur­vive in the Premier League.”

How­ever, Liver­pool-born Withe is wary of the ef­fect that the po­ten­tial takeover of the Mag­pies can have. “It’s al­ways a risk that a club can be destab­lised when takeover talks hap­pen,” he said. “It hap­pened at my old club, As­ton Villa. New own­ers came in and peo­ple won­der just how much they will change.

“It re­ally has an ef­fect on the club as a whole.

“But the most im­por­tant thing in a foot­ball club is what hap­pens on the pitch. Get it right on the pitch and ev­ery­thing goes right.

“I would like to think that the club, whether it’s the cur­rent owner, or a new owner, will carry it for­ward.”

Backed: Rafa Ben­itez.

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