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Praise For Rafa Benitez From An Unlikely Source

7:25 pm, Tuesday, May 31st, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 122 Comments

Rafa Benitez was sacked by Real Madrid in early January and he came in for some criticism from some players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe, but it looks like the leaders at the Madrid club appreciated the work Rafa did for the club in the six months he was there.

florentino perez

Real Madrid President Florentino Perez

This is what the Real Madrid President said today on Football Espansa:

“Until January, we’d had a good run in the Champions League.”

“Our slump was in part due to so many injuries, but I still thought we could do something like winning the Champions League, because we have a great team and never lost hope of winning something important.”

“Benitez did a good job. Don’t forget that.”

“Zidane symbolizes values such as respect, humility, talent.” “He’s very serious in his work.”

“When I spoke to him in January, he said he was prepared to work, that he knew Real Madrid very well and the dressing room.”

“He said: ‘Don’t worry President, we’ll win something. It’s guaranteed.’ “The other day, when we had our embrace, he said: ‘We’ve done it.’”

Perez has criticized Rafa because Rafa dropped the 33 year-old and was rebuilding the Madrid central defense around 23 year-old French International Raphael Varane.

And Ronaldo didn’t like the fact that Benitez was trying to improve his free kick,s because Cristiano presumably thought they couldn’t be improved.

There’s a little bit of class from the Real Madrid President right there.

Comments welcome.



Tags: Coaching · European Champions League · European Competition · Management · Newcastle News




122 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jib // May 31, 2016 at 7:39 PM

    Ed if you knew a bit more about Spanish football political intrigue (which makes the Renaissance Borgias look positively benign)
    you would know that Rafa was sacked to save Perez’ ass.

  • 2 Jib // May 31, 2016 at 7:46 PM

    Repeat to avoid the Taboola advert

    Ed if you knew a bit more about Spanish football political intrigue (which makes the Renaissance Borgias look positively benign)
    you would know that Rafa was sacked to save Perez’ ass.

  • 3 giimps // May 31, 2016 at 7:49 PM

    Trouble in paradise like Jib?

  • 4 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 7:50 PM

    So, Real’s loss is our gain. Happy days. God forbid that anybody should suggest they could improve Ronaldo’s free kicks, when the whole world knows Ronaldo is already perfect in every way, shape and form. Better to be where you are loved, than be where you’d love to be sometimes.

  • 5 bettyswallocks // May 31, 2016 at 7:56 PM

    Jib….. Do you live permanently in Spain?

  • 6 Belfast // May 31, 2016 at 8:00 PM

    Aye he’s the pool cleaner at the Solana hotel Benidorm Betty.

  • 7 Back Door Man // May 31, 2016 at 8:06 PM

    He’ on the run from the Peelers.

  • 8 Back Door Man // May 31, 2016 at 8:06 PM

    He’s

  • 9 giimps // May 31, 2016 at 8:08 PM

    Bobby,
    Give it a few years and we may be tussling with Real, in the CL if Rafa has his way…… A little bit of hope mixed in with hard work and fairy dust should do it….. I just hope we have some fairy dust left over from when SBR and Keegan were here.
    In the real world though we may struggle to get some of our targets but for different reasons than previously used but we have a good enough squad to excel (depending on who is still here) even the likes of Rivière will score in the fizzy pop, he has proved he can score in poorer leagues and has the tools to be a no2 striker or in a 3

  • 10 bettyswallocks // May 31, 2016 at 8:08 PM

    Belfast…… I think you’ve ruffled his feathers now. He seems to have a lot of info on Spanish stuff I was just curious like.

  • 11 Jib // May 31, 2016 at 8:09 PM

    Belfast is right – that’s me in the blue shorts

  • 12 Jib // May 31, 2016 at 8:15 PM

    You can’t ruffle my feathers

  • 13 bettyswallocks // May 31, 2016 at 8:17 PM

    Jib…. I was being serious, I think I remember you saying you had a Spanish wife, so just wondered if you’d relocated.

  • 14 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 8:22 PM

    What Perez, and also Ronaldo recently had or have to say about Benitez is irrelevant. Some clubs just aren’t a good fit for managers, or are the right one at the wrong time. There aren’t many successful manager who haven’t failed (or won’t fail) somewhere at least once in their career.

    Not been on much or kept up to date with stuff this past week, been too busy. I think I remember pre season being in 5 weeks? I’d hope that many of our dealings are done by then so we can make the most of it. Pleased there is no glamour/money making promotional pre season tour this year. Whatever the reasoning, and I doubt it is purely Rafa, it is a good thing.

    As for Colo, thank you for the years, he has been very good for us at times, an absentee, and a victim of poor management and players around him at times. Still, a declining force, and his latest utterings make it even more incredible that a deal was signed last summer. I don’t begrudge anyone wanting to be with their family though, whether that person was at fault for the departure or not. Personally, I’d rather remember his great games and good season’s than his more recent performances.

    As for being quiet in the media, the club keep media interviews pretty tight, maybe Colo was quiet as he disagreed with certain things and wouldn’t agree to putting his name to stuff, unless it was a last ditch attempt to save a club he had grown fond of. No evidence on that, but another angle on something he is oft slated for.

    Anyway, time for him and others to move on. Sooner the better, so we know what we have for next year.

  • 15 Jail for Ashley // May 31, 2016 at 8:23 PM

    giimps,
    Sorry mate but Riverie is not a footballer, his goal scoring ratio to games is pants and just better than Sholas in a much poorer league, he might be a strong lad but he can’t hit a barn door and we don’t need someone like him in the team.

  • 16 bettyswallocks // May 31, 2016 at 8:23 PM

    BDM…… The stultifying impact of your vacuous vituperation is more piteous than execrable .

  • 17 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 8:26 PM

    Giimps, to be honest, I think we have a good enough squad to bounce back already, with the players we’ll bring in to replace those who leave. Rafa won’t bring in any no hopers, so whoever comes in will only strengthen us. A lot depends on who stays, but regardless, we’ve seen what Rafa can do in ten games, with the same players who couldn’t play together under macca. Under Rafa, anything is possible, even CL football in a couple of years. 😉

  • 18 welshgeordie9 // May 31, 2016 at 8:27 PM

    Can’t believe Townsend is not in the England, happens all the time, no wonder England don’t win it, what a load of geriatric bull crap.

  • 19 WWSBRD // May 31, 2016 at 8:29 PM

    Seems a lot of people are happy to keep our poor players because we went down, not for me that they still need to be gone and replaced

    Rivi, Gouffran, Colo, Saylor etc regardless of league aren’t good enough for NUFC so long good luck all that but really don’t let the door hit ya

  • 20 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 8:30 PM

    Bobby,
    How can you be certain Rafa won’t bring in no hopers? His record at Liverpool in the transfer market was pretty average, more flops than successes, and invariably anyone who cost less than £5million didn’t do to well there. This was from a Liverpool Echo journalist not long ago. Whilst some signings were tremendous, he made a lot of signings and some were thoroughly underwhelming.

  • 21 Jail for Ashley // May 31, 2016 at 8:31 PM

    WW…,
    Wouldn’t be sorry to see any of them lot leave.

  • 22 Jail for Ashley // May 31, 2016 at 8:35 PM

    Lilongwe,
    He’s probably analysed it a million times, talked with over three thousand scouts of twenty seven different nationalities to see where he went wrong and has now sussed it 😀

  • 23 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 8:35 PM

    Welsh,
    I can’t believe Joe Ledley is in the Wales squad. 3 weeks after breaking his leg, and he is back in training. Incredible. Puts some of our players to shame over the years.

  • 24 bettyswallocks // May 31, 2016 at 8:36 PM

    Welsh. Worry about your own team boyo.

  • 25 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 8:40 PM

    Jail,
    Let’s hope so. Still, nobody gets all their transfers right. So far we have been linked with (other than Agger and Arbeloa) players that we have been watching and linked with previously, with articles now saying Benitez wants them. I think Benitez will put a lot of faith in Newcastle’s past scouting dossiers as well as using his own knowledge.

  • 26 bettyswallocks // May 31, 2016 at 8:41 PM

    Welsh…….. Chi defaid ffwl cariadus. x

  • 27 WWSBRD // May 31, 2016 at 8:42 PM

    Jail
    Nor me mate I could name a few more too

    We won’t struggle to attract players imo so why keep the anchors around our necks? I’d rather older proven or younger potential (in the right positions) than keeping our current crap

  • 28 Belfast // May 31, 2016 at 8:42 PM

    95% of them wouldn’t be missed. Get rid of whoever we can and replace them with the top Championship players. McCormack would be a good addition for a start.

  • 29 WWSBRD // May 31, 2016 at 8:44 PM

    Rafa may well agree with our scouting reports difference is he will decide which one to go for rather than going for the cheapest option on the list

  • 30 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 8:45 PM

    Lil, by no hopers, i fully expect Rafa to replace those leaving with superior players. Is it really possible for Rafa to replace Gouffran, Rivierre Staylor etc with lesser players? He ‘s not looking for mega stars after all, just players better than them. Even you and i could do that surely? 😉

  • 31 WWSBRD // May 31, 2016 at 8:46 PM

    I’d look at Gayle from Palace

  • 32 Essex Geordie Bill // May 31, 2016 at 8:47 PM

    Depends on what the nature of the break is. Night be a hairline fracture or even a chipped bone rather than a complete break.

    I assume that Bale is fit after the Champions cup final was looking a bit dodgy for a while.

    Do we have any players in the Euro’s.

  • 33 Graeme // May 31, 2016 at 8:52 PM

    Bobby – probably 90% of fans could do that mate lol

  • 34 jimmysmith // May 31, 2016 at 8:52 PM

    Collo wanting away suggests he’d be happy to be released. And also with Taylor’s contract up, we would potentially have two places opening up to allow us more easily to upgrade in a position we’ve been understrength, which ordinarily would be good, but to be frank, the timing creates a problem because we now need to sign two premiership standard CB’s as a Championship side, and that won’t be easy.

    Collocini has been one of the best Cb’s I’ve seen at the club, along with Woodgate and Albert, albeit in a position we’ve often struggled in. Since the early Keegan days we’ve only had those three and Howey, Peacock, and Dabizas that really were good enough. Maybe now with Benitez we can sort the position out. Mbemba, Lascelles and Dummett are a decent start.

    He did have the occasional poor game, and probably wasn’t the right choice as Captain, but really Newcastle have had some bang ordinary players in his time here, and bang ordinary sides, and despite this still managed a number of memorable Rolls Royce displays along the way, and a couple of almost flawless seasons In there too.

  • 35 Blackley and Brownlie // May 31, 2016 at 8:57 PM

    I’d love to see our squad invigorated with at least half a dozen young, ambitious British players. I think we’ve got enough, slightly older, experienced heads to choose to keep.

  • 36 Blackley and Brownlie // May 31, 2016 at 9:00 PM

    I’d be looking for three biggest, most powerful, meanest defenders we can get. And two proven goalscorers.

  • 37 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 9:01 PM

    Bobby,
    I think Rivi and Gouffran would probably do okay in this division. Not that I want either to stay, I wasn’t happy with either signing in the first place! I’m sure Hull wanted Goofy last summer, but he said he’d rather fight for his place in the Prem…. Wonder how he feels on that decision now.

    Shame Hull went up as Robertson would have been high on my list of signings, as he was last summer and back in Jan (and before he joined Hull). He is ideal for us, no nonsense, but also very capable of getting forward.

    I’m looking forward to the first few bits of business, as that will give a good insight into how the club are operating moving forwards.

    WWSBRD,
    You are right of course, if Rafa is able to sign the players he wants from Carr’s lists though, does that make Carr a good scout again? I’d take McCormack, but sell on if we went up and I’d definitely take Hughes if Rafa is keen on him.

  • 38 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // May 31, 2016 at 9:01 PM

    @Blackley

    Yeah agree on that would love us to sign a couple of rapid all action British midfielders !

    Will Hughes from Derby would certainly fall into that category !

    Riviere , Gouffran , Obertan, Thauvin, Cabella , Marveux , Williamson , Taylor all need replaced as they have either already left or are not good enough

    Thats 8 players if they got replaced with a combination of young hungry British players , 2 senior players and maybe a Spanish wonderkid or 2 we would actually have a squad that Rafa could rotate properly for a change !!

  • 39 giimps // May 31, 2016 at 9:01 PM

    Luuk dejong was crap for us and he’s now banging them in, I think most players need a formation and group of players around them who want to be a team rather than a group of individuals in order to be at their best, history is littered with teams winning things with little or lesser known players but playing a formation and structure that suits them, Greece is an example, Leicester another. I think whoever stays to be part of this rafalutoon will be grateful and happy they did in a couple of seasons when we’re a team striving for success again rather than striving for mediocrity….. How does the saying go again…. If you reach for the stars you may hit the moon but if you just reach for the ceiling that’s as far as you will get….. Over to you Rafa

  • 40 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 9:02 PM

    Graeme, my point exactly marra. There’s no way on this planet that he will replace those players with anybody worse. He has far too much nous to do that. The difficulty may arise with replacing Sissoko and Gini, because despite some of their performances last season, they’re both good players somewhere inside. Clearly they weren’t happy under macca, but Rafa is different class. He proved they can play when they want to. This is where he’ll come into his own, because he can persuade good players to join him on his project, the way kk did back in the day.

  • 41 Blackley and Brownlie // May 31, 2016 at 9:03 PM

    I like to see England do well just as I urge on English clubs in European competitions. However, for me, England means next to nothing compared to NUFC. I’m much more a Geordie than an Englishman.

  • 42 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 9:05 PM

    Jimmy,
    I agree re Colo, I think he is harshly scapegoated. He is easily targeted for not speaking out, whilst people complain that the club vet all press and media. He put in some stellar performances (and some not so), and overall he has been the best defender at the club for the majority of his time here. For that we can look elsewhere to apportion blame.

    As for it not being the right time, I disagree on that. I think it is a good opportunity to cut ties with both him and Taylor. I’d like to see a talented youngster come in and an old experienced head who can lead and organise. The older experienced head doesn’t need to be good enough for the Prem, he just needs to be able to help this year, and assist in the younger 3’s development.

  • 43 WWSBRD // May 31, 2016 at 9:06 PM

    Bobby
    I never thought Carr was a bad scout mate, given too much power and promoted too high but he’s good at the job he was actually hired for

    Same as I think Charnley is probably bleeding good at getting coffee orders right and his ability to cut oranges is probably marvelous but running a football club is reaching too high

  • 44 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 9:07 PM

    Giimps,
    Most strikers bang them in in Holland. De Jong, Altidore, Alfonso Alves to name but three that have graced the North East. De Jong was little to do with formation, he just was low on confidence and not really good enough.

  • 45 WWSBRD // May 31, 2016 at 9:07 PM

    jimmy
    I don’t entirely agree with u on Colo but I think he will be remembered fairly well in 10 or so years time

    He had a couple of good seasons then dramatically dropped off imo becoming more often than not poor . Should of left years ago When his off field issues started affecting him and his want to play for NUFC dropped off

  • 46 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 9:09 PM

    Lil, to be honest, I don’t want to see what they can do in the Championship, because i’m banking on not being there more than one season. We need to be moving on anybody who hasn’t shown enough quality and building for the future. A future fighting for top six places cannot include the likes of Rivierre and Gouffran etc, so I see little point in retaining them for one season. Get rid now and look to the future.

  • 47 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 9:10 PM

    WWSBRD,
    I think that was at me? Charnley was the only one on the football board that should be on the board, just not wielding the control.

  • 48 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 9:12 PM

    B&B. Amen to that! 😉

  • 49 Mister Tuff // May 31, 2016 at 9:13 PM

    Lilo – previous post – I agree after the first couple of bits of business that the club do now/from now we should be able to get an idea if “they” really have changed for the better.
    It has to be a legitimate concern that all the hierarchy are still in place.

  • 50 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 9:14 PM

    Bobby,
    There are a load that need moving on, ability and attitude wise. I said this last summer, but you told me that it shouldn’t be done in one window!

    Goofy and Rivi need to go, I doubt there will be queues though, so will the club force the issue and pay them off? We were lucky Marveaux and Obertan were coming to the end of their contracts!

    I think Sissoko is easily replaced with a player who performs more consistently, and fits into a team better. I would keep Gini for now if he is willing to stay. Signing Redmond and Hughes would improve the midfield options, and I’d imagine only cost a few million more than a sale of Sissoko.

  • 51 Blackley and Brownlie // May 31, 2016 at 9:16 PM

    LCBP
    The players you list, who currently remain, are embarrassing deadwood.

    The biggest mystery to me is Marveaux. I used to like him a lot and he quite often got my vote for MOTM.

    Players like Chucky, Doumbia, Saivet, Bigi – what are they about?

    And the lads who went to Rangers?

    And what happened to Sammy and Fergie?

    And then you have Danny Simpson, Hatem Ben Arfa and Fraser Forster?

    Scouts and agents might explain a lot of it?

  • 52 Jail for Ashley // May 31, 2016 at 9:17 PM

    Jimmy,
    Occasional poor game, I’d confidently state that he has had more 3+ hidings than any other PL defender in the history of the game, any other defender who has conceded that many have either been relegated or sold. You can blame it on the poor management and being surrounded by poor players but he’s the captain and a constant in our shite defence. A player who completely exemplifies the Ashley reign, willing to accept dire mediocrity as long as the monew was coming in.

  • 53 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 9:17 PM

    Tuff,
    I said before a couple of weeks ago before Benitez was confirmed I expected Carr to stay on in a scouting role, with reduced high level influence. I’m okay with that, he can clearly spot a player still, and knowing a talented player isn’t something you lose just through age alone.

    I’d still like some experienced and well qualified people appointed to the board. That would show a greater change then appointing a manager and allowing him far more influence and power than he should really have.

  • 54 WWSBRD // May 31, 2016 at 9:20 PM

    Lil
    Sorry bud aye it was for u got the wrong name

    As for Charnley the position he holds should be on the board but he shouldn’t be in that position

  • 55 Blackley and Brownlie // May 31, 2016 at 9:21 PM

    Rafa needs to clean the Augean Stable. Old Mr Carr is up to his neck in it.

  • 56 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 9:21 PM

    Ignore the first before, it is late here, and I’ve had a couple of beers.

  • 57 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 9:24 PM

    Lil, and i stick by that too! 😉 Had we blown all the money in one window, we would now have nothing left to spend. I think the reason we don’t have to sell to buy is simply because the 150m that was available when macca took over, 70m is still there. Or the best part of. Ashley had no intention of giving a penny more to the board, having spent 80m and been relegated, but he clearly trusts Rafa with the money – hence no reason to sell. I’ve been a fan of Redmond for a long time and Hughes suits me down to the ground. Dunk is another with a big future and i’d take him too.

  • 58 jimmysmith // May 31, 2016 at 9:24 PM

    Yeah, you’d like to believe Benitez will be able to spot and attract the right players, but doing it from the Championship will inevitably reduce the options. We’ll see, but he’s not been flawless in his transfer business over the years. I’d be happier to have one CB coming off contract, and the other coming off this time next year having secured promotion. One of them might even stay on with that in mind.

  • 59 Blackley and Brownlie // May 31, 2016 at 9:26 PM

    Jail
    I couldn’t stand it if we kept Colo another season. I felt the same last season. I knew it was a mistake.

    Time for change is long overdue. We need a new freshness. Out with the old, in with the new. Bring it on.

  • 60 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 9:28 PM

    Blackley,
    Carr has certainly played his part in our demise,but I don’t see an issue with him being retained as a scout and Rafa and his team have final say. He was over promoted, as most knew when he was put on the board, and had too much influence. Some shocking signings, but he also recommended some gems who weren’t pursued due to cost and/or age. Club policy and all that. He also missed some gems, but you could say that about any scout.

    Riviere is probably the signing of his I’d question the most. A few on here who followed French football thought he would be a good signing, but I read a number of scouting reports on him when he joined to see if my initial opinion matched theirs, and there were virtually no positives.

    I’m more worried about Beardsley, Watson and Richardson retaining their positions of influence within the youth and development set up than I am retaining a scout who no longer has a vital or deciding vote on the signing of a player.

  • 61 Jail for Ashley // May 31, 2016 at 9:29 PM

    So when did he decide he had no intention of giving anymore money to the board because we’d been relegated ?

  • 62 Blackley and Brownlie // May 31, 2016 at 9:31 PM

    £80m was a massive amount. It was largely wasted. I cannot see there being much, if any, left. Pure guess (self indulgence) but £10m perhaps in the kitty. I’d guess Ashley has said Rafa can reinvest any money he gets in from sales.

  • 63 jimmysmith // May 31, 2016 at 9:31 PM

    I’m not suggesting for a second we don’t need to move on from Colo, Taylor, Cisse, Gouffran and Rivierre, but I think doing it over two windows is probably our best bet.

  • 64 Jail for Ashley // May 31, 2016 at 9:33 PM

    Lilongwe,
    I’ve no problem at all with Carr sticking to being a scout but I’m also very surprised that the youth set up has remained, maybe it has but they’re going to slowly introduce the change as a face saving exercise or, who knows?

  • 65 Jail for Ashley // May 31, 2016 at 9:34 PM

    I wonder why Ashley made those bizarre statements about there being no money left?

  • 66 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 9:34 PM

    Bobby,
    But you are advocating a clear out now of similar proportions. Difficult to say if we would be more or less optimistic if greater change last season had seen us 8th to 10th in the Prem with Macca staying.

    Still, water under the bridge, and I hope the clear out does happen this summer. Dunk would be good, would he leave Brighton for us at this stage? Possibly with Rafa, but I’d also think he would be quite happy staying put and going again with Hughton.

    I’d like Trippier in, solid fullback who can cross, and isn’t afraid of a scrap. Knows the division and has limited opportunities at Spurs behind Walker.

    Hughes, Dunk, Redmond, Trippier all relatively young with bags of experience at this level and talent to step up.

  • 67 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 9:36 PM

    When he said ‘the cupboard is bare’ maybe? It wasn’t and it isn’t. He said, ‘I gave them the money and told them to get on with it.’ They did and messed it up. Or is it purely coincidence the money is suddenly there? It’s always been there, but why give it to proven failures?

  • 68 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 9:37 PM

    Jail,
    Yeah, maybe it will change in the coming weeks, you have to hope so. It has been a poor couple of years at every level. It would be strange not to change things, but then this club is never straightforward.

    Bobby,
    I also wouldn’t mind trying to get Loftus Cheek on loan. I think Conte will spend big, and Loftus Cheek could find opportunities limited. A successful year with us and Rafa could persuade him to make the jump longer term.

  • 69 Back Door Man // May 31, 2016 at 9:39 PM

    A completely unprovoked attack by bettybollocks @ 16 above.

  • 70 Back Door Man // May 31, 2016 at 9:41 PM

    C/carl,

    When you posted this morning lamenting Jib’s treatment and my alleged attempt to drive him off the blog, you couldn’t be more wrong.

    Sure, the soaring principles behind the blog’s existance should, of course, be respected and cherished.  The gathering together, for the benefit of the Toon diaspora, a useful central resource is a wonderful thing and by providing unfettered access we have much to thank The Man for.

    For years I was just an observer here until I decided to lose my virginity by posting a benign query at the beginning of last season.  Almost immediately Jib posted a reply which was insulting and mean spirited.  I asked him why he’d been so unreasonable and recieved no reply;  three further polite posts from me followed – all were ignored!  It wasn’t some sort of convoluted Freedom of Informatiom request I’d made, just a simple question!

    So, perhaps my early experience here has influenced my subsequent contributions … I’m a tad loathe to use the expression “but he started it”, but that’s what happened. I’ve attempted to ‘make peace’ a few times only to wake-up and find tanks on my lawn.  I too think much of Jib’s stuff is interesting and valuable to us and have said so, but, hey, what can you do if you discover that you’re extended hand of friendship gets shat on, so his trial by ordeal began.

    Of course, social media can be a vile place to lurk with many ready to pounce just like that knob bettybollocks @ 16 above;  some here don’t like my use of an extended code and have attacked me for its deployment. What a silly fool Yo-yo is for today  suggesting, and I quote: 

    “We have a brand new WUM on the site the last week or so, doing his utmost to slag out almost every other regular poster but using an arcane approach to language to sort of make it pseudo intllectual and therefore funny.”

    But we’re all big enough to thrive here so those who ‘dish it out’ should be able to ‘take it’ … I said before that I’ll take a spanking when appropriate.

    Perhaps others on the blog might consider presenting Carl with tales of their own dealings with Jib.

  • 71 JAMSHA // May 31, 2016 at 9:41 PM

    zidane has done nothing ,its the madrid squad thats done the job even without a manager they would win trophies

  • 72 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 9:42 PM

    Bobby,
    Have we been told the money is there? All I’ve seen is we don’t have to sell, that could just mean we don’t have to sell if we aren’t buying anyone.

    There may well (and should) be money available, to what tune it is difficult to say as they will look to financial prudence to cover the loss of revenues this coming season. Hopefully we see the bigger picture now, and if there is a requirement for a player, we spend the necessary and speculate to a certain degree to help ensure success and the future Premier league cash cow.

  • 73 Blackley and Brownlie // May 31, 2016 at 9:42 PM

    Lil
    Here’s the thing for me with Carr. Some of his signings have been inexplicable and some might say too many of them are so bad, they appear corrupt.

    And this idea that Carr’s first and second choices were ignored. I don’t buy it. I don’t see any evidence for it.

    But even if it were true, it doesn’t mean his third and fourth choices should be rank bad.

    Yes, he was given a brief of getting younger players with sell on value but that’s still a very wide brief. Besides, as head of recruitment, could he not have persuaded Charnley and Ashley to trust him on the likes of Payet? “Mike, I know the brief but sometimes you’ve got to make an exception. This kid is gold. We’ve got to get this lad. I’m begging you. Trust me on this one.”

  • 74 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 9:45 PM

    B&B, where does 10m come from? Rafa got assurances that money is available. Would he settle for 10m? Could he bring in what he needed with just 10m, having been told he doesn’t have to sell? I know it breaks some people’s hearts to give Ashley any credit, but he’s took stick for all his failures – and rightly too – but getting Rafa in, with all his demands met, deserves credit. It might not make up for past failures, but it’s a giant step in the right direction. Rafa’s here because Ashley is backing him.

  • 75 jimmysmith // May 31, 2016 at 9:45 PM

    Yep, “Hughes, Dunk and Redmond”, would be fantastic. If Trippier were a left back I’d love to have him on board too. I do like Janmaat, but I’m well aware he has his detractors.

  • 76 Blackley and Brownlie // May 31, 2016 at 9:47 PM

    BDM
    Jib dishes it. Jib takes it.

  • 77 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // May 31, 2016 at 9:48 PM

    Hughes
    Dunk
    Redmond
    Cheek
    Trippier
    Mccormack
    Agger

    Replacing the deadwood that was mentioned earlier on in the post would give us a much better squad to play with!!

  • 78 Blackley and Brownlie // May 31, 2016 at 9:48 PM

    Like you say, he often runs away and won’t respond. But that’s one of the ways he takes it.

  • 79 Jail for Ashley // May 31, 2016 at 9:48 PM

    But Rafa was here when he said it, in fact he’d just signed and there was general optimism that we’d stay up.
    Lilongwe,
    Did you know Trippier was at Spurs now?

  • 80 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 9:51 PM

    Blackley,
    Which signings are so bad they are inexplicable? Rivi, without question. Cabella, not sure rank bad is the word, unsuited to our style of play and the then managers tactics yes. Thauvin was odd, a player who shined when he first broke through at Grenoble and Bastia, but it did seem like Carr hadn’t watched him during the interim years. He wasn’t given much of a chance here though, but you could argue he didn’t do enough to deserve one. Outside of those three I’m not sure I can think of any others.

    There have been solid links with other players, Payet being one where one sumer he was too expensive, the next he was too old. Madness really, and the fault of policy and blueprint.

    I agree, young players with sell on is a wide brief, but young players also come with more potential for it to not work out. I’m in no way excusing him, but I reckon a top scout probably gets it right less than half the time, but aren’t in a position where they are involved in the final decision. This means that many of the scouts recommendations won’t happen because others rightly disagree. Carr had no challenge to his authority, and therefore we see lots of poor signings amongst the good ones.

    Like I said, he has had some poor buys, but hopefully with Rafa taking into account a wider range of views, those poor ones are filtered out, leaving the good signings.

  • 81 Jail for Ashley // May 31, 2016 at 9:51 PM

    Blackas,
    Could the manager, Moncur or Beardsley not also have chipped in with persuasion, by the looks of it a rigid policy was set and there was no going good off the track.

  • 82 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 9:52 PM

    Lil, we have been told the money is there, because that was one of Rafa’s demands. He himself said we have money to spend and don’t have to sell anybody I don’t want to. That requires money, for wages and signings. Again, would Rafa have signed to a CHAMPIONSHIP club, unless the money was there for his project? When he could have chosen a PL team or a team in the higher leagues abroad. Although none of us were there, so we don’t know exactly what was said, just reading between the lines tells its own story.

  • 83 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 9:55 PM

    Jail,
    Yup, hence me saying behind Walker. He is the back up right back there. Whilst I’m sure he is looking forward to the Champions League, I also think he would jump at a chance for regular football. Spurs activated his £3.5 million release clause last summer when Burnley went down. We missed a trick there.

    Jimmy,
    I doubt Janmaat will stay, and I think Trippier will be better suited to this division and offer better defensive solidity. Incredible work rate as well, and I think when at Burnley he supplied more crosses than any other full back that season in the Prem.

  • 84 Jail for Ashley // May 31, 2016 at 9:57 PM

    I was just wondering what the thought process was behind Ashley saying that publicly after Rafa had arrived and when he had decided he wasn’t going to give the board more money as they had us relegated. He said we were skint when we very much weren’t relegated.

  • 85 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 9:57 PM

    Bobby,
    We don’t know what Rafa’s demands were. We don’t know how much Rafa feels he needs for promotion. Maybe the carrot is promotion on a limited budget this year, then the keys to the bank once promotion is assured to make us a top Prem side.

    There may well be money to spend, and I’m sure there will be some, but I do think it will be a much more restrictive budget than the remaining £70million.

  • 86 Blackley and Brownlie // May 31, 2016 at 9:58 PM

    Bobby
    £10 was just a pure guess, as I said. A figure plucked out the air based on looking inside through thick frosted glass over a considerable period of time and trying to interpret the shadowy movements. Pure self indulgence on my part in the absence of the latest club figures at my fingertips.

    Ashley advised Charnley not to come begging him for more money. This implies the pot’s near enough empty and he’s not putting his hand in his pocket. That’s no surprise as he doesn’t put in lumps of capital from time to time. Why was he saying this if there was still plenty left? Would you expect there to be much left after being one of the top spenders in world football last season?

    I think Ashley’s intimated that any money raised could be reinvested. I’d be surprised if Rafa didn’t ensure this as it is only a reasonable request.

  • 87 Jail for Ashley // May 31, 2016 at 10:00 PM

    Lilongwe,
    You know how we were linked with Alli, Dier and Trippier quite heavily, do you think all clubs do just we don’t read about it.

  • 88 Back Door Man // May 31, 2016 at 10:02 PM

    Bettybollocks, with a face like an unemptied scrotum and no two of his rotting teeth seemingly pointing in the same direction, continues to demonstrate his slow, and at times regressive, linguistic incompetence when attacking BDM.

    Betty’s disgraced husk hollowed-out by months of regurgitating bile perhaps can’t suck the true meaning from BDM’s prose, it leaves him frustrated and thrashing around in dispair.  Perhaps, BDM should post in language Betty’ll grasp … shut up you thick fool. 

    Is that any better Betty?

  • 89 bettyswallocks // May 31, 2016 at 10:03 PM

    BDM………..Take it then and stop whining man. If it’s just banter as you have proclaimed then there’s no problem. I actually enjoy your posts as they bring something different. There are concerns on here that you are one of the multiples of someone with lots of previous hence the caution and suspicion. It does appear that you are genuine and have passed your initiation and hopefully you’ll be accepted by most others fairly soon. Nothing personal intended from me. Happy blogging.

  • 90 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 10:04 PM

    Jail,
    Difficult to even contemplate what goes through Ashley’s mind. I doubt we are skint, that may have been a statement borne out of frustration at the situation he found the club in after allowing the club to spend the money it had amassed over the past few years.

    We made a profit last years, and the previous few. I imagine there is some left. Still, there were lots of rumours of an overdraft facility being used, which would suggest that we aren’t flush with cash.

    Bobby,
    Firstly, we have been rumoured to look at an overdraft (as I mentioned just above to Jail).

    Secondly, Rafa and the club have to say players don’t have to be sold unless the club want to let them go. Otherwise they would find offers coming in at a lower value to test the waters and unsettle players. It is probably true in part, but it is also a ploy to ensure reasonable fees for player sales, I’d suggest.

  • 91 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 10:04 PM

    Jesus wept. Yes, Rafa was there, but only for ten games. The cupboard was bare remark came when questioned whether they – the board – would be given any more money. He rightly said no, when they’d blown 80 odd million and stuck us in a relegation scrap. The money was there, just they wouldn’t be getting their hands on it. Having listened to Rafa’s ideas, the money is now available. Ashley has made many stupid mistakes, thanks to shit advise, but we’re where we are now because he’s backing Rafa, having rightly decided he knows what he’s talking about. Ashley deserved everything he got, but for once, he’s finally got it right. Or is Rafa now involved in some bizarre conspiracy, like everyone else has been, in order to frustrate the Geordie nation? I’m not forgiving his past mistakes, but then I’m not obsessed with the man. This time he’s done good. Credit where it’s due.

  • 92 bettyswallocks // May 31, 2016 at 10:05 PM

    BDM ……. I posted before I read that but no problem, give and take is fine by me. I actually think it was funny.

  • 93 Blackley and Brownlie // May 31, 2016 at 10:07 PM

    Bobby
    NUFC cut their cloth accordingly last time and came back up.

    Ashley will say NUFC has invested almost £100m into an EPL squad. He might have said to Rafa that he has no need to cut the wage bill this time. He might be expecting him to buy and sell and compete in the championship with an EPL squad and whatever little is left in the kitty. Fair deal, I’d say. What you’re saying he’s said doesn’t contradict this.

  • 94 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 10:09 PM

    Jail,
    There was an interview with the MK Dons chairman a few years back where he all but confirmed we were watching him and had enquired about his availability. I think that is fair cop, but we just weren’t willing to cough up the £5million.

    I’m not sure we ever went for Dier, I wrote about him a few times suggesting he was ideal a couple of years before he moved to Spurs. Everton were heavily linked at one stage, but Dier allegedly decided his progress and development were better served staying at Sporting for a few more years – he was probably right on that. I never heard anything even close to concrete on us being interested though, he was just a player I was keen on.

    Trippier was probably on our radar, but I guess overlooked due to us bringing in Mbemba who could cover right back, and also already having Janmaat as first choice. I doubt we ever made a serious offer, but probably scouted him in case Janmaat was poached given the rumours of Van Gaal being interested in Janmaat for Man U.

  • 95 bettyswallocks // May 31, 2016 at 10:13 PM

    BDM………. I have been watching the re-runs of the “Good old Days” I don’t know if you’re from that era but you could be a good stand in for Leonard Sachs.

  • 96 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 10:14 PM

    Lil, no other club has done that though. They’ve all had fire sales. Rafa’s not dim, he knows how it works. We’ve got enough money to live through one season without a fire sale. That alone is remarkable, considering what we’ve missed out on. Rafa wouldn’t have come aboard if the money wasn’t there. He said he needed those assurances and he got them written in blood. This is a great chance we’re incredibly lucky to get. I understand why people are looking for bananna skins, I just think this time, there are none. I’m just going to enjoy the moment and not drag myself down looking for disasters that aren’t there. Rafa made it perfectly clear what had to happen before he signed. He’s said those demands have been met. That’s good enough for me. Unless, like i said earlier, Rafa is another ensnared in Ashley’s devious plan to ruin us. Just enjoy the moment, whilst it lasts. 😉

  • 97 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 10:14 PM

    Jail,
    As for rumours for all clubs, yeah, I think all clubs get linked with players that they have limited interest in but we just don’t see them/aren’t as interested o they don’t stick in memory. Still, in a lot of cases it will be due to a known scout being at a game, or passing comment on a player which is either overheard or relayed to someone who then makes a story of it. There will be an element of truth in many of the rumours, but hugely exaggerated to make a story.

  • 98 Blackley and Brownlie // May 31, 2016 at 10:15 PM

    Bobby
    You say the money was there just the Board wouldn’t be getting their hands on it. Where does this come from? Ashley stepped away and left the Board to manage the club without him. The Board squandered the money.

    Seeing the pot was bare, Ashley said something along the lines of “well don’t look at me. You’re in charge of the money. If you’ve spent, tough luck.”

    When has Ashley put in large amounts of capital from his own pocket or changed his view that the club should be self financing? When has he said to Rafa, I’m going to put my own money in and I will back you to spend it wisely and get us up? I’ve not read anything like that.

  • 99 Blackley and Brownlie // May 31, 2016 at 10:19 PM

    Bobby
    No one’s saying Ashley has laid a banana skin. Just that there’s no evidence that he’s backing Rafa with his own money as you seem to be suggesting. I’m saying the evidence was there that the cupboard was bare.

  • 100 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 10:20 PM

    Bobby,
    Rafa will have got assurances, and Ashley will have agreed to what was wanted or Rafa wouldn’t be here, on that we are fully agreed.

    My above theory was just me thinking out loud (if that’s the right phrase when typing). I think Rafa would back himself to get this squad +/- one or two without requesting big money this summer. I think most people would agree with that, as we see on here, in every bookie and with most pundits. In which case, would he view it more beneficial to ensure he was guaranteed major funds on promotion, when he can really bring in the top players, rather than shelling out big bucks for players who aren’t of the level required to put this club where it belongs.

    I only really thought about that in my first post, but the more I think on it, the more that seems a far more sensible option than having huge funds available this summer.

    No evidence for it, just a different view point on what his demands may have been.

  • 101 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 10:28 PM

    Just because he doesn’t have to sell however, doesn’t mean he won’t. If a player like Sissoko wants away that badly, then i doubt Rafa would force him to stay. Likewise any who think they’re too good for the Championship – despite evidence pointing to the fact they got us there in the first place. This is Rafa remember. He can persuade players to join him, if he sells them his plan. Newcastle under Rafa is a great selling point. Great club, best fans in the worldand a man with a plan. We might be surprised by who he brings in.

  • 102 Blackley and Brownlie // May 31, 2016 at 10:32 PM

    I think Rafa will sell to buy.

  • 103 Jail for Ashley // May 31, 2016 at 10:32 PM

    Bobby,
    I never said there was any conspiracy with Rafa and I understand fully that he has had assurances but you said that Ashley had no intentions of giving the board money after they’d relegated us. I can only assume that’s because he’d decided to give it to Rafa instead then but by the time Rafa was here the board as we know it did not exist.

  • 104 Yo-yo // May 31, 2016 at 10:34 PM

    BDM
    Well I’m surprised you identified so easily with my description of the WUM.
    From subsequent posts I can see you really are a classic squirmer just like JIB, dishing it out for no obvious reason other than self aggrandisement, claiming you can take it but really it is just hubris, just like JIB. Both Janus faced.
    Stick to footy and you’ll get disagreement on your opinions yes, but little personal criticism from most other bloggers, including me.

  • 105 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 10:38 PM

    Lil, i totally agree we could bounce straight back with what we have now. Our position was a joke and down to bad management. Rafa has signed for three years, so his plan will cover those years, not just next season. He might choose not to buy, unless he has to sell because of players’ demands. If Rafa says we don’t have to sell, then that’s good enough for me. If he chooses to go with what we’ve already got, then that’s fine too, because we have enough to bounce back. I’m more than happy to trust Rafa to do whatever he feels is right, then let him loose when we’re back in the PL. It basically boils down to trust, because we have zero say in how it works out. I trust Rafa to do whatever he feels is right to make us great. He says he has the funds to succeed and that, my old mucker, suits me down to the ground. 😉

  • 106 Yo-yo // May 31, 2016 at 10:40 PM

    Bobby @101
    Pretty much spot on there.
    As you say, I’m sure he’ll sell the want-aways and anybody else with what he might see as a commitment issue.
    Again he has such a good name, he can attract players who Tufty might have had problems recruiting. I hope we’re surprised.

    First and foremost, I’d like a leader on the pitch, and then more tightening up of our defence by recruiting quality across the back 4 . Some of the current guys are promising but they’d benefit from a real titan at CB, help them develop too.

  • 107 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 10:47 PM

    Jail, you’re nitpicking as usual. When Rafa joined, the board was still in place. He joined to try and save us – nothing more. Times have changed. He now has full control of all footballing matters, which is completely different from when he arrived. His demands came when he wanted assurances he would be allowed to do it his way. He’s got those. He came into this with both eyes wide open and said ‘if i stay, this is what i want.’ Until that point, the board still held sway. It was even left to Charnley to do most of the negotiations, which kinda shows the board was still in place. Now it isn’t. Just trust Rafa to deliver on his promises without looking for bogeymen that simply aren’t there. The future is brighter than it ever has been imo, so lets just enjoy the moment. No doubt if it goes wrong, enough people will be quick to attack him, but for now, let’s just see how it goes eh?

  • 108 Lilongwe Geordie // May 31, 2016 at 10:55 PM

    Bobby,
    I think most, if not all are optimistic for next season, and are excited to have Rafa on board and signed up. I don’t thick a huge net spend is required this summer, but I doubt there is a huge pot available either if Rafa did want to. Just because I doubt that funds are guaranteed this summer doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying it.

    We don’t know and won’t know (unless Rafa has a major splurge) whether we did or didn’t, neither can be said to be right based on what is said in public, or what the assumed assurances were. It is a fair point for debate, if not really all that important in the grand scheme of things.

    I am still more interested to see the changes to the board and back room that should occur than debating finances. I’d expect quick movement on this over the next week or two so people are settled ready for pre season. The board structure will be particularly interesting, if Carr is demoted to little more than a scout then that leaves just Charnley and Moncur on the board. Rafa shouldn’t (and hopefully won’t) be part of it. But it needs greater expertise and knowledge to oversee the running of the club.

  • 109 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 10:55 PM

    Yo yo, maybe a season in the Championship might be all that is needed to bring Lascelles and Mbemba up to scratch? Lascelles has all the makings of a captain and being in a successful team will give him loads of confidence to push on. I think we need to see who Rafa has in mind, before wondering who might lead us. Up to now all we’ve heard is paper talk and rumours. Nothing from the man himself. Like i say, we might be gobsmacked who he’s capable of recruiting with his plan for the future. This is no longer a case of Newcastle with average managers, this is now Newcastle, along with 50k Geordies and a great, great manager. The sky literally could be the limit.

  • 110 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 11:03 PM

    Lil, i don’t see the board having much say, other than the general running of the club. Their say on players has been removed by giving carte blanch control to Rafa. Everything is open for debate, which is what we’re doing now. My opinions are just that – opinions. I might be totally wrong, but obviously i don’t think so or why express said opinions. 😉 It’s all just talk when all’s said and done, none of us has the ear of Rafa. I think we do need a board though, because carte blanch can still go belky up. Checks and balances have a lot in their favour, but if you have to give carte blanch to anybody, Rafa ain’t a bad shot! 😉

  • 111 Jail for Ashley // May 31, 2016 at 11:05 PM

    Bobby.
    I’m not nitpicking, I asked a couple of questions in response to a statement you made. You don’t have to get irate when you explain yourself, how do you know Ashley had no intentions of giving them more money we hadn’t been relegated, when could he have given it, Rafa had already agreed to sign for three years and assurances had been given then so when did he decide he had no intentions of giving them money. It’s a moot point because the board as we know it wasn’t in place when Rafa came as Mclaren had been sacked and a new structure in place after we’d been relegated.

  • 112 Bobbybee // May 31, 2016 at 11:16 PM

    Jail, i’ve gone over everything already. I have no intention of repeating myself because you struggle to comprehend. Everything you mention, i have already addressed more than once. Don’t agree? Thank god for that. Haven’t you had enough for one day? I can see where this is heading and .i’m out of here. This was so good for so long, but i suppose it was inevitable. I’ve got the new Graham Hancock book that has suddenly become irresistible. Thanks to all for a great evenings entertainment and hopefully we’ll catch up again. Laters.

  • 113 Jail for Ashley // May 31, 2016 at 11:20 PM

    Ok Bobby I mustn’t be able to understand you, leave it at that.

  • 114 jimmysmith // May 31, 2016 at 11:25 PM

    Timing of course will be key in getting the best deals, and deals are hard to get over the line at the best of times, and that’s almost impossible to fully control.

    Can we shift an on contract player on high wages we no longer ideally want? Who’s available if we can? Will they be willing to come, particularly if we are in the Championship? Can we agree terms if they are?

    The best timing for us is to be replacing players coming off contract just as we are going back up. Without a doubt though, Newcastle, under Rafa, is a great club to be joining, but the pool of realistically capable and eligible players now, will be less than this time next year, if we do indeed go back up, which we are quite rightly very short odds to do.

    Either way we go we are quite well placed. You could do as little as let one of Colo or Taylor go, move Dummett across as an understudy, and buy a decent left back, and if other deals fall into place then that’s a bonus.

  • 115 Back Door Man // Jun 1, 2016 at 12:53 AM

    The Betty/BDM Peace Treaty was signed late last night. Hostilities are now at an end.

  • 116 Mister Tuff // Jun 1, 2016 at 2:01 AM

    Ref the money. Early in the season I was under thye impression (cannot remember where from) that there was going to be £150 million to spend over 3 windows – as £80 million has been spent that left £70 million. Tried to recall where I read this but cannot remember.
    Cannot see Benitez wanting to gamble on our prospects next season so I’m convinced he’ll be getting at least 4 players in of a decent standard so no mistakes will be made.
    I think a couple will want away -Sissoko and maybe Janmaat for starters – think Colo will be binned.

  • 117 beefman13 // Jun 1, 2016 at 2:02 AM

    “Colo”, surely the only way to get rid is to pay the fella off, he aint going back to san lorenzo for 4k a week for sure is he, that said Rafa likes his South American defenders, how did Colo get that extra season out of us, ah yes Mr Charnley, 50/60k a week completely mind boggling, i wonder if Mike, Lee, and Fabricio are in a threeway!!!!!

  • 118 jimmysmith // Jun 1, 2016 at 2:51 AM

    It’s disappointing for Andros Townsend of course, but that England squad does look quite good to me. It’s a young group, with genuine talent, particularly going forward, and with two or three ways of setting up.

    England have consistently come up short against quality opposition, so expectations are sensibly un check, but I think on balance this group of players, under Hodgson, is more capable than meets the eye.

  • 119 Jib // Jun 1, 2016 at 7:48 AM

    The chronic say Rafa has yet to finalise his coaching staff

    http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/rafa-benitez-still-working-newcastle-11408664

    I find that hard to believe.
    I hope the club are not persisting with keeping the local press out of the loop !

  • 120 Jib // Jun 1, 2016 at 7:52 AM

    Whoops !
    I’d forgotten that !
    Mitro misses the first 4 games of the season after getting sent off against Spurs
    🙁

  • 121 Jib // Jun 1, 2016 at 8:08 AM

    Davide Santon’s agent Claudio Vigarelli is making noises about him leaving Inter.
    I wonder if his lass is trying to get him back to the North East ?

    http://www.inter-news.it/calciomercato/santon-via-dallinter-lagente-ha-dei-dubbi-si/

  • 122 expatmag // Jun 1, 2016 at 8:45 AM

    BobbyB

    Going back to your post at 58 regarding the 70 million quid available this summer.

    This might have been the case if we were still in the premier league but with reduced income, even accounting for the parachute payment, I would imagine a large proportion of that money will be offset against salaries.

    As for the likes of signing Hughes, Dunk and Redmond, I would be gobsmacked if PL clubs, even at bottom half level, were not more of an attraction to them than us at present.




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