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From Kylian Mbappe to Steve Bruce.. things just get worse for Newcastle United

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A club in total disarray

Newcastle United: an established, respected football club based in the heart of the north east which boasts a superior fanbase of devoted supporters, willing to - in some cases - quite literally die for the sake of their beloved team.

Housed at the impressive St. James' Park, the Magpies have seen legends such as Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley, Paul Gascoigne and Nobby Solano all come and go in recent history, while the guidance of the great Sir Bobby Robson in the early-00's saw the club break into the top-four and clinch European football.

Everything about this club suggests success, but for the previous twelve years they have been held back, restricted, confined by an owner who seemingly has no interest in the welfare of his club or their loyal supporters. The Magpies have been relegated to the second-tier of English football twice since 2007, something they had not experienced since 1991/92 prior to their demotion in 2010, which in itself tells its own cutting story.

In manager Rafa Benitez, though, they had somewhat of a safe-haven. The Spaniard, who has taken charge of the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid during his career surprised many by joining Newcastle in 2016 when the club were battling relegation from the Premier League.

Despite failing to keep them up under difficult circumstances, Benitez stuck with Newcastle through thick and thin, weathering the storm in the Championship before guiding the club straight back to the top-flight at the first time of asking. Two consecutive mid-table finishes firmly steadied the heavily weatherbeaten ship at St. James' Park, but just weeks ago the Spaniard called time on his career in the north east, departing the club after yet another disagreement with owner Mike Ashley.

Benitez wasted no time in finding alternative employment, joining Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang last week. The 59-year-old will forever be respected at Newcastle United, with fans left disgusted at the way he was treated by the ever-frustrating Ashley, who continues to harm the reputation of the club's good name for his own personal gain.

Rafa Benitez Newcastle
Rafa had enough of the bullshit, and nobody can blame him.

Light at the end of the tunnel? Probably not

Just last month, excitement started to brew among fans that Newcastle were on the brink of a £350m takeover by the 'Bin Zayed Group', fronted by Dubai-based investor Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed. Kylian Mbappe moved to third-favourite to sign for the Magpies with certain bookmakers, and while that was obviously a humorous gimmick, other high-profile signings were being credibly mentioned with a sense of genuine earnest.

Supporters started to smile, after such a long, bleak period of uncertainty. Some got carried away, sure, why not? There were mock teams created by people on social media, showing how Newcastle would line-up next season after a busy transfer window packed full of lucrative dealings. James Rodriguez lined up just behind Rondon in midfield, with Jadon Sancho on the right hand side.

It was all good fun, but you could tell that some genuinely believed that this was going to be the start of something special at St. James' Park, post-Ashley. At this point, Rafa is still at the club and he's just as excited as the Gateshead-born 15-year-old on Twitter, analysing who he could get with his new pocket money provided by the mysterious rich step-dad who's just burst onto the scene. Belief started to be restored at Newcastle, but it wasn't to last.

Bin Zayed
The new, rich step-dad is here, and he's buying you all players.

Talks have now stalled between the club and the Bin Zayed Group, with a proposed takeover now looking increasingly more unlikely. Benitez has now left, and the search for a new manager continues, with former Sunderland manager Steve Bruce the current front-runner for the job.

Previous manager Sam Allardyce - who took charge of the club back in 2007/08 - revealed this morning that he turned down an approach from the Magpies regarding the current vacant managerial position, saying: “It’s not for me. Maybe if it was the first time around I would have jumped at it. I appreciate the offer but I was surprised, I’ve not worked for a full season.”

So, managerless and having just sold last season's leading goalscorer Ayoze Perez to Leicester City without replacing him, Newcastle find themselves right back at square one. The new Premier League campaign starts in just four weeks time, and as things stand Newcastle are in real trouble.

Currently sixth-favourite for the drop next May, at odds of 11/4, the Tyneside outfit have gone from serious contenders for Europe to relegation candidates in a matter of weeks. They've gone from a glistening new contract for the deserving Rafa Benitez to being swerved by Sam Allardyce; they have gone from Kylian Mbappe to, well, nobody at all.

There is only so long this farcical roundabout can continue to so evidently damage a club full of good people and integrity. From the outside it is like continuously witnessing an armed robbery in broad daylight, but not being able to do anything about it. There is still a glimmer of hope that this takeover will come to fruition, with the Bin Zayed Group insisting that they are happy to go ahead with the proposed move, though things have gone deafeningly quiet in recent weeks.

We hope for the sake of Newcastle the football club and, more importantly, Newcastle the community, that a change of fortunes is just around corner.