Richard Keys' response to Rafa Benitez's complaints has been described as 'embarrassing'
Rafael Benitez is one of the most likable men in football.
Even many Manchester United fans can now find a soft spot for the former Liverpool manager, who currently finds himself struggling to cope with life at Newcastle.
Benitez has made no secret of his frustrations with what's taking place behind the scenes at St James' Park and is reportedly refusing to sign a contract extension with the Magpies until certain demands are met.
Chief among Benitez's concerns is the lack of signings this summer, with the Tyneside club only managing to bring in three new faces in the current transfer window.
"When things are not going well off the pitch you can see a reflection on the pitch," Benitez told the Guardian after this week's 4-0 preseason defeat to Braga. "Everything – I’m really worried."
There appears to be a marked disconnect between Benitez and club owner Mike Ashley as the Spaniard doubts whether his recruitment requests will be met ahead of the transfer window deadline.
"I have no idea. The fans have to be concerned, we are concerned. I’m really worried," Benitez reiterated.
Most Newcastle supporters echo the concerns of the man who brought them back to the Premier League in his first full season in charge and kept the club in England's top flight the next year.
But former Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys has no such sympathy for Benitez as he took to Twitter to criticise the Newcastle manager for airing his worries.
Shut up Rafa - or walk - which is your right. https://t.co/yVo28nq7O8 The club will survive you. Mike Ashley isn’t going to change for you. He was right last season - you had more than enough.
— Richard Keys (@richardajkeys) August 3, 2018
In what comes across as a bizarrely defensive reaction to the comments, Keys told Benitez to "shut up or walk" because "the club will survive you."
Most Magpies fans want Benitez at the helm and also want to see more committed investment into the playing staff so it's safe to say that the majority didn't take Keys' side of this particular argument.
Your demise is very saddening. One of the top tv presenters in the country at one stage. The sexism and cheating scandal have led you to this: desperate attempts to feel relevant by making controversial statements contrary to popular opinion. Just sad tbh.
— NUFC 360 (@NUFC360) August 3, 2018
You really do talk utter nonsense. Rafa is the best thing to happen to Newcastle in years, he has overachieved with what he has been given by that asset stripping parasite and people like you sticking up for him is embarrassing. The fans agree with Rafa.
— Jamie (@robertsonj87) August 3, 2018
— Gwen Kennedy (@GwenKennedy1892) August 3, 2018
I’m genuinely absolutely baffled how you’ve arrived at this opinion.
— Ben Kilbride (@benkilbride85) August 3, 2018
“Rafa, as always, has my full support, and contrary to some media reports that portray me as a pantomime villain, I will continue to ensure that every penny generated by the club is available to him.”
Mike Ashley, May 2018. #WhereIsTheMoney pic.twitter.com/XmAWte887j
— Tom Wooldridge (@TomWooldridge29) August 3, 2018
How dare you comment like that about our club & manager? Try doing some research on how Ashley runs our club, how many job losses, relegations, lies. Why do we pay SD money & they don’t pay for advertising etc? He’s poison
— Karen Walker ?♀️?️♀️?♂️⚽️ (@1karenannwalker) August 3, 2018
... says disgraced, out-of-touch, irrelevant TV has-been
— Dave Morton (@DaveSMorton) August 3, 2018
Why is he not allowed to be concerned about the depth of his squad? He wants to keep the club up and that means he needs a couple of new players, what's wrong with that?
— Charli Hayes ? (@Charli_Hayes) August 3, 2018
Rafa is fighting his corner on behalf of the fans, the most important part of the club. He did the same at LFC under Hicks & Gillet. I suggest you ask their fans about the job he’s doing for a better idea.
— Ali Line (@BluPheesh) August 3, 2018
More lazy journalism. Do you lot ever conduct any sort of basic research? You really don’t have a clue what is going on at Newcastle United do you? But that’s ok. You just sling the same old tired generalisations about as usual.
— Colin Bestford (@Colin_B_1970) August 3, 2018
To be fair Richard no body is interested in your opinion!
That’s why you’ve been outcast ito the Middle East with your sexiest comments
— GARRY ROPER (@GROPES69) August 3, 2018
Swap Ashley with a foreign owner and Rafa with a Pulis or a Steve Bruce and your tweet would be very different
— Samy (@sazzam31) August 3, 2018
A man of honour and integrity Richard. I’m not surprised you struggle to understand
— Steve (@alinde_mc) August 3, 2018