Player Describes Rafa’s Complete Obsession With Football

It’s somehow fitting and right that a Newcastle United manager should be  completely obsessed with football and seems to work at his job around the clock.

Rafa Benitez brought in some very good players for us last summer to get us out of the Championship at the very first attempt and one of those was one of our favorites – 22 year-old Defensive midfielder Isaac Hayden.

Isaac has had a great first season on Tyneside and played 38 times for us (31 starts) with two good goals.

Rafa Benitez with Isaac Hayden

The former Arsenal trainee  has given a long interview in the Times and he talks about how Rafa will talk at length with the cleaners after a game and go into great detail about what actually happened.

The 57 year-old is so obsessed with football that Rafa will talk to anybody who will listen and of course he understands the game and the tactics employed in great detail and what he says as a summary of the game is often golden.


Isaac Hayden has given an insight into the man who seems obsessed with leading Newcastle United back to greatness.

We love it!!

This is some of what Isaac has said:

“He’s been nothing but warm, whether it’s with me, the cleaners, whoever,”

“He’ll have a 10-minute conversation with the cleaners about the match. He’ll talk to anybody; physio, players, and support staff, exactly the same as if you’re Cristiano Ronaldo.”

“It doesn’t matter to him. Although if you get him on Real Madrid, you’ll be there for a while!” “He’s got stories about players, the club, which is all good because it adds to my experience.”

“I’d not played centre-half in two years and he said: ‘We’ve got injuries, we need you there.’” “Then he said: ‘I remember when I had to tell Javier Mascherano to play at centre-half.’”

“That gave me confidence. He’s talking to me about things that he’s told Mascherano.”

“If I want to talk to him about tactics, he’s always there for me.” .

“Rafa’s obsessed with football. When we lost to Ipswich, I was in his office the next day at 9am, going through the clips and he told me where I went wrong.”

“He’s very honest. I could be sitting there with Jonjo Shelvey and Rafa could say: ‘Look, Jonjo, Isaac’s better than you at this, this and this.’ And then: ‘Isaac, he’s better than you at this, this and this.’”

“Some players might not like it. But this year everybody’s got on with it, whether playing, or on the bench.”

“It’s his passion for the game that drew me in. I love football and I want to improve to be the best I can.”

“I haven’t worked so hard for all those years to be mediocre. Rafa’s got the same drive and determination I have.”

“It’s the culture Rafa brings – a family mentality,”

“He’s goes: ‘Look, if you’re not playing, it’s because of you, not because of anyone else, not because of me, it’s you.”

“You’ve not done enough in training, or when you’ve performed, to make me want to keep you in the team.’”

“He’s fair. He’ll give you a chance, a game, whether it’s a cup game, 20 minutes, and you have to do something in that time to show him you want to play for Newcastle.”

“He’s made it a situation where Newcastle isn’t a stepping stone. He says you should ant to put on this black-and-white shirt, going out and giving 100 per cent, and if you don’t, you won’t play.”

“He makes it so that players are desperate to play, not only for him but for the club and that’s why we’ve had the success this season.”

I sometimes wonder how we ever got Rafa Benitez at Newcastle and then kept him even though we were relegated last year.

That must surely qualify as a miracle ……

Rafa was born to be the Newcastle United manager and he seems completely dedicated to making Newcastle into a side to be feared in Europe over the next few years.

Howay The Bonnie Lads!!

36 comments so far

  • Salmon

    May 29, 2017 at 9:05 AM

    Comment #1

    Riyad Boudabuz even ?

    Guess it’s the likes of Gabriel Pires, Andre Gray and Nicholas Pepe then?

  • hibbit

    May 29, 2017 at 9:07 AM

    Comment #2


    more like wait and see !!!!!

  • Ibizatoon

    May 29, 2017 at 9:09 AM

    Comment #3

    What does this Rafa bloke think he’s up to?

    Instilling drive, ambition and desire. A family mentality.

    It’s disgusting!

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    May 29, 2017 at 9:32 AM

    Comment #4

    Lyon have made a £10.5m bid for Javier Hernandez of Bayer Leverkusen as they search for Alexandre Lacazette’s replacement.

    If he is only going to cost that much we should be all over that deal!!!


    May 29, 2017 at 9:34 AM

    Comment #5

    So many players linked it’s hard to keep up and tbh I can’t be bothered to try

    I think Mangala would prove to be a coup if we could get him in problem will surely be wages though Man City paid a massive fee for him so hed of commanded 6 figures a week surely?


    May 29, 2017 at 9:37 AM

    Comment #6

    Chicorita? I love him but I don’t think he’s the type we’d be after doesn’t work hard enough and I imagine he wouldn’t want to be out of European football…plenty of players at Leverkusen we could be after though considering their terrible season

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    May 29, 2017 at 9:43 AM

    Comment #7


    Yeah potentially no european football could be a problem although we could pay more wages and Rafa could try sell the “project”

    Mangala is a strange one he looks like he should be an immense defender has all the attributes! Could be a Ciaran Clark style signing that once he works under Rafas structure becomes a proper defender ! City have been all over the place and with Kompany also missing its not been the best environment for him to thrive

  • toontaff2

    May 29, 2017 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #8

    Surely over 100 linked, now? Roll on the next hundred!

  • beermonkey

    May 29, 2017 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #9


    i just been looking to see what Eliaquim Mangala earns its 100k a week but they were willing last season to subsidise his wages so there might be some wiggle room

    the chicorito deal do lyon have euro football

  • OneAlanShearer

    May 29, 2017 at 9:53 AM

    Comment #10

    Clematis –

    My humble thoughts

    Cairney yes please
    Mooy yes please
    Robertson not good enough defensively
    Abraham yes but not 1st choice
    Townsend yes but I’d be happy with better
    Gray yes please
    Clucas ok but better out there -we need someone with pace and power and passing as colback a liability tackling back as he’s too slow
    Flint – ok but I suspect lascelles and clark will battle it out with 2 very experienced centre backs

    I see rafa tearing up this squad leaving about 12 who are good enough or with potential to be but starting with a 25 man squad that is balanced and solid all over the pitch. Like the article says and I’ve always suspected rafa lives and brears football. He won’t want to start this season without a competitive squad. June 9th I can see a hell of a lot of business being done before preseason training starts. We will have 2 capable players in every position. With quality all over he first xi. The man is a genius.


    May 29, 2017 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #11

    Can we pay more in wages though? Maybe next season when the tv money kicks in but we’ve always had a strict wage structure and we’ve taken a financial hit from relegation (also got the issue of disharmony when some big wages are dropped in)

    Mangala I think would prove to be a good buy if he’s join he has a lot to prove and Rafa is very good with defenders

    Tbh that’s less than I thought tbh I expected 150+ not sure how City would take to paying some wages if we bought him though? That not just for loans? We will see though maybe he’d drop his demands or maybe we’d just bite the bullet?


    May 29, 2017 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #12

    How many loans are we allowed?

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    May 29, 2017 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #13


    Well thats the thing Lyon cannot pay massive wages and also because of their tax situation over in France

    Our top earner is between 60 and 80k at the moment which should be more than Lyon can afford ? Although at 10.5 million you would think lots of teams would be after him

    City will pretty much need to pay wages for any of their players even after selling them I think they have had to cover some of the wages as players refuse to drop down in salary as any human being would do!

  • beermonkey

    May 29, 2017 at 10:12 AM

    Comment #14


    think its 4 loans
    i think clubs have been susidising wages for years to offload players for years
    if we can recoup a small fee and a sell on clause and subsidise rivieres wages for a year or 2 is that not better than having to pay all his wages till his contract is up

  • OneAlanShearer

    May 29, 2017 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #15

    WW – GOOD QUESTION – not sure.

    I’ve copied lewspi’s list with my thoughts on each link…

    Ionut Radu – no idea
    Jordan Pickford – no chance
    Tom Heaton – unlikely
    Orestis Karnezis – no idea
    Reina – could hold water

    Callum chambers – no thanks
    Harry Maguire – spurs probably
    Kevin Malcuit – no idea
    Gregory Van Der Wiel – no thanks
    Ryan Shawcross – unlikely
    Carl Jenkinson – can’t see it
    Josef Yarney – who
    Ben Gibson – no better than we have
    Davide Santon – no thanks
    Jozo Simunovic – possibly
    Luca Caldirola – too inury prone
    Mikael Nade – who
    Kieran Tierney – possibly
    Brian Oviedo – no thanks injury prone
    Abdul Baba Rahman – loan but unlikely
    Eliaquim Mangala – yes please
    Peter Ankersen – who
    Ruben Semedo – not seen enough of him
    Wes Morgan – unlikely
    Nathan Ake – yes but unlikely
    Kieran Gibbs – I’d take a gamble on him
    Phil Barnsley – no ta
    Efe Ambrose – no thanks
    Andrew Robertson – no thanks
    Jeison Murillo – unlikely

    Gylfi Sigurdsson – love him but too expensive
    William carvalho – ditto
    Sam Clucas – better out there
    Fabian Delph – yes please
    Aaron Ramsey – can’t see it
    Jean Michael Seri – who
    James McCarthy – maybe but can’t see it
    Tom Cairney – yes please
    Oghenekaro Etebo – who
    Yaya Toure – staying at city
    Fernando – a bit expensive but I’d have him
    Gabriel Pires – worth a punt
    Ruben Loftus-Cheek – don’t want loan thanks
    Ryan Boudedouz – unlikely
    Aaron Mooy – yes please
    Mehdi Abeid – no thanks

    Marcus Coco – who
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – no chance
    Bright Osayi-Samuel – no
    Frank Acheampong – possibly
    Moussa Sissoko – pull the other one
    Jay Rodriguez – unlikely
    Christian Atsu – signed
    Tom Ince – no thanks
    Oghenekaro Etebo –who
    Nicolas Pepe – worth a punt
    Yann Karamoh – no idea
    Andros Townsend – think he will stay at palace
    Clinton Mata – who
    Dion Pereira – probably stay at watford
    Tom Lawrence – can’t see it
    Seyi Ojo – like him but unlikely

    Willian Jose – who
    George Thomas – what
    Andre Gray – yes please
    Jamie Vardy – unlikely
    Jermaine Defoe – Bournemouth now
    Tammy Abraham – 2nd choice yes
    Jay Rodriguez – unlikely
    Daniel Sturridge – unlikely
    Jonathan Walters – no thanks
    Sandro Ramirez – possibly but sounds like athletico bound
    Kasper Dollberg – who
    Arnel Jakupovic – who
    Chris Wood – can’t see it
    Josh King – yes please
    Mattia Destro – unlikely
    Kelechi Ihenacho – my 1st choice but unlikely
    Henry Onyekuru – can’t see it
    Ashley Barnes – no thanks
    Michy Batshuayi – rather permanent deals but I’d take him 1st season back

    I think a lot of our signings won’t even have been rumoured. Good luck rafa.

  • AncientC

    May 29, 2017 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #16

    Man City were subsidising Adebayor’s wages at Tottenham, as in over the full length of his contract, not a loan. Then again, Adebayor was a bit of a waster who insisted on being paid-off in full, at any club that wanted rid of him. Tottenham would have been subsidising Adebayor’s pay at Palace too – meaning Adebayor was at one point being paid by 3 different clubs at once lol.

    Goes to show Man City will front up money if they want to cut their losses on a player.


    May 29, 2017 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #17

    I really don’t know mate I don’t know much about Lyons finances but they will get a big lump sum for Lacazette (45 mill plus surely) so maybe theyd use that for wages?

    Might be right on City paying wages for players moved on though I don’t know much about it

    Am I right in thinking tgeres something about domestic loans aswell? I don’t want us to have too many loans tbh am not a fan of tgem but needs must atm. And again u might be right about players being moved on I’ve got no clue

  • Ron Knee

    May 29, 2017 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #18

    Huddersfield v Reading tonight. Thank God we’re out of it!

  • OneAlanShearer

    May 29, 2017 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #19

    Ancient good point

    Talking about city. Rafa could get a lot of quality if he just shopped there alone.

    Cabelero or





    It’s going to be one hell of a summer.

  • OneAlanShearer

    May 29, 2017 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #20

    Ron – agreed such a relief to be promoted. Tonights match is defence versus attack as far as I can see. Reading defending as a team and Huddersfield throwing the kitchen sink at them. Tough game to call..

  • Ron Knee

    May 29, 2017 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #21


    I imagine NUFC travelling supporters would prefer a Huddersfield win!

  • OneAlanShearer

    May 29, 2017 at 10:44 AM

    Comment #22

    Ron – indeed.

  • jayphoto

    May 29, 2017 at 10:48 AM

    Comment #23

    @leecharnley – pretty sure Hernandez is moving to the MLS. He’s American born or raised (can’t remember which) read an article a while ago that was saying as far as USA is concerned, the revenue and hype/buzz that hernandez would generate if he moves in his prime would be on par with Ronaldo or messi such is his standing there. Would become the MLS highest earner too. Got LA Galaxy written allll over him

  • Clematis

    May 29, 2017 at 10:49 AM

    Comment #24

    OneAlanShearer @ 10: 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    May 29, 2017 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #25

    I ‘huddersfield’ would be our ‘derby match next season if not then it would be Burnley – Ganna be some travelling’ for the away fans.

    Canny if you are a London based Geordie though

  • jayphoto

    May 29, 2017 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #26

    can see reading winning tonight! Stams job there has maybe been understated (possibly because hes a complete tool?) but as a team they are a really top side and I think they are better set up than Huddersfield across the park. Just think the fact that half of huddersfields side will be in the premier league regardless might swing it (ward, Brown, Mooy etc) whereas most of readings side will be playing for their lives as this’ll be their only real shot at becoming premier league players.
    Similar, Stam comes with a winning mentality and coolness built from his playing days, knows how to perform under pressure. For me, the first bit of pressure wagner ever faced as a manager in his career was in the home game to Newcastle and him and his side bottled it (and the subsequent games after it) whilst reading just stayed true to their course

  • jayphoto

    May 29, 2017 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #27

    The Mangala rumours if I’m honest have the feel about them that his people are trying to put pressure on Valencia to sort the transfer out.. reckon they’ll probably end up moving on Abdennour or Garay and use the money to sort Mangala…for £15m I don’t think you could buy better at his age, the guy has a everything, just never really got the chance at Man City, but to be fair, they (like us) have made many a world class centreback look error prone

  • Ron Knee

    May 29, 2017 at 11:03 AM

    Comment #28

    RIP John Noakes

  • jayphoto

    May 29, 2017 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #29

    Surprised we’ve not been linked to Mamadou Sakho yet… gotta be coming surely.. rafas Liverpool contacts, hes a left footed CB, looked like a rock at palace, Klopp hates him, 15m price, 27… Its got NUFC rumour written all over it

  • AncientC

    May 29, 2017 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #30

    You can get Reading at almost 3/1. Amazingly generous odds. I would expect Reading to control the possession, and if they get the first goal, they will just smother the life out of Huddersfield like a Boa-constrictor.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    May 29, 2017 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #31


    He would tear up the MLS as well! Ah well he would have been ideal in Rafas team hopefully we are looking at someone of his quality !

  • hibbit

    May 29, 2017 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #32

    one off game anyone can win it
    a lot depends who’s carrying the luck
    think it’s very hard not to feel the pressure of this game

  • jayphoto

    May 29, 2017 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #33

    @Lee Charnley – yeah, be a huge signing for their league. I like the MLS project a lot, interesting that they’ve realised old former stars aren’t the way to go. The American ‘jobber’ players are simply too athletic, more so than in the premier league even, players get zero time on the ball, it’s manic. The central American/Mexican players have great technical skills too. It’s made players like gerrard/lampard look super past it as they just get no time to think and so much emphasis is on running which has allowed lesser players like wright Phillips to excel. So interesting.
    As a Mexican god, chicarito would be bigger than beckham if he moves to LA. Think I saw that the league want him to move to New York. Would deffo put my money on him going out there tho.
    Similarly, their are a fair few young americans and Mexicans that could really make a mark on the premier league given the chance.. Matarrita at new York, Kellyn Acosta from Dallas, hector villabla at Atlanta, Jordan morris at seattle could all be developed into good premier league players if a team took the plunge

  • cyprus

    May 29, 2017 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #34

    Had predicted Reading from the start

    But would prefer Huddersfield to go up. In any case, they hounded us almost till the end. Probably ‘drove’ us to winning that thing.

  • ShirebrookToon

    May 29, 2017 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #35

    How many more names will we be linked with this week


    May 29, 2017 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #36

    Just read on sky site(for what its worth)…that we have tabled a 15m euro bid for semedo of lisbon, club wants 20m but players determination to join us should push the deal thru…make of that what u will.
    See how mooy plays today as i would like to think we myt be interested in signing him…good player,nowt spectacular…but could be a great addition to the squad.


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