Still Concerns About Whether Ashley Has Rafa’s Level Of Ambition

Alan Shearer’s complete mistrust of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has come out today in his article in the Sun and the former iconic Newcastle number 9 striker is still not convinced that Ashley will come up with the support that Rafa Benitez needs for the summer and longer term for that matter.

Alan points to the interview after the game when we hammered Preston last Monday night to gain an automatic promotion spot and he was asked if he would be here to lead Newcastle and he said “we’ll see”.

That was done deliberately since he wants as much as he can get from Mike Ashley so he can build the side he wants next season in the Premier League.

Mike Ashley – is his ambition lacking?

Rafa is not one who will stay in place if he has his hands tied behind his back – he wants a level playing field so his Newcastle side can compete with other top managers at clubs like Chelsea, the two Manchester clubs, Arsenal and Liverpool.

This is what Alan Shearer has said in his column in the Sun today:

“As soon as promotion was confirmed and Rafa refused to commit his future to Tyneside, I had to worry.”

“Quite simply, he needs about eight new players just to turn Newcastle into a mid-table Premier League team.”

“Benitez won’t want to go into next season knowing he has a squad only good enough for a relegation scrap. He won’t have it.”

“There is a huge opportunity here for Newcastle to establish themselves again as a top-flight force.”

“But he now needs, at the minimum, a £150M investment in new players.”

“And I am not convinced that will happen.”

It’s not clear Rafa needs as much £150M in cool cash.

Rafa will have  a massive clear-out of players in the summer in order to both reduce the Newcastle wage bill and also generate some transfer funds he can use from players he sells.

There could be as many as 12 first team players leave the club this summer including:

  • Florian Thauvin – sell to Marseille for £10M
  • Henri Saivet – sell if possible
  • Emmanuel Riviere – sell if possible
  • Kevin Mbabu – another season long loan
  • Haris Vuckic – contact will not be renewed
  • Sammy Ameobi – contact will not be renewed
  • Yoan Gouffran – contract not renewed
  • Achraf Lazaar – sell if possible
  • Jesus Gamez – sell if possible
  • Matz Sels – a season long loan deal
  • Massadio Haidara – sell if possible
  • Daryl Murphy – loan to a Championship club

So maybe with Thauvin, Saivet, Riviere, Mbabu, Lazaar, Gamez and even Sels he could generate some transfer funds – maybe as much as £30M for them?

One of the problems is that we get the money from those transfers in installments, so it’s not always immediately available this summer.

But if Ashley was willing to give Steve McClaren £80M two years ago he’ll be willing to give at least that in cool cash for Rafa, who actually knows what he’s doing , unlike Steve and Rafa has the world-class record and credentials to prove it – again unlike McClaren.

If Ashley cannot trust Rafa Benitez to run Newcastle United for him in all football matters – who can he trust?

Last summer we brought in 12 players and made a profit of £40M according to Newcastle’s financial records but most high value players are gone, although Rafa may want to sell Siem de Jong and Tim Krul.

But he needs six new players brought in and he could do that for less than £100M.

We really don’t think the money is the problem and Alan’s questioning Mike Ashley’s commitment and ambition for Newcastle.

Hopefully he will have grown some of that since Rafa came on board and did something very strange and rather unusual – he started winning games.

As we’ve said before we would be very surprised if Mike Ashley is a problem to Rafa this summer.

But we’ve been wrong before.

Not this time though!


Comments welcome.

98 comments so far

  • jane

    May 1, 2017 at 3:16 PM

    Comment #1

    who are those prints by Jib?
    looks like Fugaku Sanjurokkei is the name of Mount Fuji and the artist is Katsushika Hokusai.
    need to take more care googling 😉

  • ShirebrookToon

    May 1, 2017 at 3:17 PM

    Comment #2

    Another journo trying to pisss on our chips. Just can’t let us be happy can they. Howay Shearer man, you should nar better!

    Bit of enthusiasm wouldn’t go amiss!

  • Mister Tuff

    May 1, 2017 at 3:23 PM

    Comment #3

    Jib/Jane/Jeff – who the **** cares about Mount Fuji.


    May 1, 2017 at 3:28 PM

    Comment #4

    McClaren got so much because the club had made money for years and kept it’s transfer spend low it wasn’t just a gift. This summer we don’t have that, we had to lend a further 30 mill from Ashley and the profit people are talking about isn’t in the bank it’s apparently a staggered payment plan from Spurs (details of which we don’t know) Ashley has said for a long while we pay up front not over years

    Shearer is selling his column by saying 150 mill Burnley Bournemouth and Watford are all mid table this year did they spend 300 -450 mill between them?

  • AncientC

    May 1, 2017 at 3:29 PM

    Comment #5

    Riviere is out of contract, and loaning Murphy out would be pointless, as he only has 1 year left on his contract. Either keep Murphy or release him.

  • Jib

    May 1, 2017 at 3:31 PM

    Comment #6

    Fugaku Sanjurokkei means “36 views of Mt Fuji”
    It’s my cutting and pasting with my huge fingers on the wifes i-pad I need to take care with

  • Jib

    May 1, 2017 at 3:39 PM

    Comment #7

    Is that the same Alan Shearer that last May said there is absolutely no chance of Rafa staying with NUFC through relegation ?

    Isaac Hayden played for Hull 2015/16 on loan and Bruce was going to buy him last summer – but Bruce fell out with the owners at Hull and the deal was stopped – Rafa must have got wind (Aitor Karanka ?) and moved in.

  • Moonraker15

    May 1, 2017 at 3:41 PM

    Comment #8

    Shearer gets on my t@ts with his negative attitude and he probably does it cos Ashley dumped him after relagation; something that didn’t happen to Rafa.
    If you ask me, Shearer shoul look for a proper job in the lower leagues and show us that one day he can be our manager, or else shut the f up !


    May 1, 2017 at 3:48 PM

    Comment #9

    There is a huge gap between top 7 and the rest West Brom are 8th and are closer to 18th than 7th to break into that aye we need huge investment but to compete with 8th down? There is a lot of crap in the PL which people over look

  • sing in the corner

    May 1, 2017 at 3:56 PM

    Comment #10

    It’s strange that when we needed someone with the profile and clout to speak up (during the struggles with Ashley under Pardew and Carver) Shearer was nowhere to be seen or heard. Now he has a lot to say…

  • hibbit

    May 1, 2017 at 4:14 PM

    Comment #11

    very disappointed in Shearer should have been our white knight a stand out figure like he was on the pitch
    but now just like all the rest he just keeps the folks happy that pay his wages just looking for the next headline for his masters

  • lesh

    May 1, 2017 at 4:17 PM

    Comment #12

    I don’t think that there’ll be problems over Rafa’s budget but do feel that Ashley’s almost feudal style of management could lead to Rafa having issues over the Club’s management structure and thus his authority over football matters. He’s sure to have been unsettled by the failure to recruit the January signings he expected and more to the point, who’s whispering in Ashley’s ear. Could anyone who’s not in Ashley’s inner circle, actually trust him? I think not.

    Of course the utterances, the doubts expressed by Shearer and others won’t help Rafa’s confidence that Ashley will fulfill his promises to let Rafa and Charnley (helped it seems by a secondee from SD – an Ashley placeman no doubt) get on with things without interferance.

    Rafa’ll need to feel that he can trust Ashley and that could be a problem as Ashley’s reputation is there for all to see.

    Would you trust Ashley with your reputation? I wouldn’t but would be delighted to have my misgivings proved to be groundless.

    Ashley needs to recognise the tremendous job Rafa’s done and more to the point, recognise that getting back to the Prem isn’t job done. Lose Rafa and we’ll be back down as quick as we got promotion. Who’s gonna drum that message into Ashley’s money-obsessed skull? Well, were he to be at SJP on Sunday, on view to the fans, it might be a sign that he’s fully behind Rafa and hear what 50000 fans have to say.

  • Premiership Manager

    May 1, 2017 at 4:23 PM

    Comment #13

    There may be some poor teams in the EPL however it is a massive step up from the Championship. Sunderland are bottom and relegated however how many times have we beat them in recent years?

    The last team to bring in 7 or 8 players in a year spending a fortune in the process was QPR. They were relegated. We have four possibly 5 PL standard players, with a few 1/2 decent PL squad players, however where are the goals going to come from?

    Mitro needs support, Gayle is injury prone and couldn’t cut it in the EPL and his main feed, i.e. Shelvey couldn’t command 1st team football at Swansea due to his attitude and commitment. Our defense leaks goals like a sieve so how do you think we will do?

    If Benitez goes we are in trouble and that’s before we kick a ball. If he stays he needs 7-8 players in a squad that is already short of established and quality players.

    Atusu, Yedlin, Shelvey, Hayden, Darlo, Clark, Mitro, Perez, Lacelles, all need to step up their game. Colback, Dummet, Gayle, Diame. and Anita will not get any better.

    Sterry, Armstrong and Aarons need to establish themselves as first team players

    Ritchie and Elliot are the only two players I have no concerns about although Anita assuming his contract renewed would come close as does Perez if his confidence is restored and he is given first team football.

    New players, who?


    I’d be surprised if we attracted any of them and given the players we bought to get out of the championship, i.e. Diame, Murphy and Hanley I do wonder at the logic applied and as to whether Rafa actually had a say.

    Shearer may be worried and yes he does have an axe to grind with Ashley and co however his assessment and concerns are very well founded.

    We’ll see what happens but be under no illusions it’s going to be another helter skelter ride where we’ll be fighting not only to keep our manager but also to avoid relegation unless there’s a significant investment and commitment to the manager from the club

  • Jib

    May 1, 2017 at 4:23 PM

    Comment #14

    Up to now I make it about 17 posts from you saying the same thing with different words.
    That’s quite a trick.
    Your’e not a politician by any chance ?

  • lesh

    May 1, 2017 at 4:27 PM

    Comment #15

    Mister Tuff

    Poor old Jib/ Jane/ Jeff. There he is trying to have a polite conversations with his alter egos and like anyone, he won’t be happy with interruptions from outside his little circle of ‘friends’.

  • lesh

    May 1, 2017 at 4:30 PM

    Comment #16


    Well spotted. You haven’t noticed that I’ve not used the words strong and stable yet?

  • LewSpi v2.0

    May 1, 2017 at 4:31 PM

    Comment #17

    Wouldn’t surprise me if Rafa hadn’t been on the blower to Shearer telling him to get in the press and tell them we need a fortune. Political games.

  • AncientC

    May 1, 2017 at 4:32 PM

    Comment #18

    QPR are certainly not the last team to bring in 7 to 8 players in a calendar year, not by a long stretch, and it wasn’t ambition and spending that got QPR relegated, it was buying the wrong players.

  • lesh

    May 1, 2017 at 4:32 PM

    Comment #19


    You reckon 17 similar posts? Can we assume you’ve been using your fwend Jane’s fingers to count on?

  • Jib

    May 1, 2017 at 4:36 PM

    Comment #20

    Of the teams to come up recently
    Burnley 13th and Watford 14th have never really looked in any danger all season.
    Neither could be called big spenders

    Bournemouth 10th and Leicester 11th (Champs last season) aren’t in the big spend League either.

    The quality of manager is much more important than thowing tens of millions of pounds around.

    Conte has virtually the same squad as last season when Chelsea finished 10th.

    ManU broke the world record for Pogba – they are 5th

    I could go on but the phrase “throwing cash at it won’t solve the problem” could be made for the EPL

  • Ibizatoon

    May 1, 2017 at 4:41 PM

    Comment #21

    Jib…You could go on, but perhaps best to revisit what you’ve already said?

    Chelsea…Luiz, Alonso, Kante and Batshuayi and a nett spend of over £50m.

    Shouldn’t be so facetious I guess…I do in principle agree with your point. How much one spends doesn’t guarantee a thing.

  • Krul To Be Kind

    May 1, 2017 at 4:44 PM

    Comment #22


    I was thinking the exact same thing… Is shearer high balling it to help Rafa get as much as he can… I don’t believe for 1 second we need 150m, and I don’t think shearer thinks that deep down either, if we spent 150m I’d be expecting a title push and champs league as a minimum!

  • AncientC

    May 1, 2017 at 4:46 PM

    Comment #23

    Over spending may not make much of a difference between the top clubs, as they all have big budgets/wages – it’s fine margins at the top. The level of spending a club commits, will close/open the gap between top & bottom however.

  • Sazzer

    May 1, 2017 at 4:47 PM

    Comment #24

    sing in the corner
    I posted similar thing a couple of days ago. It’s going to be toughest summer to date and Rafa really going to need use his connections and creativity to get ahead because the transfer kitty most likely is going to be a lot less than he needs. Especially if you calculate how much 8 players that already Premier Leagues regulars not even stars would cost.

  • Mister Tuff

    May 1, 2017 at 4:48 PM

    Comment #25

    lesh – last time Jib/Jane tried their stunt of posting to each other – jib must have been sozzed and began answering questions for Jane and vice versa. Worra plonka.

    I felt I had to invervene after the “art post” as I believe jib would have been on next saying he was an art critic with his own collection including works of van Gogh, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Picasso,Monet – and they’re just the ones in the bathroom.

  • AncientC

    May 1, 2017 at 4:53 PM

    Comment #26

    Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, and Everton. The top 7 wage bills in the PL.

    And the top 7 clubs in the PL table are…

  • LGFUAD21

    May 1, 2017 at 4:59 PM

    Comment #27

    We need big investment but it needs to be smart.

    The clubs getting up and staying up are the ones that are proving that sometimes heart can compete with skill.

    The fans will not be happy but those snodgrass and ritchie type players will help us.

    Qpr is a poor example though premiership manager. They bought a ton of has beens on high wages. Experience is one thing but not when the players are over the hill.

    There will be some decent players we can raid from bottom clubs in the premier league. Robertson from hull. Sigurdsson from swansea. I think were better off adding a few safe bets than we are looking for e next uncovered gem at this stage.

    The main aim next season is to stay up. Then we can be adding to the squad each transfer window at a time.

    Still with the new money doing that is garder an ever. You can already see the effect it has had on transfer fees. Even the £12m we paid for ritchie wouldve been £6-7 a few years back and we’ll want to keep our biggest assets.

    On average a solid premier league player is going to cost about £12m so even 6 players is going to require hefty investment. I think we realistically need about 8. The players we will want to sell will probably barely cover the cost of one.

  • toon22

    May 1, 2017 at 5:05 PM

    Comment #28

    Spending money on players is no guarantee of succsses.
    Imho Rafa will need to wheel and deal to get a team together but its the rest of the mess he inherited from SMC.

    Cant think of any other person who would be better to do it.

  • AncientC

    May 1, 2017 at 5:11 PM

    Comment #29

    toon22, then why do the top 7 clubs in the Premier League have the top 7 wage bills. Not spending when required will guarantee failure.

  • Sazzer

    May 1, 2017 at 5:25 PM

    Comment #30

    8 players is minimum I reckon since injuries will happen, suspensions will happen and not all new players will hit the ground running.

    We also have to take in to consideration that Shelvey, Ritchie and Gayle all for different reasons was in and out in sides like Swansea, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth.

  • sing in the corner

    May 1, 2017 at 5:29 PM

    Comment #31

    ‘Not so pending…’
    But it depends more if the right players are attainable or not. Not the actual parting with the amounts.

  • Jib

    May 1, 2017 at 5:31 PM

    Comment #32

    Ancient your argument is too simplistic

    NUFC’s wage bill 15/16 – £74.7m – relegated

    Leics City wage bill 15/16 – £48.2m – Champs

  • Munster Mag

    May 1, 2017 at 5:32 PM

    Comment #33

    Jib I agree re shearer. He was wrong last year when plenty of us reckoned Rafa wud stay. We do need a pile of players. We hardly have two to scratch together who wud get into the top 8 clubs

  • AncientC

    May 1, 2017 at 5:34 PM

    Comment #34

    Jib, that is why Leicester winning the league was the exception, not the norm. You will not see a club so far adrift in regards to wages win the league, in perhaps another 50 to 100 years.

  • sing in the corner

    May 1, 2017 at 5:35 PM

    Comment #35

    Well that’s not surprising since we’ve been in the Championship for a season. Would you expect to have 2+ top 8 players?

  • Belfast

    May 1, 2017 at 5:37 PM

    Comment #36

    To be fair there is a strong possibility that Rafa will leave. If he was in charge of West Ham or Southampton etc and wouldn’t commit his future beyond this season you’d all suspect he might be leaving.

    We don’t need to spend 150 million though that bit is bollocks.

  • AncientC

    May 1, 2017 at 5:38 PM

    Comment #37

    sing, one thing is for certain, putting your money where your mouth is makes players more “attainable”.

    The club not getting into bidding wars makes finding the right players twice as difficult.

  • Belfast

    May 1, 2017 at 5:39 PM

    Comment #38

    Even if we did it wouldn’t happen in a million years.

  • corkypants

    May 1, 2017 at 5:40 PM

    Comment #39

    The power is with Benitez now he has kept his promises to fat mike (promotion) now it’s Ashley’s turn to uphold the bargain in my eyes anyway!

    If Ashley doesn’t back him and Benitez walks it will be so obvious why. Ashley won’t have any defence to the reason why and he won’t like that one bit.

    Benitez is pulling a political blinder bringing up Inter and I love it. Let’s just hope it works!!!!

  • Clematis

    May 1, 2017 at 5:52 PM

    Comment #40

    Rafa will not leave. He knows we all worship him and it’s the only club he can realistically work at and still go home to his family every night.

    And the fat man knows he will be fcuking howked if he fails to pony up a decent wedge to Rafa.

    Maaan, I cannot wait to be in St James’ on Sunday!!!


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