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Top Star Surprised How Good Benitez Really Is

9:55 am, Sunday, May 29th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 51 Comments

Goalkeeper Rob Elliot was a revelation for Newcastle last season, when he came into the first team in October for Tim Krul, after Tim had severely damaged his anterior cruciate ligaments in his knee while playing for the Netherlands.

At the time, head coach Steve McClaren said Tim was worth about 20 points a season to Newcastle, but Rob came in and we hardly missed Tim because of the 29 year-old’s excellent form between the sticks.

rob elliot

Rob Elliot – Newcastle’s Player of the Season

When Steve made that rather bizarre claim, some cynical Newcastle fans worked out we could end up with negative points in the Premier League.


He was our Player of the Season and he wasn’t only good on the field, but he was also a leader in the dressing room and spoke up after some of Newcastle’s disastrous displays under Steve McClaren, when other senior players shied away from giving interviews.

Probably his best display was at Bournemouth, where it was the home side against Rob – and Rob won – when he made five world-class saves in that game that we nicked 1-0 with an opportunistic first half goal by Ayoze Perez.

Unfortunately, Rob himself picked up an ACL playing in a friendly while playing  for Ireland in late March and will not return until later this year.

In came Karl Darlow and also impressed in the Newcastle goal and we have another very good goalkeeper in the former Nottingham Forest player.

Rob was impressed with the way Rafa ran the training at Newcastle once he arrived in March:

“You can tell the experience Benitez has got from the top level, and I don’t think I realized just how good he would be until I worked under him,”

“You can see the difference in the team over the final few weeks of the season, even if it didn’t end the way we wanted it to.”

“Everything was done on merit, there were no pre-determined actions and he doesn’t miss a trick.” “As players, you know that nothing is going unnoticed.”

“If you don’t put the work in and you don’t do what you’re asked, then you are going to get pulled up for it, and that can only be a good thing.”

“Hopefully he can help us push on as a club and we can have some really good times here.”

Rafa will have a full six weeks training the squad before we play our first game in the Championship on Saturday August 6th.

We hope to see a very well organized side, with the defense much stronger than it’s been for the last four  seasons when we have conceded a massive 255 goals – an average of over 63 goals a season.

That’s because Rafa will use common sense and see it’s a big weakness we have and therefore he will strengthen the defense  – something those running the club didn’t do over the last four years.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Coaching · Management · Newcastle News · Rob Elliot

51 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jail for Ashley // May 29, 2016 at 10:07 AM

    On our strikers, by rights if we keep our players you’d think they would start banging goals in at a lower level but there is no guarantee. I think they’ll go for a proven GS. I don’t care what level it’s at, Riverie just doesn’t look like a footballer, I think the best we can hope for is to give him back to Monaco and haggle over how much of his wages they should pay.

  • 2 Ron Knee // May 29, 2016 at 10:13 AM


    I hope they’ll invest in a proven goal scorer, too.

    I wonder if we’ll see any Spanish players coming in?

  • 3 Jail for Ashley // May 29, 2016 at 10:13 AM

    Getting relegated really does screw up your transfer plans. We’ve been desperate for a CB now for years but we now have Mbemba, Lascelles and Dummet, do we stick with Collo for another season before bringing in a top CB for the PL or scrap him and get an update and coming who may or not step up.

  • 4 Jail for Ashley // May 29, 2016 at 10:15 AM

    Ron Knee,
    Me too, some new faces are needed anyway. I hope they get a top notch young LB on loan and Dummet can then be bench cover, not a bad player but for me he’s just a useful squad member.

  • 5 Jail for Ashley // May 29, 2016 at 10:16 AM

    Up and coming.

  • 6 Jail for Ashley // May 29, 2016 at 10:18 AM

    I’ve just switched on auto replace to get rid of these annoying typos. I don’t know which is worse. On all my other type functions like e mail, ink pad etc a red line appears under typos. I wonder if it’s a World Press issue or my phone?

  • 7 Blackley and Brownlie // May 29, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    Old Blackas surveys the blog wreckage from the night before. Some clearly not amused by BDM’s (at times unfathomable) rambles. Let him have his fun while football sleeps soundly. Yes, he targets a few blog favourites. But what was it Jimmy Hill said when the crowd were all calling him a w@nker as he walked pitchside?

  • 8 one fine day // May 29, 2016 at 10:27 AM

    I’d say both if we can’t get rid of colo then no reason why we can’t bring in a top notch cb now . Unlike the last three disasters I think Benitez can honestly sell ambition to a top player to come in and do the hard yards and bed in for when we go up.
    Colo to me would be nothing more than cover at best, getting injured in warm down and standing watching his team drop should be just embarrassing to any pro.
    Hate to think we would start a season with him in champs anywhere near the first eleven and once the window closes January is a long way off.
    Hopefully Rafa already has something up his waiters sleeve

  • 9 Blackley and Brownlie // May 29, 2016 at 10:28 AM

    Please. Not curly locks for another season. Keeping him long past his sell by date has been a cardinal error.

  • 10 Carr Toon // May 29, 2016 at 10:30 AM

    Why are we wasting 12 million for a Championship player? Instead double the wages of Wijnaldum for this championship season……Gini is on 60K per week which will be 3.12 million per year…….give him another 3.12 million for playing in championship and distribute remaining available money among Mbemba, Ayoze, Mitro, Townsend and Sissokho as bonus for playing in Championship.
    I genuinely believe that Gini, Ayoze and Mitro (plus we have Armstrong who can bang in few more) can score enough goals to secure promotion

  • 11 Bambams // May 29, 2016 at 10:34 AM

    I hope we can keep Lascelles. ….

    Just have a horrible feeling PL teams will be after him.

  • 12 Carr Toon // May 29, 2016 at 10:35 AM

    JFA @ 3:
    Exactly mate…..that’s why i’m saying instead of wasting money on Championship players, we should use it to hold on to the Premiership quality that we currently have…….McCormack will cost 12million while doubling Gini’s wages for the Championship season will only cost 3.2 million or even give him 5 million bonus for playing in lower division
    ……everyone knows which is better

  • 13 Ron Knee // May 29, 2016 at 10:36 AM

    Carr Toon

    Well, it’s certainly within the Ashley doctrine of rewarding failure!

  • 14 Blackley and Brownlie // May 29, 2016 at 10:36 AM

    I would be loathe to rely on Mitro or Perez to bring home the goals. It should be interesting to see what Rafa thinks.

  • 15 one fine day // May 29, 2016 at 10:41 AM

    Carr toon ,
    Double gini wages after the season he had??
    A player who didn’t turn up for most away games ?
    What kind of message will that send to rest of the squad.?
    Not to mention using up a buffer when it comes to ffpr with our income dropping
    I would snap roma’s hand off to get back what we paid for him.
    Rather sell him to them that see him in the prem

  • 16 Carr Toon // May 29, 2016 at 10:41 AM

    Ron Knee:
    so, u prefer McCormack over Gini….right?

  • 17 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // May 29, 2016 at 10:44 AM

    That is a rediculous conclusion. They don’t even play the same position. This Carr Toon character is just looking for an argument.

  • 18 one fine day // May 29, 2016 at 10:45 AM

    Sell gini. I only want players in this new era to be signed because they want too be here.
    I hope we have seen a end to the days of the stepping stone club .
    A look at where we are now tells you everything you need to know how that programme worked out .

  • 19 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // May 29, 2016 at 10:46 AM

    Closed season and the blog fills up with stupid niggle.

  • 20 Ron Knee // May 29, 2016 at 10:48 AM

    Carr Toon

    I don’t deny that GW is one of our most talented players but he’s failed to turn up too many times for us and his country. So, yes, I do think we should invest in somebody – not necessarily McCormack – who can get goals.

  • 21 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // May 29, 2016 at 10:49 AM

    So, you’d rather have a tea pot than a kitchen table?

  • 22 Carr Toon // May 29, 2016 at 10:51 AM

    Ron Knee:
    fair enough

  • 23 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // May 29, 2016 at 10:51 AM


    Clearly you would rather have blue paint than an inter-continental balistic missile. I mean come on!

  • 24 one fine day // May 29, 2016 at 10:53 AM

    YCMIUP @. 17
    That’s the only plausible explanation .
    Carr? Next up will be keep thavin but give him a 5 mil bonus too.
    Can just see him turning up at Rotherham in his smoking jacket and dickie bow tie ..

  • 25 Jail for Ashley // May 29, 2016 at 10:54 AM

    Really can’t agree on rewarding Wijnaldum with a pay rise, he’s under contract they don’t have to give him anything.
    It would be great if they could persuade a top CB to spend a year in the Championship, I’d like nothing better to see the back of Collo. He’d just slip away as anonymouslyndsay as he’s played these last few years.

  • 26 Carr Toon // May 29, 2016 at 10:55 AM

    YouCouldn’tMakeItUp :
    spot on mate…..i was just looking for arguments…….without arguments this blog is filled with dead comments…….sometimes we need ways to SPICE IT UP

  • 27 Ron Knee // May 29, 2016 at 10:57 AM


    A tea pot every time for me!

  • 28 one fine day // May 29, 2016 at 11:03 AM

    I just hope what ever business we do with gini etc is done early .
    Last thing we need is loosing players in September then unable to spend the cash in time to replace.
    Hoping now Rafa is here these things will be in the past .

  • 29 martoon // May 29, 2016 at 11:03 AM

    Jail @1 – I think, realistically, the only way we are going to get Rivierre & Gouffran off the books is to negotiate to terminate their contracts. They might then be attractive to French clubs if they are free.

  • 30 magscar // May 29, 2016 at 11:07 AM

    Much as I was frustrated with both Gini and Sissoko last season I am prepared as with other decisions to trust Rafa’s assessment of their worth to us. Can’t help thinking of the contrast between Gini early season at home and his performances away ( most of season).

    Which was the real Gini? Can he be made more consistent in 2cnd season here?Can Rafa get best out of him?

    I think of the limited impact Mahrez had at Leicester the season before last ( came good towards end?) and the massive difference in his form and play in their winning PL. Not every player can be consistently impressive in their first season(s) in England whichever division. Did Ranieri make a difference?

    At the end of the day if we get good money for any players Rafa is prepared to see leave then so be it. What does seem clear is if he wants some player(s) in to replace whoever goes he can do – money isn’t going to be banked regardless though I believe he will want to retain some for next transfer window for contingencies and to correct any problems in side.

  • 31 martoon // May 29, 2016 at 11:07 AM

    It’s alright saying buy this player, buy that player but we are going to have to be careful we don’t fall foul of FFP – we may have to sell first. Of course we could just gamble on getting promoted because then all FFP can do is fine you – probably a small price to pay.

  • 32 danmuamua // May 29, 2016 at 11:08 AM

    Sign any of these players

    Jake Bidwell
    Lewis Dunk
    Danny Bathe
    Dominic Iorfa
    Jon Flanagan

    Alan Judge
    Will Hughes
    Lewis Cook
    Dale Stephens
    Teddy Bishop
    Connor Coady
    Nathan Redmond
    Tom Ince
    Jack Grealish

    Britt Assombalonga
    Ross McCormack
    Fernando Forestieri

  • 33 Ron Knee // May 29, 2016 at 11:14 AM


    GW didn’t exactly shine for Holland last week.

  • 34 Geordinho // May 29, 2016 at 11:16 AM

    only concern for me is we might end up with another Mike Williamson on our ranks

  • 35 Geordinho // May 29, 2016 at 11:23 AM

    i can’t believe this issue with GW;
    1) 1st season in premier league
    2) started the season under poor manager
    3) ended with 11 goals from midfield
    4) club top scorer

    and still gets his a** kicked………

    getting relegated wasn’t entirely Gini’s fault… was the managerial blunders that got us relegated…….

  • 36 G // May 29, 2016 at 11:24 AM

    For the record, I would keep Riverre for now, I suspect he might just thrive in the Champo? I have a feeling Mitro might struggle with the ugly side of the 2nd tier, lots of misstimed challenges, and his temprament may get the better of him.

  • 37 mindshaft // May 29, 2016 at 11:37 AM

    Rivière can barely hit a barn door, being in prem or championship doesn’t alter that fact – he’s a willing worker and has decent hold up play but he can’t score goals – another Carr buy we severely overpaid for in my opinion

  • 38 magscar // May 29, 2016 at 11:41 AM

    Ron Knee

    I didn’t see match but still think he is a good player just not sure why he isn’t consistent. Just an attitude problem? Rafa will have sussed problem and will be interesting to see what outcome is.

    Funnily I thought Sissoko’s attitude stunk much more especially given how long he has been here but Benitez seems to prefer him or was that simply getting through the 10 games making do with what he had.

    if either or both stay it will be because Rafa believes that he can get the best out of them over a long hard season – or perhaps more worryingly any bid hasn’t matched his valuation. The latter means keeping an unwanted player or selling low.

    I do get annoyed at agents leaking to press that their clients are considering their options as if relegation was a happenstance and they were simply innocent bystanders rather than a major part of the problem!!

  • 39 one fine day // May 29, 2016 at 11:44 AM

    On mitrovic. Never seen him as a prolix goal scorer either but a quick agile payer playing off him and maybe.
    We all know Rafa is not one for 442 or 433 though .
    Would love to see shearer loose the chip on his shoulder and and do some work with mitrovic though and teach him the craft of a centre forward .shearer was as hard as anyone on cb he just knew how to be more subtle
    Not sure about rivière .clearly his confidence was shot after being under mrcarvew has the work rate but so first touch as bad as cisse

  • 40 Back Door Man // May 29, 2016 at 11:45 AM

    Whist sitting here sipping a pression, bathed in sunshine outside my favourite bistro, I’m taken to a bit of en plein air posting and return to the terror inflicted on the blog by the Junta;  Colonel Tsunki, Captain Martoon, Lieutenant YCMIU, Corporal Yo-yo, and their batman Private Jiblet.

    Yo-yo – what do I care about the alleged Thomas English/Welsh conundrum.  I’m not writing a dissertation for my Doctorate but using a part quote, a bit like cinnamon, to spice up my contribution during that Welshie spanking session.  Anyway, congratulations on that fine piece of Wikipedia research into that rhyming Welsh windbag – what would the Junta do without the thobnet from which to plagiarise?

    Now, let’s turn our attention (again!) towards that icy monotone frequently emitted by the reliably silly rogue in the sensible shoes, Tsunki.  What a half-baked autodidact with a white stick – scampering through the throbnet’s undergrowth looking to plug those obvious gaps in his naturally scant knowledge-base before attempting to rejoin the magnificently invincible BDM in a pillow fight.  Viewers, I don’t overestimate T’s intelligence, though I suspect he does and until he hoiks up his Fairtrade undies tight against his juicy bits, I suspect he’ll continue to leap out of the closet to attack the wonderous BDM … a bit like a low-rent Cato.

    Next up is YCMIU.  Always seen running around after Tsunki like some abused flea-ridden cur, a ricket-racked panting Pomeranian of a lapdog always licking itself (and Tsunki).

    Martoon evidences an intellectual agility rarely seen outside the confines of Pentonville Nick’s C Wing.  His posts are half-formulaic, half-original;  the original parts come from the piles of Werther’s sweetie wrappers discarded on his cell floor (see what I did there?) Clearly, his vanity wall, against which stands his honking ‘slop bucket’, is covered with dozens of framed Diplomas for this degree and that degree, putting to shame BDM’s attempts to get CSE Woodwork.

    By the left, right, left, right … Jib for punishment, Sir.  Not you again and again and again!  Sergeant, take this man out and shoot him, he only has himself to blame – courting controversy by repeatedly attacking others resulting in tensions when none should exist.  Clearly a capital offense!  Oh, and Jib … thanks for blindly tumbling into that Oxbridge bear trap and impaling yourself on the sharpened bamboo spikes.

  • 41 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // May 29, 2016 at 11:47 AM


    It really isn’t working. Give up.

  • 42 Jail for Ashley // May 29, 2016 at 11:47 AM

    100% agree, if you can’t hit a barn door with plenty of time and acres of space it doesn’t matter what level your at, he has never been and will never be prolific anywhere. I literally have never seen a footballer so poor as him against Bournemouth in Mclarens last game.

  • 43 Jail for Ashley // May 29, 2016 at 11:49 AM

    Slingsby yer hook.

  • 44 Ron Knee // May 29, 2016 at 11:53 AM


    It’s like that definition of chutzpah: “A man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.”

  • 45 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // May 29, 2016 at 11:54 AM

    You know, suggesting that I lick other people could have all sorts of implications, BDM. We live in an age where you have to be very careful what you say and how you say it on the internet. Authorities are really cracking down on it. How about this as a rule to live your life….

    If you would not say it face to face, then do not say it here.

  • 46 Jail for Ashley // May 29, 2016 at 11:54 AM

    It’s looking like auto predict is even more annoying than fat finger typos at least you can get the gist of what you’re trying to say 🙁

  • 47 Jail for Ashley // May 29, 2016 at 11:57 AM

    A return of Jack Root not long after carl turns up after five months. BDM and Jack Root both have knowledge of Soviet dissidents, I can’t imagine too many people do, is someone up to tricks again.

  • 48 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // May 29, 2016 at 12:00 PM


    Yeah. I call shenanigans on it.


    Be gone, lowley troll.

  • 49 Belfast // May 29, 2016 at 12:14 PM

    Carr that’s possibly the worst idea ever. Reward them for being shite basically? Get rid asap and sign players who give a stuff.

  • 50 Ron Knee // May 29, 2016 at 12:18 PM

    A report of a report in The Mag:

    “The Chronicle report that they understand that as well as loan signings, Rafa Benitez hopes to buy five new players, having agreed his transfer budget with Mike Ashley.

    “The report also claims that Rafa Benitez is considering bringing in a ready-made Captain to lead the club back to the Premier League.”

  • 51 Jail for Ashley // May 29, 2016 at 12:24 PM

    Dare we dream that could be Gerrard.

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