Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer has this afternoon moved to take aim at those in charge of his former club, following the departure of Rafael Benitez.
59-year-old Spanish tactician Benitez first took charge at St. James’ Park in the summer of 2016.
And, given the circumstances, few would argue against the suggestion that Benitez since went on to do a stellar job with the Magpies.
After guiding Newcastle back to the Premier League at the first attempt in 2017, the former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss subsequently secured respective 10th and 13th-placed finishes in the English top-flight.
This came despite Benitez having been forced to work on a shoestring budget.
Amid constant drama and fan protests regarding Mike Ashley’s running of the club, Benitez remained one constant positive for the Geordie outfit, with his tactical nous and calm under pressure having proven absolutely crucial to the club’s fortunes over the last couple of seasons.
WATCH: Newcastle fans protest in the town centre against owner Mike Ashley ahead of today’s game v Spurs. pic.twitter.com/snrmAcWr3D
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) August 11, 2018
As such, when the news arrived earlier today that the Spaniard and Newcastle would be parting ways upon the expiration of his contract at the end of the month, it represented a collective blow to Magpies’ fans the world over.
And one of the most high-profile supporters of the Geordie club, legendary hitman Alan Shearer, has this afternoon taken to social media to react to news of Benitez’s departure, labelling Newcastle a ‘shambles’:
A world class manager. A manager who performed so well in very difficult circumstances. A manager who understood the fans. Thanks and good luck @rafabenitezweb you were brilliant for the Toon. #SHAMBLES
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) June 24, 2019
Shearer also slammed his former side in a column in the Sun, as outlined below:
‘What the hell is going on at Newcastle United Football Club?’
‘It looks complete and utter chaos and the lack of communication from the club has been embarrassingly bad.’
‘Their world-class manager now walks away in a week’s time for nothing.’
‘Nothing surprises me at Newcastle any more.’
Wenger & Mourinho linked
On potential replacements for Benitez at St. James’ Park, meanwhile, a number of tacticians have been linked over the last couple of hours.
First off, Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta was labelled as ‘early favourite’:
The news many Newcastle fans were dreading – Rafael Benitez to leave after 3 years as manager. Anger towards owner Mike Ashley + uncertainty around team & takeover saga only set to increase. Mikel Arteta early favourite with most bookmakers but understand no contact as yet #NUFC pic.twitter.com/ikQM3omu17
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) June 24, 2019
Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has also been touted as a potential arrival:
What next for Newcastle? I’m hearing Arsene Wenger will be sounded out over a role. Also told Anthony Hudson in the mix for head coach job
— Dean Jones (@DeanJonesBR) June 24, 2019
Even more surprising, though, has been the massive odds drop on Jose Mourinho being named as Rafa Benitez’s replacement:
📈 MARKET MOVER 📈
Jose Mourinho has gone from 12/1 to 13/2 to become the next Newcastle United manager.
— Oddschanger (@Oddschanger) June 24, 2019