The Newcastle United Blog

News and Commentary On Newcastle United By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

The Newcastle United Blog header image 2
Howay The Lads!!

It’s Do Or Die For Rafa Benitez At Newcastle

4:01 pm, Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 52 Comments

Rafa Benitez wants to manage Newcastle and wake what he calls the sleeping giant and put us on the path to greatness again – but he will only do that if he can save Newcastle from relegation this  season – and if not he will leave the club and some other top club will become the beneficiary of Benitez’ undoubted football management and coaching skills.

We hope he keeps Newcastle up and stays at the club and if he can get Newcastle playing together after almost two weeks preparation for the game at Norwich then a win at Carrow Road could set us on the road to safety – but we needs wins – draws are not good enough given the  terrible position we were left in by former head coach Steve McClaren


Rafa Benitez – at St. James’ Park on Sunday

Rafa has already made changes at Newcastle and has made the U-21 players and coaches train on their Academy pitch away from the first teamers – since Rafa needs more room to coach the players and doesn’t want to be distracted by the Development players.

He has also cancelled all days off for the squad, apart from the days to recover from actual matches – so this week and next should see a lot of work done by Benitez, his coaches and our players who are not away on International duty – and so most of the squad will be available.

Jonjo Shelvey seems excited to have such a top manager at Newcastle and he has said this today on BBC Newcastle:

“You’re always being watched – you feel like you’re on trial if you like.” “Everyone’s looking to impress and being a lot busier than normal.”

“But that’s part and parcel of football, you need to show what you’re about.” “When a new manager comes in, it’s like going to school again.”

“People are listening to what Benitez says. His record speaks for itself.” “The break will be a good chance to really knuckle down.

“We’ve not had much time since he’s come in because everything has been a bit rushed.” “Rafa will come up with a game-plan because that’s what he does.”

“I’m sure we’ll go to Norwich and give a very good account of ourselves.” “We’ve not had much time since he’s come in because everything has been a bit rushed.”

Newcastle can still avoid the drop with Rafa in charge and our next game at Carrow Road a week on Saturday is really vital.

But if we can win that game – it will give everybody associated with Newcastle a huge boost – so that has to be the aim and Rafa has time to fully prepare the lads for that game.

We need to start winning these games and as we said draws will not be enough – not with only 25 points from our 30 games this season.

Rafa is due a win too – here is his record so far from the two games he managed in his first 9 days at Newcastle.

Premier LeaguePlayedWonDrawnLostGFGAGDPoints

Comments welcome.

Tags: Coaching · Management · Newcastle News · Prayer · Premier League · Training Ground

52 responses so far ↓

  • 1 hibbitt // Mar 22, 2016 at 4:08 PM

    just a theory …………is Ashley driving the share price of sports direct down it fell 9% today is he about to take sd back to private ownership were he can run it the way he wants without shareholders sticking there nose in…… the more the share price drops the less he will have to pay to take it back to a private company….. today’s statement has been a pr disaster for the sd……. in the scheme of things we appear to be just an afterthought added on to to bulk the statement up…,,,, is he that cleaver

  • 2 Wayayman // Mar 22, 2016 at 4:09 PM

    4 of our regular starters away on international duty. Sissoko (how does he get a game for us let alone France!?!) Elliot, Gini (who needs time with Rafa more than anyone in our team due to a seeming lack of confidence) and Mitro who we need to keep injury free and focussed.
    Aarons away too, so not sure how much team cohesion Rafa can work on during this ridiculously time break.

  • 3 Wayayman // Mar 22, 2016 at 4:11 PM

    Hibbit I think you might have hit the nail on the head. Good shout.

  • 4 Wayayman // Mar 22, 2016 at 4:11 PM

    •ridiculously timed break

  • 5 Charlie in the Gallowgate // Mar 22, 2016 at 4:25 PM

    Is mitro away – I thought he wouldn’t be able to play for at least seven days after being Knocked out?

  • 6 Shadow_Shearer // Mar 22, 2016 at 4:26 PM

    Norwich have parked the bus last couple of games. & I can’t see them going for an attacking game against us. Will be alot tougher game than most think. Mite even end in a draw. Hopefully we can nick a 1-0

  • 7 Tsunki // Mar 22, 2016 at 4:33 PM

    Blackley – as THE shareholder the only real security he enjoys got his investment is that if the company should falter and be dissolved, he would enjoy the personal liability to it’s debtors being limited to a very small amount, probably £1. The creditors would of course lineup according to stature, and be paid back all or part of their debt from proceeds of sale of assets and any remaining future income.

    However, if Ashley made himself the major credit or by loaning the company a very large sum, secured by debenture against commensurate assets.

    Ashley the Shareholder limited liability
    Ashley the creditor, principal creditor.

    That’s how I guess he would do it. Question is, what are the assets of the club?

  • 8 WWSBRD // Mar 22, 2016 at 4:51 PM

    Well Ashley is still an utter piece of *insert ur own word here*. End of the day he doesn’t care about us and we don’t care about him so nothing has changed despite us being ‘stuck with each other’

    Team wise still worrying but signs are getting better

    Gini needs to be dropped imo useless recently and hides during games, Shelvey needs a DM beside him, Sissoko is our best player but he needs to learn from Townsend about running at players again, need a LB, Anita should only be near the team as a RB back up to Janmatt and, dare I say it, de Jong deserves to be starting games

    Norwich is a must win now

  • 9 Tsunki // Mar 22, 2016 at 4:53 PM

    Not that he’d want to lose his original investment of course, but whatever had to come out of the club would, or should, cover his loan amount. Any property, brands, stock, player sales, etc he would have first dibs if it’s to be believed he has minimal liability to the bank.

  • 10 NUFCPaul // Mar 22, 2016 at 4:54 PM

    Sick of people referring to us as a ‘sleeping giant’. When something has been asleep for this long you might just start to think that it’s actually dead. A bit like the Monty Python ‘Parrot’ sketch.

  • 11 Tsunki // Mar 22, 2016 at 4:55 PM

    I think Ashley is already contemplating an exit strategy that ends with him minimising his losses. I don’t think he will put any more money in, rather, any future income will be channeled directly out I should think. He’s already warned everyone there’s no money in the bank. Why there isn’t is a good question.

  • 12 Tsunki // Mar 22, 2016 at 4:56 PM

    Sleeping like the giant that fell off the beanstalk I think.

  • 13 Wayayman // Mar 22, 2016 at 4:57 PM

    Charlie In The Gallowgate @5,

    Yep, apparently they have friendlies against Poland & Estonia on the 23rd and 29th. Can’t believe he’s going, as they’re meaningless to Serbia as they failed to qualify.

  • 14 Mister Tuff // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:03 PM

    As was pointed out earlier there must be a few quid left in the kitty – viz- the bids for Berahino, £20 million at least.
    Is Mr Tubbs hedging his bets here – we get relegated and the £20 million + is never seen again -apart from the inside of his wallet.
    Survive and magically a bit of extra cash will be found £20 million + would be my guess. That plus the telly money will be needed to rebuild.

    I would not trust Mr Tubbs one bit.

  • 15 lesh // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:04 PM


    What other assets at the Club?

    Well there’s Charnley, Carr, Beardsley and Moncur. Their worth to the Club and football in general must be about errr a fiver?

  • 16 U.S Magpie // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:05 PM

    Honestly if he thinks we are a sleeping giant then he should stick with us regardless if we stay or go down and make us one. The board if we get relegated ( God please no ) should do everything in there power to convince him if he gets us back the first time of asking he will have everything he ever wanted and a transfer kitty the biggest the club has ever seen plus the bonus if all god damn bonuses.

  • 17 Charlie in the Gallowgate // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:13 PM

    Has Benitez come out and said if we get relegated he will leave the club???????

    as I said earlier like to see him stay whatever happens and be given a free reign to to what he wants.
    ie rid of Carr and Charmless and with it a..
    a footballing director
    new scouting system

    Rid of Beardsley…
    New coaches for the Juniors and under 21’s


  • 18 lesh // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:14 PM

    Ashley’s comment about being wedded to the Club but regretting the marriage (I know just how he feels!) suggests to me like a ‘for sale’ notice. Of course that may be wishful thinking on my part.

    As far as Rafa’s concerned, had Ashley uttered words to suggest that relegation would result in major changes at the Club’s higher echelons, massive investment with an aim to be among Europe’s elite, he’d be more than happy to lead the Club on that journey.

    However, he didn’t so I guess Rafa’d be off to a club with status or ambition.

    All because Ashley put too much faith in Charnley and the Board that Ashley appointed – presumably as the result of a world-wide head hunt – much like the recruitment process that so successfully brought us McClaren.

    I wonder if he’s so hands off and reckless at SD?

  • 19 martoon // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:17 PM

    Wayayman @4 – I agree it’s ridiculous having an international break over Easter – there is normally 2 games over Easter which normally decides quite a lot of things. Instead we have to watch 2 meaningless England friendlies 🙁

  • 20 lesh // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:18 PM

    Mr Tuff

    I agree with you about there being money there. I think Ashley’s ‘Don’t come to me when there’s nowt in the bank’ comment sounds like somebody saying manage your finances and don’t rely on me to bail you out when your skint.

  • 21 Jib // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:19 PM

    Ashley was clearly referring to the transfer kitty.
    There are running costs (wages etc.) to pay for.
    The club now wipes it’s own nose with regard to running costs.
    Rafa will have this seasons TV dosh (£75 million) plus money from player sales this Summer.

  • 22 cyprus // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:20 PM

    Hats off for posting that table. I’ve been bugging you to post it. I sincerely hope the first column is filled.
    Come on Rafa, you can do it!

  • 23 Blackley and Brownlie // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:20 PM

    As far as I’m aware, the club has little or no debt to anyone other than Ashley. Any significant third party lender to NUFC would surely want first dibs in a winding up or a personal guarantee from Ashley.

  • 24 hibbitt // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:21 PM

    moncur was telling anyone who would listen on sunday the club expect rafa to stay even if we go down

  • 25 cyprus // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:24 PM

    Second column

  • 26 Ian Toon // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:25 PM

    Gallowgate Dave writing in The Mag – a few hours ago.

    Personally I’m disappointed at the impact of NUST. We all know Mike Ashley is a disaster for the club and anyone that doesn’t recognise this is a cretin but where are the credible alternatives? I joined NUST from it’s inception then later lost interest in the boredom of no progress. I would be prepared to help raise finance for a stake in the club I love but there has been no attempt to even begin to raise necessary funds despite it having happened at other clubs. I also still go to games and did the protests and I was so disappointed by the reaction of most other fans who displayed no unity. Then you have the stay-aways complaining at those who still go, personally I’d rather go and take part in unified protest which WOULD work if we actually all bothered to do it. He’s only one man, albeit a very wealthy one. I’m as disillusioned by our feeble attempts as I am at Ashley.

    @Gallowgate Dave I wouldn’t join the protests myself but would be interested in a sensible investment. That’s the problem, there has been nothing. Look at Man U’s equivalent, they raised real money with commitments in excess of £200m , NUST have done nothing.

    NUFC fans have form of being ‘all mouth’ on this, in 1991, fans turned their back on the club when Hall gave us the opportunity. I’ve said many a time that £400m may tempt Mike and moreover, in the premier league, it would be good value. To allow further investment it needs an initial £100m for costs and player purchase + wages so 50,000 fans need to come up with £10k each or perhaps there are 100,000 willing fans, just £5k each.

    1Gallowgate DaveLikeReply
    Gallowgate Dave

    Aye agreed Artie and we’ll never have a better chance if we are relegated and Cashley is as disillusioned as he appears in this interview, not that I’d guess at his mindset though as we all know the lies he is capable of.

    You’d have to be gutted if you were Lee Charmless and had been thrown under the bus like this by your boss. It almost makes me chuckle that Cashley absolves himself of all responsibility despite being the owner and appointing the board that almost all Newcastle fans had zero confidence in. The brass neck of the bloke. He’d probably do well as an Apprentice candidate. And why bother putting McClaren on the board then have to leave him out of meetings because he couldn’t sack himself? That and the only communication being pre-prepared statements and emails is just embarrassing.

    – See more at:

  • 27 Blackley and Brownlie // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:26 PM

    Charnley and Carr wanted to pay well over the odds for Berahino. We had a lucky escape there. The position could be a while lot worse. Ashley needs to remove the cheque book from those pair of clowns before they cause any more damage. Better still remove those pair of clowns now.

  • 28 Ian Toon // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:31 PM

    There is something to be said for – Those members of NUST being asked to declare an interest when posting on here.

    The “drowning not waving” posts from early morning are I my opinion a complete over- reaction – my earlier post was intended to face up to the practicalities of such a venture.
    We need to focus on the Benitez survival programme and a return to winning ways.

  • 29 jimmysmith // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:37 PM

    It’ll be interesting to see who he gives the nod to against Norwich after this chance to work with the players. Cisse, De Jong, Tiote and Collicini are all very accomplished players who haven’t figured greatly or at all under Rafa yet. I hope he gets them on board and firing, and assume the ability to do that is why he is so well regarded. I also hope they somehow get Haidarra fit, not because I think he’s a great left back, but because he’s the only one close to good enough.

  • 30 GeordieTwo // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:38 PM

    I think with Ashley, Charnley and Carr in charge we’ve gone from sleeping giant to comatose giant. Thanks for nothing Ashley.

  • 31 Tsunki // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:41 PM

    Blackley no I don’t think there are any major creditors. Which is why he should easily be able to earmark assets to protect his loan money. I don’t even think he’s in deep enough with the bank for them to have a charge on anything he owns either. I think his only danger is from loss of TV revenue, poor players depreciating rapidly of which I think we have a few, and through his own fault, little meaningful interest in sponsorship. Add that to the curtailed revenue streams in ground advertising and merchandise which I may be wrong about but appears to be little more than a commission, and the drop to the championship, risk investment to get the club back into the PL may be not quite as appealing to him as you might think. I don’t think he was the architect of our last resurrection at all. I doubt he will be this time either.

  • 32 Tsunki // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:43 PM

    Ian Toon – yes, forget about the iceberg, full steam ahead!

    I think you are taking the blog for a kindergarten if you think telling it like it is equates to withdrawing support and motivation.

  • 33 lochinvar // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:44 PM

    I wonder where our pre-season tour will be ?
    Perhaps the Cumbria / Lancs coast taking in Barrow, Fleetwood and Blackpool. Meanwhile…
    Leicester will play Barcelona and Paris St-Germain in this summer’s pre-season International Champions Cup.
    The Premier League leaders will play Celtic in Glasgow on 23 July, PSG in Los Angeles on 30 July and Barcelona in Stockholm on 3 August.
    The Foxes are among five Premier League clubs taking part in the pre-season tournament, based mainly in the United States.
    Liverpool face Chelsea at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on 27 July.
    The Reds will also play AC Milan in Santa Clara in California on 30 July and Barcelona on 6 August, at a venue to be announced.
    Chelsea play Real Madrid on 30 July at a venue also not yet announced and then travel to Minneapolis to play AC Milan on 3 August.

    The 10 teams in the main competition also include Bayern Munich, while Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur will play standalone matches in China and Australia, respectively.

    Meanwhile, Manchester United will take part in an eight-day, two-game tour of China this summer, where they will play Manchester City in Beijing.

    The Premier League season will start later this year – on Saturday 13 August.

  • 34 Tsunki // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:46 PM

    I agree that Charnley should not be given the time to pull his trousers up and Carr should leave the commode where it is, straight out the door and onto the street. Ashley has to be a complete idiot to leave those two dabbling triflers in charge for so long.

  • 35 jimmysmith // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:48 PM

    Reluctantly, I’d have to say that I’m not that impressed with Colback to be honest. He does two things really well. Shuts down his man, and passes to feet, but really that’s the bare minimum requirement for an EPL midfielder. He reminds me a little of David Batty, who was genuinely good. But Batty was also a tremendous and fearsome ball winner, and Colback isn’t.

  • 36 LGFUAD21 // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:49 PM


    I havent watched Norwich of late. But parking the bus would suit us.

    We struggled when Sunderland and Leicester were coming on to us.

    We only started to look dangerous when they sat back to grind out a result.

  • 37 Tsunki // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:52 PM

    Lochinvar – I think we can look forward in the not too distant future to stirring encounters against formidable Evo-Stik league stalwarts in the bracing winds of weardale. Mouthwatering, not to mention eyewatering

    Perhaps we could squeeze in some ties against Leigh RMI and D&R reserves? You never know.

  • 38 Tsunki // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:54 PM

    Jimmy – you have to remember colback was barely a regular first pick for the mackems. And that was when they were worse than they are now.

  • 39 Tsunki // Mar 22, 2016 at 5:55 PM

    Lgfuad – yeah I agree they should let us shoot at their goal more 🙂

  • 40 Bambams // Mar 22, 2016 at 6:09 PM

    We need to just support the boys until the end of the season…..
    Only then can we start to speculate who we are after depending on which league we are in.
    I actually believe we will stay up, I am impressed with what Rafa has already started to implement with the no days off and creating just a training area for the first team.
    Mac would of surely taken us down, the very least we now have a chance.
    Genuinely believe we will survive

  • 41 Ian Toon // Mar 22, 2016 at 6:16 PM

    The 33% fall in SD. Share price is only a paper loss. The” worst fears” only arise in the event that were relegated. I prefer to focus on staying up and will countenance the alternative if and when! It just an excuse for many ( I’m not pointing the finger) to have a go – he’s not the first sacrificial lamb for me.
    Ashley is rightly standing up to the likes of The Beast of Bolsover. Why should he be answerable to those MPs that know nowt about business and the link into NUFC is a diversionary tactic. He’d had a harrowing day.

    I’ve just listened to talk of us being relegated, on the business news and that Ashley won’t have as large a transfer kitty. Time will tell.
    Ashley recognises he knows nowt about football – it has been an expensive experience , right back to Fat Sam.

  • 42 Ian Toon // Mar 22, 2016 at 6:17 PM

    For you Tsunki.

  • 43 Jib // Mar 22, 2016 at 6:28 PM

    lochinvar // I wonder where our pre-season tour will be ?
    Can you keep a secret ?
    Well I have a cousin who lives in Greenhaugh who works at Kielder (taps side of nose )

  • 44 jimiley // Mar 22, 2016 at 6:32 PM

    I have run out of straws to grasp. We are going down. Self inflicted wounds caused by our ” management” and nobody can say it has not been coming since we last got relegated. If you whirl around the plughole long enough, eventually you go down it. Even Rafa will not reverse the curse of the Toon. It will a supreme irony that we get a decent manager but only for 10 games. He will not be able to turn around our wasters in such a short space of time.

  • 45 Harley // Mar 22, 2016 at 6:48 PM

    We’ll beat Norwich next Saturday then palace at home. The players will have their tails up after the 2nd half against Sunderland.
    Mitrovic will be full of confidence, Cisse is back, colback is banned for 2,games, everything is looking good.

    Bambams said it just there. We need to support them to the very last day.

    We will stay up.

  • 46 John Akomfrah // Mar 22, 2016 at 7:00 PM

    colo to stroll back in we are doomed

  • 47 21st Century Schizoid Man // Mar 22, 2016 at 7:04 PM

    Ian Toon // Mar 22, 2016 at 6:16 PM

    The 33% fall in SD. Share price is only a paper loss.

    Really, the share price should reflect the value of the company. All shares have some element of ‘hope value’ , some like the boom were entirely hope value which is why it crashed – and 95%+ of share trading is speculative anyway, so it is a casino loss – but as that is how the shares accumulated value in the first place he is simply playing mind games with the stock market – though his employment and trading practices have come under scrutiny recently and that may easily cause a share price drop. I agree he is pretty poor when it comes to personal PR and verbatim quotes.

    Ashley is rightly standing up to the likes of The Beast of Bolsover. Why should he be answerable to those MPs that know nowt about business.

    Firstly, Dennis Skinner is NOT on the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee/.

    Secondly, Select Committees do NOT have coercive powers to call witnesses.
    However, as they have an investigative role, to protect the public from various kinds of wrong-doing – including illegal phone taps, supermarket market rigging by pricing etc., it can be classified as contempt of Parliament not to be a witness to a committee – as it makes the person appear above the law. No legal enforcemnt action has ever been taken as we do not have a written constitution and Selcct Committees are relatively recent, so there are no legal precedents.
    However, it may well affect hios reputation by refusing to appear.

    As for your uncritical support of him “he’d had a harrowing day”- yeh life’s a bitch for the mega rich isn’t it ?

  • 48 Ian Toon // Mar 22, 2016 at 7:06 PM

    Hibbitt- Your comment on Moncur mentioning that Benitez wanted to stay.
    Was that on Radio 5, Garry Richardson sports programme?

  • 49 9 // Mar 22, 2016 at 7:08 PM

    There can be no sensible doubt we’ll go down. We were in serious trouble 3 matches ago, but losing to Bournemouth and Sunday’s “effort” (My God!) confirms this. While our next opponents have been improving, and are at home, we have shown nothing, and are away: look at our away record, always remembering “the table doesn’t lie”. Of course, we all hope NUFC can win and will stay up, but most people are sensible and can see straight – I believe Mr Shearer fits into this category, though it makes no difference to my point whatever you think of him. We are, effectively, down. Mr Benitez’s team on Sunday were pants(see how polite I’m being). Mr Ashley has spent very big money – disgusting to read all the neggers dreaming away conspiracy theories about him in the face of this investment ( there’s none so blind as them that won’t see) but clearly, for whatever reason, his millions, coming so late (but more money than anyone in England spent this season, I read) have failed, and failed spectacularly. It was embarrassing for a NUFC fan to see Sunday’s effort. I wish I could believe in a magic wand (AKA Rafa – an inspired appointment) but
    it’s way too late. We go down, Rafa waves bye-bye: then what? Any ideas, lads?

  • 50 Jail for Ashley // Mar 22, 2016 at 7:11 PM

    I was very hopeful we’d stay up, unless Rafa and the players are in the loop and the interview was a sham, I really don’t know what it’s intentions were, all a trifle bizarre!!

  • 51 Jail for Ashley // Mar 22, 2016 at 7:15 PM

    Mashers might actually be seething that he’s had to get a proper manager in, he doesn’t like losing and has lost his little Trading places type bet with Levy that you could hire a sacked lower league manager and stay in the PL for five years. It’s not the pound he’s lost he’s gutted about, it’s the losing to one of his chums.

  • 52 Ian Toon // Mar 22, 2016 at 7:25 PM

    21- Select Comm’ s I am very familiar with them and the role they fulfill . Forgive me for not sharing your enthusiasm but I have little respect for MPs feeding the media- Skinner Specialises in nothing but feels free to speculate. As you point out it is uncertainty that can impact a share price. Just as it does the exchange rate hence the £ is weak against a multitude of currencies because of possibility of brexit. Finance isn’t my chosen field but I did study Economics at A level.
    Again I thought the whole phone tapping saga was a waste of public money and had more to do with politics than social justice. Just another diversionary tactic to draw attention away from the state of the economy. Did you know that the last time we had a balanced budget was in 2001. Check it out on ONS.
    I sense your doing a power to the people salute as you read this.

previous post: Benitez Makes More Changes At Newcastle

next post: Rafa Benitez Gets Tough With Newcastle Slackers