Mick Quinn has told the Chronicle that if Newcastle are relegated, he expects Rafa Benitez to leave St James' Park and suggested that he would not be surprised to see Mike Ashley pick a replacement that no-one is expecting.
Benitez's future has been a major talking point on Tyneside ever since he arrived, but it is perhaps closer to the forefront than it has ever been with his contract set to expire in the summer.
The Daily Mirror reported at the weekend that Benitez fears that he could be dismissed before the season concludes, and there seems to be little chance of the Spaniard signing a new deal with the Magpies.
And Quinn suggested that he would be amazed if Benitez considered managing Newcastle in the Championship again should they go down this season, while he also felt that making a prediction regarding who the next boss in that scenario would be almost pointless.
He told the Chronicle, when asked who he expects to replace Benitez if Newcastle go down this season: "It’s all a matter of ifs and buts at the moment. I mean will Mike Ashley still be here come the end of the season? Who knows. Rafa won’t be if we go down, I can count on that - and why should he stay if Newcastle are relegated after what’s he’d had to go through?
"All I know is that Ashley will pick someone you’d never expect to be the next manager. And I don’t mean that in a positive sense."
It would be fair to say that there have been some surprising appointments during Ashley's time as owner. There have been some incredibly popular appointments, such as Benitez and Alan Shearer, while there have also been some that have frustrated the fans such as Joe Kinnear and Steve McClaren.
The majority of Newcastle fans will be hoping that the reported situation changes and Benitez is handed a new contract and the backing that he wants in the transfer market.
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