Newcastle United legend Micky Quinn hits out at ‘diabolical’ Mike Ashley for not backing Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United hero Micky Quinn has slammed Mike Ashley for his ‘diabolical’ and ‘embarrassing’ running of the club, after it was confirmed Rafael Benitez will leave the Magpies this summer.

Benitez will depart as manager on Sunday when his contract expires, having failed to agree to a new deal with the loathed owner who has repeatedly refused to back the boss.

The Spaniard wanted funds to strengthen his squad this summer, wanted a bigger say in transfers, and also requested money to revamp the club’s youth development, but it is claimed Ashley said no.

Benitez wanted to take Newcastle to the next level, but was prevented doing so by owner Mike Ashley

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Benitez wanted to take Newcastle to the next level, but was prevented doing so by owner Mike Ashley

In a statement on Monday, the club said they were ‘disappointed’ Benitez hadn’t penned a new deal and insisted they had ‘worked hard’ to extend his contract over ‘a significant amount of time’.

But has been also suggested Ashley was only willing to offer Benitez a one-year extension.

The confirmation of his exit has incensed loyal supporters, who have vowed to stay away from their beloved club next season to protest against their owner’s nightmare tenure.

And, speaking on Tuesday’s Sports Breakfast, former Toon striker Quinn said: “I’m not surprised at all.

“As the days were ticking towards the end of Rafa’s four-year contract and not having anything sorted by this stage, I think it was inevitable he was going to leave.

“He is a world class manager, and this guy was the comfort blanket like a baby has to the fans.

“Benitez put the pride back in the Newcastle shirt after the appointments, and we’ve had some bad ones, we’ve had under Mike Ashley.

Benitez is a hero to Newcastle fans after taking the club back to the Premier League and keeping them there, despite a limited budget

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Benitez is a hero to Newcastle fans after taking the club back to the Premier League and keeping them there, despite a limited budget

“With Rafa leaving, it’s all up in the air again and the fans are devastated.

“The Newcastle fans were proud to say he was their manager and that respect was everything at Newcastle, after almost becoming a laughing stock under Ashley.

“It’s just a nightmare. I can’t believe a club of this stature can let a manager of that stature go. It’s embarrassing.

“It just doesn’t make sense, but it’s Newcastle United.

Adrian Durham & Darren Gough on Rafa Benitez’s decision to leave Newcastle this summer

“I know for a fact he loves it up there and he wanted to take the club to the next level, but he’s had no investment compared to a lot of Premier League clubs.

“The teams that went down – Fulham and Huddersfield – and Brighton as well, they all outspent Newcastle last year. It’s an embarrassment and it’s the fans who miss out because the club’s credibility goes out the window.

“It’s just another farce in the Mike Ashley tenure. The footballing decisions have been diabolical.

“He isn’t good enough for Newcastle, he doesn’t care about Newcastle. All the fans want someone like Rafa, who got Newcastle.

Benitez’s exit may be the final nail on Mike Ashley’s coffin at Newcastle, with fans raging at their owner

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Benitez’s exit may be the final nail on Mike Ashley’s coffin at Newcastle, with fans raging at their owner

“Rafa wanted to invest in the youth development, and Ashley wouldn’t even do that – it’s just madness.”

A host of top bosses have been linked with the St James’ Park job over the last 24 hours, including Jose Mourinho, Roy Keane, David Moyes and former manager Chris Hughton.

But Quinny told talkSPORT: “All the names mentioned, they couldn’t lace Rafa’s boots.”

Listen back to Micky Quinn on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast IN FULL above