Alan Pardew Is Spot On About Newcastle Manager Rafa Benitez

It was fairly obvious before the start of the Newcastle vs Crystal Palace game on April 30th last year that Rafa Benitez and Alan Pardew were friends and  that was probably due to Alan having called the top Spanish manager a few times for guidance in his own management career.

When you are a top man like Rafa – it also happened a lot with Sir Alex Ferguson –  other managers often call you just asking for help in certain situations.

It’s really a compliment for the manager they call and they are usually willing to help as much as they can.

Rafa Benitez meets Alan Pardew before the game against Palace last year

Alan is currently between jobs, although we are sure before the season starts he will link up with some club – maybe even in the Championship  since there is a huge push by clubs down below to get promoted and into the mega money of the Premier League.

Those Championship jobs will likely come with a huge bonus attached should the cub be promoted to the Premier League.

Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion have already secured the two automatic promotion spots for this season after the two teams had been in the top two for many months and were quite obviously the best two sides in the Premier League.

And we even managed to do the double over Brighton,  who are a very well run club from the top with an excellent manager.

And a very strange thing has happened in the eight days since we were promoted; we are actually getting some coverage in the National press.

The coverage is negative (that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise) with most pundits reporting (or should we say hoping) that Rafa Benitez will leave the club – which is not going to happen.

In fact last week on the Monday night and Tuesday morning after we had walloped Preston 4-1 at home to lock in our automatic promotion spot, Newcastle were the main headlines in both the Mirror and the Mail and most of the other top nationals too.

Well, would you believe it?

Back from the wilderness.


This is what the former Newcastle United manager said last night on  the Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football show talking about Newcastle and also Sunderland:

“I think Newcastle will stay in the Premier League if they can keep Rafa Benitez.”

“They have got the home power, you just have got to add a few players to that squad and a couple of big stars.” “They should have enough.”

“As we know, all the teams in the Championship are gunning to reach the gold mine which is the Premier League, so there are four or five big clubs all poised with good teams going into next season,”

“David Moyes will have to sit down with the Chairman and discuss what the budget is.”

“Even though Sunderland will get the huge injection of parachute money, it doesn’t mean to say they’ll do it the right way.”

“Benitez has done things pretty much spot on at Newcastle; he took a big group of top-Championship players, some of whom were there already, and his squad have seen him through.”

“That would be a good route for David to go down if he can convince the Chairman that’s the right route.”

That’s a good and accurate assessment by Alan Pardew but we don’t see the strong characters  (like Rafa) at Sunderland who can get the team together to fight for promotion – at least for next season we don;t.

They look like Aston Villa did last summer.

Sam Allardyce could do it but he’s not available as he seems to have saved Crystal Palace from relegation this season – Alan’s former club.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

32 comments so far

  • ShirebrookToon

    May 2, 2017 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #1


    Do you think Rafa will be backed by the Fat man? If so then it will indeed be an exciting summer and also future.

  • ShirebrookToon

    May 2, 2017 at 3:31 PM

    Comment #2

    Swear down some fcuker has slowed time down. Can see this week been a drag. Sunday seems so far away 🙁

  • JackBall

    May 2, 2017 at 3:35 PM

    Comment #3

    Having thought we could not attract a top manager was not unreasonable, in fact, it was probably true. Circumstances aligned that a top manager, who was looking for a job and who happened to want to be close enough to home, was available. Give management credit for finalizing the deal. After relegation, I thought he would stay, but was not 100 percent confident. Judging how good a manager is, is not easy. You can look at results and history, but sometimes those are misleading. Regardless to statistical evidence, I like Rafa for many other reasons. Mainly, his attitude, demeanor and controlled passion. Watching other mangers in the leagues, how happy are you that Rafa is the face of the team? He is too smart to have had stayed and not know that he will get a lot of what he wants/needs. That being said, lets be realistic to what would be a reasonable amount of money he will have to spend. That amount will not be enough to change the whole team, and I don’t think he would want to. Calling him ruthless as a compliment to describe he will do whatever it takes is overstated. He is a man of harmony because he thinks that is what works, and the team will not change completely for that reason as well. Three players at 60 million total, with another 2-3 based on what is sold. That is the middle compromise that I feel he would be satisfied with. That is the threshold where acquisition speculation should hover around. Now is hoping that Rafa is better at player assessment and recruitment than anyone on here, but that does not mean I don’t like hearing your picks, but maybe editing a bit would be more practical.

  • ToonRich

    May 2, 2017 at 3:41 PM

    Comment #4

    @2, do you thik Brighton have bottled it or will they do the job at Villa?

    I can see us taking the lead and it filtering on to the pitch at their game – but how they’ll react, who knows!

    For some daft reason I think Rafa will get the backing…just not as much as we’d all like!

  • JamesToon

    May 2, 2017 at 3:45 PM

    Comment #5

    Very good article here:

    Jack ball think you might agree with this as well

  • JamesToon

    May 2, 2017 at 3:50 PM

    Comment #6

    Only first team players I can be seeing sold are: Murphy, Gouffran, Anita. The rest will stay I think, then the deadwood will be cashed in on such as Riviere, Saivet, de Jong, Ameobi, Good, Krul.

    Likes of Sels, Lazaar and Hanley will be loaned out I think.

    As mentioned in the article I think some people are being a bit over the top, 6 first team signings is what I expect, and I reckon the expenditure on players come September will be around £40-65million mark. We’re not gonna replace half the squad. And we’re not gonna splash out £150mil. The article also mentions signing Tommy smith which is actually a really good shout, only 25, 10 assists this season would be great competition for Yedlin. I think we will see rafa make some shrewd signings this summer

  • ShirebrookToon

    May 2, 2017 at 3:52 PM

    Comment #7


    Yes I think Brighton have crumbled under pressure and their last two results have put them in panic mode. The title is theirs to lose is all I’m saying. They have to win and all we have to do is not lose 😀

  • JamesToon

    May 2, 2017 at 3:52 PM

    Comment #8

    We have spine of Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Mbemba, Hayden, Shelvey, Ritchie, Gayle. These players would walk into the likes of Burnley, Swansea, hull. It’s the players around them that need to be improved on in order for us to be on par with most mid table sides

  • Bobbybee

    May 2, 2017 at 4:04 PM

    Comment #9

    Shirebrook, purely judging from Rafa’s demeanour and body language, with him having already spoken to Ashley, I’d say yes, he will back him. Rafa was confident all would be well, but sensibly won’t commit until they meet face to face. I get that, but he looked pretty happy about the chat they’d had over the phone. Just based on that, I’d say the fat man intends to back him. He backed McClaren after all and Rafa is a much safer bet.
    I understand the anti Ashley feeling, but I see him as just a nuisance that has to be tolerated because like it or not, he owns the club. I think he’ll give Rafa what he needs to keep him happy and that all will be well. All we can do though is wait and see. It’s not like we have to wait months, they’ll meet up following the Barnsley game and we’ll know either way how it goes pretty soon. Just looking at Rafa though, all seems well.

  • Ibizatoon

    May 2, 2017 at 4:14 PM

    Comment #10

    Bobby…This isn’t intended to be a crack at you. People say Ashley backed McClaren, which is true to some extent. What he did was release funds the club had stockpiled, rather than not allowing the club to spend it’s money (I wont open up the debate as to whether he had much choice).

    Do we have such funds anymore? Will Ashley back Benitez by advancing funds, not just freeing up what balance, if any, we have?

  • hibbit

    May 2, 2017 at 4:15 PM

    Comment #11

    last game with wonga on the shirts is a big plus for me lets hope we can/have attracted a top blue chip sponsor this time !!

  • U.S Magpie

    May 2, 2017 at 4:23 PM

    Comment #12

    Here the run down for this weekend, Newcastle draw and Brighton Lose we win the title, Newcastle win and Brighton draw we win the title, Newcastle win and Brighton lose we win the title. Brighton win fair play to them as they would deserve it. So basically this boils down to Newcastle not losing at Home in our last match of the campaign. We have to do our job at home and let the footballing gods decide what happens. And someone said Sunday is so far away, I could not agree with you more.

  • Mister Tuff

    May 2, 2017 at 4:24 PM

    Comment #13

    Seeing the back of Wonga – good shout.
    Being associated with an outfit like them brought shame on the club.
    Sending people bogus solicitors letters – and taking money out of peoples accounts without permission is not a good outfit to be associated with.

  • Bobbybee

    May 2, 2017 at 4:27 PM

    Comment #14

    Ibiza, that’s why I keep saying ‘wait and see’. Instead of the same old Ashley this Ashley that why not just wait and see. People – some anyway – only bring up the bad things. How about him not laying off any club workers this season, unlike Norwich and Villa? He put money in to keep people in jobs in an area of high unemployment. Nobody mentions that. Not saying that makes up for the crap he’s done in the past, but there is a change in direction. Not going to even discuss this any further anyway simply because it solves nothing. I’m happy to wait a week or so and find out, rather than wallow in self pity about what he might or might not do. Nobody knows right now. Everything is speculation. Judging by Rafa’s body language, I’d say it looks good. That’s all I’m saying, because nobody knows for sure and speculating is pointless.

  • posada

    May 2, 2017 at 4:32 PM

    Comment #15

    I’ll leave the buying and selling to Rafa.
    However, you need to get some out to get some in.

    These lists I have seen are way too optimistic.

    Anita Freed
    Goufran Freed
    Atsu Up to Rafa
    Lazaar 2M
    Sels 2M
    Krul 1.5M
    Riviere Pay him to leave
    De Jong Pay him to leave
    Saivet Pay him to leave
    Hadaira Pay him to leave

    The bottom 4 will probably cost 6-7 M just to terminate their contracts.

    Hanley, Murphy, Gamez, depends what sort of wage they are on. I think we will have been shrewd and not put them on so much that they have no sell on value.

  • JackBall

    May 2, 2017 at 4:39 PM

    Comment #16

    Agree with much of the article. However, I am one of those that would keep Mitro unless his value is much higher than I expect. I would be more willing to sell Gayle. He was great for us, but his hamstring scares me. If we could get Defoe on a free and make 12-15 on gayle, it would be tempting. I also am a bit more confident in our CBs, and that would not be a priority unless the right player can be added at the right price. Three premium players – big upgrade at either LB/RB (if it be a RB, we can live next season with the defensive Dummett), big upgrade on the wing (Ritchie on one side and the upgrade on the other), and a number 10. With better skilled players at these positions, the others will look even better. Add to that 2-3 other players that are upgrades to the bench and we have the beginning of a good team.

  • JackBall

    May 2, 2017 at 4:46 PM

    Comment #17

    When is the new sponsor expected to be revealed? For some reason, I am almost as excited about that than Sunday. I had said all season that promotion is all I wanted and now that it is here, I would like, but am not too concerned about, who wins the league. Someone a while back made the good point about when you count your trophies, do you include the Championship League?

  • ron burgundy

    May 2, 2017 at 4:49 PM

    Comment #18

    new sponsor is the english fa

  • Lindisfarne

    May 2, 2017 at 4:49 PM

    Comment #19

    Poor Sammy Ameobi, what has he done to make people not remember him?

  • OneAlanShearer

    May 2, 2017 at 4:51 PM

    Comment #20

    Here is my suggested signings and new realistic starting xi.

    Yedlin maguire shawcross dummett
    Shelvey delph
    Ritchie sigurdsson gray
    Musa / Negredo

    Great options. I’d look to upgrade on Dummett and yedlin if possible too. I really rate Musa at Leicester when played as a striker not being shoved out on the wing. Negredo is who I’d want as a target man.

  • YoungMagpieFromBurnley

    May 2, 2017 at 5:06 PM

    Comment #21

    My hopeful starting 11 for the first game next season.

    Smith_Lascelles_Clark_Taylor (Charlie)


  • YoungMagpieFromBurnley

    May 2, 2017 at 5:08 PM

    Comment #22

    Could even be switched to a 4-1-4-1 with Hayden sitting deeper and Shelvey playing alongside Cairney.

  • Bobbybee

    May 2, 2017 at 5:08 PM

    Comment #23

    Jack, that would be me mate. 🙂 I said that when somebody accuses us of not winning anything – as if we don’t know, Der! – I can’t say I’ve ever corrected them by saying ‘actually, we’ve won the Championship twice’. It’s just not a trophy worth bragging about it is?! 🙂 It will be nice to win it again, but promotion is the real prize this season. Just getting back amongst the big boys with the big money, in order to progress further is far more important imo.

  • Ibizatoon

    May 2, 2017 at 5:09 PM

    Comment #24

    Bobby…I do agree that all we can do is wait and see.

    I was more questioning this given that Ashley has started backing managers, which you do seem to be using as justification.

    I do think it’s good that the club didn’t fire loads of people after relegation. Whether it’s because they mean well or for good PR, who knows, and honestly, who cares. It was a good move (although, did Ashley put money in to cover this, or did the clubs money / profit on summer trading?)

    That was my only point, not to bash Ash, but wondering whether backing Rafa this summer meant releasing what the club has, or putting money into the club from his own pocket to spend.

    As you say, we shall see.

  • gonufc (Newcastle United Sports Direct Advertising Club)

    May 2, 2017 at 5:12 PM

    Comment #25

    Shawcross?!! I’d rather not have a walking penalty and footballer who can’t pass the ball. Plus he’s ~30 odd.


    May 2, 2017 at 5:16 PM

    Comment #26

    I can only speak for myself but am sick of waiting and seeing with Ashley tbh has yet to end well. I can’t forget about what his past with us

    I expect him to do what he has always done mate and when he proves he’s changed then I will give him some credit but we are atleast 18 months away from that

  • Lindisfarne

    May 2, 2017 at 5:25 PM

    Comment #27

    I would like to see the £80M spending repeated, after all we are in an upward state of momentum and it would be from money generated within the Club. The large turn around in playing staff that occurred last summer is not as necessary this season and although the existing squad has been amalgamated for the sole purpose of promotion, there are a number of players who can hold their own in the higher league.

    A small amount of churn will certainly happen and there will no doubt be some sales that generate money, with no certainty of being spent. The improvements that Rafa has made to the Club could well mean that some returning players that are currently on loan, may show some surprising improvement. There is a great deal of possibility both in terms of the existing playing staff and likely new additions.

    I do expect that the first team will be improved, but am pessimistic about the number of ready made players the club will actually be able to capture, concentrating instead on more potentially profitable purchases. The process of establishing the Club back in the PL could be a limited ascension based upon previous experience, but depending upon Rafas willingness to support a more deliberate model of evolution.

  • Bobbybee

    May 2, 2017 at 5:29 PM

    Comment #28

    Ibiza, you just can’t bring yourself to admit Ashley might have done something good. He said he was putting the money in to cover the wages, so nobody had to be laid off. He’s done some shocking things in the past, bordering on crazy, but the last couple of seasons have shown a slight swing towards improvement. Whilst I am happy to concede he has been a total tw@t, I’m not obsessed with the man like some are. He’s done more harm than good without question, but I like to be balanced in my criticism. I’m happy to move forward not wallow in the past. Unless he does something bad, can’t you just ignore him? I’m sure those people who kept their jobs thanks to the money he put in are more than grateful. I’m pleased for them. Not many jobs around here. Move on ffs. IF he messes this up, I will happily be a huge critic of his, as I have been in the past, but whilst he’s keeping his nose out and letting Rafa get on with it, I’ve got nothing to complain about. Football is all I’m interested in. Scroll up and read what SBR says about it. You might learn something.

  • lesh

    May 2, 2017 at 7:41 PM

    Comment #29


    Of course Ashley made a good move in appointing Rafa. It also seemed promising when he said he’d take a back seat and leave the running of the Club to Lee Charnley and Rafa. But could he keep his hands off in January, a critical window that may have defined our season? No, he couldn’t and his reported interference in blocking incoming transfers has seemingly given Rafa cause for concern – particularly when Ashley seems to have been unable or unwilling to communicate with Rafa to explain the reasons why.

    Let’s hope that Rafa meets Ashley soon and that any discussions result agreement and more to the point, Ashley giving Rafa the confidence that he can trust Ashley going forward along with ongoing constructive communication and mutual understanding.

  • lesh

    May 2, 2017 at 7:44 PM

    Comment #30

    Just a thought, but could Pardew be letting Sunderland know he’s ready and willing to take over and guide the club to a successful future?

  • Moonraker15

    May 3, 2017 at 8:12 AM

    Comment #31

    I would love it if Percy went and managed Sunderland. Haha please make it happen!

  • Moonraker15

    May 3, 2017 at 8:16 AM

    Comment #32

    Whenever a coach is out of work and looking for a job they pop up on Sky sports as a pundit. I’ve never heard Percy make a comment that wasn’t obvious; like “David Moyes will have to discuss his budget”, or “Rafa has done everything just about right”! Genius- not!


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