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!!

Benitez Details Improvements To Training Ground

7:46 pm, Thursday, June 9th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 67 Comments

The Chronicle has conducted a very informative and long interview with manager Rafa Benitez, as they ask various questions about the status of things in different areas.

We are now in the second division but of course in the big overall plan of things it’s for one season only and we simply must be promoted next May.

The club financially can easily afford to stay down one season down below but not two.

Rafa has been asked about changes being made to the training grounds at Benton, as this was one big area he identified when he first arrived in March as needing improvements made.

rafa benitez closeup

Rafa Benitez – overseeing changes at Benton

Here is the Question and Answer as provided by the Chronicle:


What plans do you have to improve the training ground, as well as the Academy, at the club? And how are those plans developing? What’s the timeframe for those?

Rafa Benitez Answer:

“We have already started on a lot of improvements to the training ground.”

“The purpose with everything we are doing there is to improve the environment that the players train in and the equipment and the facilities that they use so they are able to perform to their optimum level.”

“We had to consider not to disturb the preparation of the team and at the same time to improve the facilities.” “So, we are renovating the inside structure of the building, creating new spaces for working and for relaxing.”

“We will have double sessions on some days, so it is important that the players have spaces to relax and refresh and also to build the team spirit together.”

“We have already improved the gym, bringing in new and better equipment which will be a big improvement.”

“We will also be resurfacing the artificial pitch inside the indoor facility. It will be a 4G surface which is much better for the players to train on, there is less impact on the body and less problems with injuries.”

“If our supporters play in their five-a-side teams perhaps, then they will know themselves the difference between a poor quality artificial pitch and a 4G pitch.”

“The indoor hall is a very good facility and we need to make sure that it has a top quality surface so that we can make use of it for training throughout the year, but especially when the weather is bad outside in the winter. That’s really important.”

“We are also putting a 4G pitch in at the Academy.”

“Another important change we are making is to bring in an administrator to work with the players and their families.”

“This will be someone who speaks English, French, Spanish, to help players settle at the club and in the city and be sure that they are able to focus 100%  on the football.”

We knew Rafa doesn’t mess around and those are some excellent improvements being made and quickly too.

Wonder what the status is of the new world-class facilities we were promised back in November of 2013 when Joe Kinnear was the Director of Football?

We assume these are immediate improvements for next season and the general plan is still to improve the facilities completely at some point in the future.

The plans laid out included a swimming pool in the complex.

Maybe the old surface on the indoor training facility could have been responsible for some of the injuries Newcastle players keep picking  up in training?

It’s good to hear about all of these improvements because it does seem there are lots and lots of things going on at the club and the fans need to be kept updated.

It all sounds very good to us.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Coaching · Newcastle News · Other News · Training Ground

67 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Jun 9, 2016 at 7:46 PM


    Yeah I long for the days when we used to debate about teams , formations and signings all the time rather than this boring crap about real fans or multiple accounts etc BORING !!!

    Some proper football talk from Rafa finally!!

  • 2 WWSBRD // Jun 9, 2016 at 7:53 PM

    No doubt in my mind the training ground plays a big part in our injuries, as does our physio room (which last I heard had space for 2 players)

  • 3 BandB // Jun 9, 2016 at 7:55 PM


    With reference no signings yet.
    It’s only June. All of the rumours in June are rubbish because absolutely everyone is on holiday.
    And there’s a championship on.
    Three sizeable lumps of driftwood floated out of town already.
    It’s almost like a new signing!

  • 4 BandB // Jun 9, 2016 at 7:58 PM

    But Lee,

    We have been a bit starved of normal football craic to talk about. We haven’t even had a goal of the month to debate sometimes.
    I sense the official website is already quite a bit more forthcoming than its been.

  • 5 BandB // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:04 PM

    One on top of the other, Yo.

  • 6 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:04 PM


    Yeah I know its the euros but then how many top level international teams will have players that want to play for us in the championship?!?Pretty sure they will have offers from higher level teams

    Would prefer us to be looking at getting some of the best young British talent that are excelling in the championship or available from the likes of Man Utd , Chelsea etc although knowing Benitez we probably will be as he does have a clue what to do for a change!!

    I also like how Benitez will turn the club into being a bit more open and involved with the community as well as improving the facilities I still cant believe we dont have 4G pitches already !! No wonder we have so many injuries !!

  • 7 BandB // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:09 PM

    C’mon lads. Read this statement from Rafa and comment.

    Its the most refreshing thing we’ve heard in AGES.

    Professional attention to detail to combat a long-standing problem that has eluded the brains that have gone before him.

    This is GOOD news. And we are so starved we have forgotten how to eat.

    “Life is very short, and there’s no time, for fussing and fighting my friend.”

  • 8 AncientC // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:12 PM

    “Another important change we are making is to bring in an administrator to work with the players and their families.”

    “This will be someone who speaks English, French, Spanish, to help players settle at the club and in the city and be sure that they are able to focus 100% on the football.”

    Sounds very Alex Ferguson-eqsue, reading between the lines. It may not just be journalists that players have to look out for; oot on the tap.

  • 9 BandB // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:13 PM

    I’ve never had much interest in cheerleading for mediocrity.
    But I’ll scream my knickers off for the first flowers of Spring.

  • 10 ShirebrookToon // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:16 PM

    It’s about time the training facilities where upgraded. Will be interesting to see if that solves the problems regarding the number of injuries. Nice touch with hosting football tournaments for the locals schools 🙂

  • 11 BandB // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:17 PM

    Very true Ancient.

    Remember Carver saying “I can’r be expected to know everything they get up to” when his players were snapped leaving a London awards ceremony at two in the morning a training day.

  • 12 AndyMac // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:20 PM

    “This will be someone who speaks English, French, Spanish, to help players settle at the club and in the city and be sure that they are able to focus 100% on the football.”

    So wtf have we done up till now ?

  • 13 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:21 PM

    If we could actually sort out players no longer getting injured we have some canny young players for the championship for squad depth

    Aarons , Ameobi ,Good,and Haidara all left footed with quality would be great if they could play for more than 20 games in a season each !!

  • 14 dok - the horrid colonial // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:23 PM

    as long as I breathe, I hope…

    and for the first time in a long time, I have hope…

    too flowery BandB? 🙂

  • 15 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:23 PM


    Sissoko and Cabaye were the French mascots before where they not ?

    Everyone else just got a Sports Direct style induction

  • 16 BandB // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:24 PM

    We managed the PR Andy…as if, if we got that right, everything would be okay.
    The word went out after that awards ceremony that everyone had showed for training that day….eventually.
    And it was duly reported.

  • 17 BandB // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:25 PM

    A yellow rose, Dok 🙂

  • 18 AncientC // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:28 PM

    BandB, Not that I am knocking Carver, but I can imagine his idea of an ice-breaker and team building, would be getting everybody out on the lash together. Those old school methods probably worked once upon a time, but with players becoming more like professional athletes, the old devil’s butter milk has to be cut to a minimum in a player’s diet.

  • 19 BandB // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:30 PM

    I’m not knocking him either.
    He loves the club.
    Like I love my ex.
    But y’know, the man knew absolutely NOTHING!
    Sorry. pet 🙂

  • 20 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:32 PM

    Yeah looking back over the last couple of years it just seems so crazy as to why the hell did we hire clowns like Carver , Stone and Pardew to develop players from overseas?! They had no credentials for this whatsoever

  • 21 AncientC // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:36 PM

    I thought Carver deserved his chance at the time, I had no idea it would go so terribly wrong, but, given the predicament and Carver’s history – I still believe he earned his shot at the job.

    I was envisioning Carver (when he got the job) as a man with his finger on the pulse of the Newcastle fans, ready to install attacking football. In my view, when Carver parked for a draw against Crystal Palace, it was the moment he lost his courage and the respect that comes with it.

  • 22 BandB // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:36 PM

    That past looks better through the rear window LCBP.
    Getting ever smaller.
    I’m even thinking about taking a peek out the front one. See where we are headed.

  • 23 lochinvar // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:41 PM

    BandB @7
    Is that the same old story ?
    Everywhere I go etc

  • 24 BandB // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:43 PM

    Have you got my ballon sorted out Dok?
    Not yellow please.
    Not for Ali.
    I went to bed when I was about eight, expecting to wake up to hear he was “dead.”
    I did the same on Friday night, and like then, awoke at 6.15am, just as the news broke.

  • 25 dok - the horrid colonial // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:46 PM

    pick me a color.. was thinking white…. for his character…

  • 26 BandB // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:47 PM

    Except my beaming dad Dad wasn’t shaking me awake.
    Luckily, I’ve outgrown this love of watching grown men bash each other for money.

  • 27 martoon // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:48 PM

    I have to say I am gobsmacked about a couple of things to come out of the interview.
    1 We’ve always had high rates of injuries in training and nobody has thought that 4G pitches might help!
    2 We have a lot of French & Spanish speaking players yet nobody has thought to get a French/Spanish speaker to help – administrator or whatever you want to call their roll!
    Presumably these are Rafa’s suggestions but really for a so called professional football club it’s unbelievable he has had to instigate these changes!

  • 28 BandB // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:49 PM

    White would be strangely fitting Dok
    The colour of his smile.

  • 29 dok - the horrid colonial // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:49 PM

    now, instead of turning on the television to see it, you can “see” it on here lol…

  • 30 dok - the horrid colonial // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:57 PM

    anyway, im off… se ya’s manana…

    remember, hope is a good thing, maybe the best thing…

    hell, im a positive person today, think ill stop for a drink at the local and get rid of this cheerful attitude 🙂

  • 31 BandB // Jun 9, 2016 at 8:59 PM

    Shirebrook Toon

    Doing more than 30 an hour now.
    First time all day.
    Since last night, in fact.
    Cue the tumbleweed?
    Watch and learn 🙂

  • 32 BandB // Jun 9, 2016 at 9:03 PM

    Goodnight boys.

  • 33 AncientC // Jun 9, 2016 at 9:07 PM

    I am off to finish watching ‘Gomorra’, highly recommended for any fans of ‘Narcos’.

  • 34 ShirebrookToon // Jun 9, 2016 at 9:09 PM

    Goodnight Bandb

  • 35 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jun 9, 2016 at 9:23 PM

    Newcastle Falcons play thier home games on a 4g pitch, as do saracens. They let people on it afterwards. For anyone who hasn’t been on one, they make previous versions of artificial pitch look like minefields. The ‘soil’ is some kind of polymer which actually feels like real dirt to the touch, and provides excellent drainage. I am not sure what the “grass” is made from, but it also feels like real grass, not plastic shards, or that grass carpet stuff they put down at outdoor fuctions. If you knelt fown blindfolded on it, you would swear you were on a lawn.

  • 36 Belfast // Jun 9, 2016 at 9:27 PM

    We appoint a former casino manager with no experience in football and put him in charge of running the football club, and when he ferks off we promote the post boy who used to hand out the team sheets and put him in charge of the football club.

    If you’re wondering why this operation looks and feels a bit amateurish…… 🙂

  • 37 Tsunki // Jun 9, 2016 at 9:38 PM

    I’m astounded only Martoon commented on the 4G pitch installation. The way Rafa is talking it sounds very much like they aren’t replacing a 3G pitch but an astroturf one! And those genius coaches McCardew, and physios and doctors never pondered why we were having all these injuries? How many ACL injuries at this club? 2 on one player alone! I bet they aren’t even wearing the right boots either! This just makes the blood boil at the complete idiocy by so-called professionals. What were the players thinking? Did they not have a voice in all this? Astounding, absolutely Astounding.

  • 38 Belfast // Jun 9, 2016 at 9:43 PM

    Here here ! Astounding I say Astounding!

  • 39 Tsunki // Jun 9, 2016 at 9:44 PM

    Sorry mark didn’t mean to leave you out. 😐

    Even 3G pitches with the right footwear and not too small a playing area is a good training surface. 4G pitches are very good but aren’t the step up Rafa is talking about I’m sure. I bet they had patches sewn on the pitches as well the clowns.

  • 40 Tsunki // Jun 9, 2016 at 9:44 PM

    Thank you Belfast. Now I’m off. Rant done, job complete 🙂

  • 41 Belfast // Jun 9, 2016 at 9:44 PM

    Buy that man a Pepsi and stick it on my tab.

  • 42 Tsunki // Jun 9, 2016 at 9:46 PM

    Belfast do you get 4G where you live? Or are you always on Edge?

  • 43 Belfast // Jun 9, 2016 at 9:47 PM

    Nope but I’ve got some Welly boots that might fit ye ?

  • 44 Tsunki // Jun 9, 2016 at 9:49 PM

    “Gaffer I’ve twisted me ankle”
    “I wonder how you could possibly have done it”
    “It happened when my foot went through the hole in the seam and I span around 360”
    “Hmm yes but I wonder how it could have happened…..”

  • 45 stan anderson // Jun 9, 2016 at 9:50 PM

    So true Belfast @36.
    We have been a shambles of a football club for years now.
    Hope Rafa can repair the damage done and is allowed to do it without interference from the nobs who have caused the damage in the 1st place.

  • 46 Tsunki // Jun 9, 2016 at 9:53 PM

    Photo caption –

    “He’s got that Championship Winning Smile – you can too, with Charnley & Bishops whitewash PR toothpaste”

  • 47 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:10 PM


    Yeah 3g is just the “a bit sh1t” version of 4g, so you are right, it does seem like we have been training on lino with lego sticking up on it.

  • 48 jimmysmith // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:12 PM

    It makes obvious sense for Ashley to build a proper football club as the flagship for his sports retail empire. You suspect he really hasn’t had much of a clue how to go about it and so has applied similar management practices used at SD.

    Benitez gives him the legitimate footing to build from we’ve so obviously lacked under Ashley. He could do for Newcastle, what Wenger has done for Arsenal. It would seem to make perfect business sense, particularly in light of SD’s current travails.

    Obviously you hope the owner will do right by the club, now that he has a clear path to do so. But also you hope Benitez will build responsibly like his celebrated French counterpart. I think that will keep Ashley on board, which is of course paramount.

  • 49 Jib // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:14 PM

    Phew !
    Has the prattle that passes for football chat died down ?

  • 50 Tsunki // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:19 PM

    I bet the standard Charnley Head Coach induction featured a run down of a the decisions the HC could not influence, transfers, cup participation, league position etc, then move swiftly past the locked doors of the training facilities ” no need to worry about that – it is what it is – just make do and mend. Particularly mend..” then a four hour video presentation on how to rotate your soundbites so the press don’t catch on you don’t own your own nuts any more.

  • 51 Tsunki // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:24 PM

    It has now Jib. Nice old article.

    Do you know what the difference between 3G & 4G is Jib. Clue : it’s not packet transport technology, increased bandwidth or download speeds.

  • 52 welshgeordie9 // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:24 PM

    As he’s not going to play many games this season i reckon we should go for Charlie Austin.

  • 53 Tsunki // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:25 PM

    Seems Rafa has bypassed the Charnley induction and trod on his back as he walked through the door.

  • 54 Tsunki // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:26 PM

    Yep. Stoke up the Austin Article boiler.

  • 55 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:28 PM

    When i was a nipper, i was in lego club, and recieved a monthly magazine. Somebody sent in a photo of lego footy pitch, once. I wonder if that was later used as a design for nufcs training facilities.

  • 56 ShirebrookToon // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:29 PM

    Why has it took so long to implement changes to the training facilities. Didn’t souness question the training facilities as major factor in the amount of injuries we incur every season

  • 57 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:29 PM

    Ah, but could Austin train on Lego?

  • 58 welshgeordie9 // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:33 PM

    I think he would do well with us

  • 59 jimmysmith // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:33 PM

    The Germans handle the surface very well.

  • 60 Mister Tuff // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:34 PM

    Tsunki – please dont ask Jib any more questions.
    He’ll still be checking Google for that “player” I mentioned earlier – “Al Sayshon”./
    He’s probably checked all European and South American football websites. Now he’ll be scratching his napper and grunting -Duh.

  • 61 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:34 PM

    ‘Charlie Austin will be out for 6 weeks, after standing on the roof section of the “ninjago” dojo. Sources close to the club say austin was heard shouting “OH THE HUMANITY. I HAVE NEVER KNOWN PAIN LIKE THIS. KILL ME NOW”. He is due for a scan on monday, but it looks ominous’

  • 62 ShirebrookToon // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:38 PM

    Lol YCMIU

  • 63 welshgeordie9 // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:44 PM

    Score more goals than our lot put together.

  • 64 Yo-yo // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:46 PM

    Martoon @27
    Tsunki, Belfast etc.,
    According to Google 3G costs about £50 a square metre, but SportsDirect 3G probably costs £15 a square metre.
    4G is quoted at up to £500k for a full sized pitch.

    Didn’t know this either but ” FIFA has gone in a different direction to the FA by allowing the use of 4G pitches in competitive matches.”

    We’ve had some real plonkers running the Toon at all levels and I am as gobsmacked as the others that we haven’t had a full and proper review of all training surfaces before, and analysis of possible causes of our dismal injury record.
    If it takes Rafa to work out the bleedin’ obvious – WTF were his barely competent predecessors doing to earn their crust ?

  • 65 bettyswallocks // Jun 9, 2016 at 10:48 PM

    Maybe Muirfield had a point.

  • 66 Tsunki // Jun 9, 2016 at 11:39 PM

    Yo-yo spot on. Did I mention astounding? I think I did.

  • 67 geordieviking // Jun 9, 2016 at 11:42 PM

    Sorry to put a damper on 4G but I read a report recently that the crumb used is full of chemicals that are strongly believed to be a cause of skin cancer. I believe some of the rugby clubs are now questioning the wisdom of installing it.
    Should be less of a problem for a football club though.

previous post: It’s Not Going To Be Easy For This Newcastle Player

next post: Benitez On Transfers – We Are Very Busy – Things Are Very Positive