This Is The Benitez Project At Newcastle Defined

Sky Sports Spanish journalist Guillem Balague wrote a book about Benitez’s time at Liverpool called A Season on the Brink: Rafael Benitez, Liverpool and the Path to European Glory.

Like most Spanish journalists, Guillem is following Rafa Benitez’ Newcastle “project” and is fascinated to see how the renowned Spanish manager can do with a sleeping giant of a club called Newcastle United.

Guillem balague

Guillem Balague – extraordinary Rafa is at Newcastle United

For the first time in his career Rafa has been given total control of all football matters at a club and the 56 year-old has wasted no time in starting to transform the Magpies both on and off the field.

The change seen at Newcastle since he accepted the job permanently on May 25th following our relegation has been little short of amazing.

Rafa has already signed four new players with hopefully two more on the way in the next day or two.

New fields have been laid at Benton along with new 4G artificial turf pitches and the configuration of the dressing rooms and players quarters have been completely reconfigured at the direction of the manager.

Guillem Balague has been interviewed in the Chronicle today and he has said he will try to take in some of Newcastle’s Championship games this season in a league which could be really interesting.

This is what Balague has said in an exclusive interview in the Chronicle starting with how Newcastle were able to attract the world-class manager:

“I find it extraordinary.” “To be able to convince somebody like Rafa to come is extraordinary.”

“But at the same time, once he’d gone to Real Madrid and had the dream move he wanted, whatever happened there he was really wondering after that what was available?”

“He will never say I wanted to be at Newcastle since he’d been a boy or anything like that, but he knows that Newcastle can be one of the top seven or eight clubs in England.”

“They are simply going through bad times at the moment.” “Rafa will look at this as a professional challenge.”

“He will look where they go next and trying to bring them back to the Premier League is a fascinating challenge.”

“There are some big-name managers in the Championship this season and some Champions League winners in there like Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa.”

“It will be an exciting division next season and I won’t have enough hours in a day to watch all of the games!”

“I’m not sure how I will do that.” “I definitely want to go to Newcastle, go to Manchester, go to Barcelona and Madrid plus Valencia and Espanyol as they have Quique Sánchez Flores.”

“There’s so much going on, but I will find my way to Newcastle.”

“Real Madrid was very different and Benitez suggested things, but they didn’t always listen, but that’s how it works at big clubs.”

“Especially one where the business model is to be the galacticos.” “The manager at Real Madrid is always just another piece of the puzzle.”

“At Newcastle, he can get on with his challenge.”

Rafa is telling everybody who will listen to him that he has a very exciting project at Newcastle and he has started it in his usual workaholic no-holds barred approach to getting things done quickly.

Lee Charnley seems to be working well with him at the executive level too to move things along too, which is good.

Couple that with his unique coaching ability and man-management skills and the manager has already had a profound impact at Newcastle – at the football club – and also a profound effect on the City.

Rafa has said he wants to win trophies at Newcastle – something that hasn’t happened at the club for 47 years – since May, 1969.

To do that Rafa has to take Newcastle back to the top – the very top.

We love it!

Comments welcome.

245 comments so far

  • Toon-Prodigy

    Jul 10, 2016 at 3:20 PM

    Comment #1

    Lets hope Ashley and Charnley dosn’t rock the boat or dismantle any good progress. Keep out of it!

    Replace outgoings quickly and give him the best chance at succeeding.

    Buzzing we have binned those transfer policies. Torture.

    Refreshing to see a manager actually backed at the Toon with his own players.

  • Jib

    Jul 10, 2016 at 3:21 PM

    Comment #2

    I told you lot 2 days ago Wenger thinks he can deflect criticism by making Sissoko the new Viera !

  • Sazzer

    Jul 10, 2016 at 3:25 PM

    Comment #3

    I think Markovic from Liverpool could be potentially good signing. So prefer including him over Ibe.

    Ings would be perfect but I think he would want to stay at Liverpool or another PL club for at least year before being prepared to do a Gayle.

  • Our Toon

    Jul 10, 2016 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #4

    Don’t think fans have realised we are in the championship, laughable names like Markovic and Carroll along with Ibe being thrown around. People need to get a grip and realise what league we are in.

    I said this yesterday but the FFP rule in the championship are a lot stricter than the prem, that’s why some of the big earners have gone. As for same of the names being thrown around… realistic man!!

  • Novocastrian66

    Jul 10, 2016 at 3:36 PM

    Comment #5

    I think the Hayden deal will be confirmed once Sissoko agrees to move the other way.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jul 10, 2016 at 3:44 PM

    Comment #6

    Ivan Toney scores for the toon U21’s

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jul 10, 2016 at 3:50 PM

    Comment #7

    Wenger praises Sissoko but is not looking to strengthen his midfield. Soooo hope he ends up at WBA for 18M or 10M + Beroniono. Make my summer that.


    Jul 10, 2016 at 3:51 PM

    Comment #8

    Our Toon
    Why is Ibe laughable? Also on the fair play rule how come QPR still exists if it’s so strict? We’ve just been relegated with a boat load of cash pretty sure we will be alright


    Jul 10, 2016 at 3:52 PM

    Comment #9

    He will go to a CL club abroad mate we both know it, Maybe Liverpool as they love to sign a town player

  • lesh

    Jul 10, 2016 at 3:54 PM

    Comment #10


    You know as well as most that Wenger’s not daft enough to say or suggest he might want Sissoko.

  • nut meg

    Jul 10, 2016 at 4:01 PM

    Comment #11

    murray 2 sets up.

  • welshgeordie9

    Jul 10, 2016 at 4:14 PM

    Comment #12

    Swap Cisse for Charlie Austin and Swap rivière for Andy Carroll, I’m sure he would like to go back home to the North East.

  • welshgeordie9

    Jul 10, 2016 at 4:17 PM

    Comment #13

    Once we have stopped fannying about trying to get Hanley, go for caulker and that Bristol city defender instead plus the Leeds left back and then everyone will be happy, well i say everyone…………….

  • manxpie

    Jul 10, 2016 at 4:22 PM

    Comment #14

    On ffp we made a huge profit last set of accounts especially in football terms so we should have a huge margin to play with before we get close to getting in trouble there
    plus it sounds like season tickets are selling very well so that’s money in the bank already which is 2,3,4,5 times as many as other clubs in the championship
    so yeah I think we might be fine in that department

  • Belfast

    Jul 10, 2016 at 4:36 PM

    Comment #15

    The financial expert Manxpie has spoken!! 🙂

  • firebug666

    Jul 10, 2016 at 4:40 PM

    Comment #16

    10 minutes to go Newcastle under 21s 0-2 up. Looks like a winning start.

  • manxpie

    Jul 10, 2016 at 4:41 PM

    Comment #17

    Well I’ve worked on my adding up Belfast i thought you’d be proud 🙂

  • firebug666

    Jul 10, 2016 at 4:42 PM

    Comment #18

    0-3 now young guns working hard.

  • Sazzer

    Jul 10, 2016 at 4:43 PM

    Comment #19

    Our Toon
    Since I was throwing in Markovic name in the mix. Here is my reasoning.

    He’s on around £60,000 a week at Liverpool and far away from their starting 11. So Liverpool will probably look to loan him out again like last season to get rid of his wages.

    We signed Ritchie for £55,000 a week and so it’s not a big difference.

    I don’t think our big earners have left because FFP. Townsend release clause was triggered. Cisse, S.Taylor and Colo would probably have been moved on even if we were still in PL.

    If we would have to sell because of FFP then there would me rumours of the club having to sell players like Mitrovic and Shelvey as well.

    In the case of Markovic, the question is really would he like to play another year in Turkey/Portugal, sit on the bench at Liverpool or play in the Championship under Rafa with his buddy Mitrovic?

  • manxpie

    Jul 10, 2016 at 4:45 PM

    Comment #20

    Yeah just seen that firebug can’t believe we’ve got a player called broccoli tho we’ve only just got rid of a turnip!

  • firebug666

    Jul 10, 2016 at 4:49 PM

    Comment #21



    That 3rd goal was scored by a trialist called C. Sharp

  • nut meg

    Jul 10, 2016 at 5:03 PM

    Comment #22

    murray wins it in 3 sets.
    Hamilton as well,great day for British sport fans. Congrats to both.

  • Ron Knee

    Jul 10, 2016 at 5:05 PM

    Comment #23

    nut meg

    Beat me to it! We won’t mention the football, though!

  • croftus5678

    Jul 10, 2016 at 5:11 PM

    Comment #24

    the rafa effect is in full flow atm the 2 other trialists we have atm played in the u21s last night with harvey assisting and silva scoring the 3rd !

    could be another 2 very good u21s to join the 2 we just signed.

  • jazzyp

    Jul 10, 2016 at 5:32 PM

    Comment #25

    Any truth in the Danny Ings rumours lads ??

  • Our Toon

    Jul 10, 2016 at 5:44 PM

    Comment #26


    QPR existing has nothing to do with FFP, they’ve sold players to try to balance the books hence why they haven’t bought themselves back into the championship. I believe Austin, Phillips, Fer etc have been sold without massive amounts being spent, it’s also the reason they got caulker off the books

  • Jib

    Jul 10, 2016 at 5:45 PM

    Comment #27

    Cissé is gone.
    Dwight Gayle was wearing Number 9 training in Ireland today.
    Why would anybody be interested in Danny Ings when he has been injured for 9 months ?

  • Our Toon

    Jul 10, 2016 at 5:47 PM

    Comment #28


    The rules around the championship should be read regarding FFP, have a look into them although I agree with you these players were likely to leave but maybe not colo who only last year got a new contract and we rejected a bid from palace for.

    As for Markovic he’d rather play in Turkey or Portugal than to drop down to the championship especially if the team he decides to go to plays in CL. Like I say come back to reality ppl

  • Jib

    Jul 10, 2016 at 5:54 PM

    Comment #29

    The French media have gone crazy for Sissoko – if he has a good game tonight we will get huge money for him.

  • Our Toon

    Jul 10, 2016 at 5:54 PM

    Comment #30


    Yes me made a profit on accounts last published last season, did they take into account the 50m plus spent in transfer fees? The increase in wages? For season gone we will see a very different set of accounts which is why I believe we are budgeting

  • Our Toon

    Jul 10, 2016 at 5:59 PM

    Comment #31


    Not often I agree with you but on ings I agree, he’s been out for an entire season with an injury, what kind of shape will he be in, think Jay Rodriguez at Southampton who was out with the same injury, that lad has since struggled time and time again with other injuries. Risk not worth taking

  • Jib

    Jul 10, 2016 at 6:08 PM

    Comment #32

    Last month the PL paid NUFC £72.7 million for season 2015/16
    The transfer fees paid last summer were from an existing cash pot
    Budget Schmudget !

  • Jib

    Jul 10, 2016 at 6:11 PM

    Comment #33

    Our Toon
    Normal Service has been resumed

  • awaydays

    Jul 10, 2016 at 6:13 PM

    Comment #34

    Why don’t we sign Victor Moses if I’m right he’s at Chelsea and just gets sent out on loan every year … might be pricey but he’s class

  • Our Toon

    Jul 10, 2016 at 6:16 PM

    Comment #35


    Power of Google eh some things never change ahaha, I’ll continue to believe what I’ve stated, if that wasn’t the case then we wouldn’t see outgoings immediately being replaced or vice versa with incoming following outgoings. Net spend is at 3m and no doubt the wage budget has been bought down quite a bit with the sale and release of players.

    The pot you speak of though wouldn’t have taken into account relegation and the cost it would be to the club something Google hasn’t factored in…’d have to engage your brain for that one though…..normal service has indeed been resumed!!

  • JamesToon

    Jul 10, 2016 at 6:21 PM

    Comment #36

    Some dodgy rumours saying we’re willing to offer Danny Ings £150,000 a week

  • Belfast

    Jul 10, 2016 at 6:26 PM

    Comment #37

    I’m not sure on this but I think the ffp in the championship cuts you some slack for the first season and then yer in trouble. I think Qpr had already broken these rules before and that’s why they where in trouble as soon as they went down.

  • Laurent Robert 32

    Jul 10, 2016 at 6:30 PM

    Comment #38

    That’s that Indy Kaila guy who tweeted that, James. He probably plucked that figure out of the sky. We won’t be paying that at the moment.

  • Jib

    Jul 10, 2016 at 6:34 PM

    Comment #39

    Interesting that 90% of the French team play in England !

  • Our Toon

    Jul 10, 2016 at 6:34 PM

    Comment #40


    I might be wrong but they were in line to get a fine of 50m for reporting losses of 65m, even though they got promoted to prem. Will be settled out of court for a heck of a lot less but rules stipulate that you can’t make more than 8m loss for all clubs. Relegated teams get parachute payments so have more income than those already in league and it’s to counter this rule otherwise all relegated teams would get fined.

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