“It’s not like it said in the brochure.”
Those were Kevin Keegan’s words in 1992.
And they have a resonance at Newcastle United today.
Keegan, unhappy with the backing he was getting in the transfer market, walked out of the club just 38 days into his tenure.
However, Keegan did a U-turn after talks with then-owner Sir John Hall – and the rest is history.
Of course, there was no turning back in September 2008 when Keegan – this time furious with new owner Mike Ashley – walked out of the club during his second spell as manager after a disastrous summer transfer window.
When I decided to stay I was expecting another thing. Now we are where we are.Rafa Benitez
Keegan’s famous quote came to mind on Sunday after Newcastle’s 2-0 win over Hellas Verona.
United had been far more dominant that the scoreline had suggested.
The victory had been convincing and comprehensive.
Benitez was pleased with what he had seen from his team in their final pre-season friendly.
Newcastle’s manager, however has been less pleased with the club’s failure to land a series of summer transfer targets.
The club has spent just over £30million so far this summer, though the net outlay is far less on account of the departures of Florian Thauvin and Daryl Murphy.
Benitez was promised “every last penny” generated by the club through promotion and player sales by Ashley in May. The commitment was enough to persuade Benitez to stay at St James’s Park.
Yet the club has seemingly been counting the pennies over the past couple of months. What’s going on?
Benitez was asked about his team’s performance, Dwight Gayle’s fitness and transfers after the Verona game. And his reply to one particular question was telling – and troubling.
“When I decided to stay, I was expecting another thing,” said United’s manager, who told the handful of journalists gathered in St James’s Park’s sparsely-filled media suite.
“Now we are where we are. I decided to stay because of a lot of positive things I could see, starting with the fans.
“I will try to do my best to be sure that the team we have will be good enough to compete and stay as high as we can in the Premier League.”
Benitez, smiling, then got up and left.
So is history about to repeat itself at Newcastle?
Benitez is certainly frustrated. He wants a striker – and more besides – before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
Will he get the players he wants? And will he follow in Keegan’s footsteps if he doesn’t?
Benitez’s pointed “not like the brochure” comment is striking, yet he doesn’t seem like a man ready to walk.
And the rest of 57-year-old’s answer suggests he’s ready to make do and mend if he has to, though it seems inconceivable that there won’t be more incomings, including at least one striker, between now and August 31.
What Benitez has done is increase the pressure on Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley.
He did the same thing in Ireland last month – and Jacob Murphy soon arrived.
Something’s gotta give.