Some Worrying Words From Benitez On His Newcastle Project

Rafa has talked about his misunderstanding with Mike Ashley or whatever it was this summer.

But Rafa certainly feels let down by the Newcastle owner, and he didn’t get the funds he was expecting this summer, and therefore the manager has not been able to bring in the level of player he had expected.

It also doesn’t help that we have lost our first three games, but Rafa is willing to stay on and work hard to keep the club in the Premier League by next May, and he seems confident he can improve the players and the team.

The one thing we have going for us is the undoubted talent and skill of Rafa as a manager, and coach and his massive experience in football including over six seasons in the Premier League.

But we wonder what will happen next summer when Rafa will be unwilling to fully trust Mike Ashley unless they can sort out their differences.

Rafa Benitez – different priorities than owner Mike Ashley

The crux of the matter seems to be a difference in ambition for the club between the two men.

Rafa wants to build a dynasty at Newcastle but if he’s not allowed to do that by the owner you cannot really expect him to stay around.

Many clubs will just jump at the chance to take Rafa Benitez as their manager.

Mike Ashley wants a well-run club financially, but once again he seems to be putting the financial condition to be more important than the quality of the playing staff.

That’s essentially what’s happened this summer.

We could easily have borrowed money on the funds (over £100M) we will get from the Premier League next May but we didn’t, and we are again penny-pinching in the transfer window and look like paupers in the Premier League.

Rafa has been talking in the Chronicle today, and he speaks very candidly about what he wants to do at Newcastle.

Rafa says that by the time he leaves Newcastle, whenever that is, he intends to leave the club in a better state than when he joined us 18 months ago.

This is what Rafa has said as reported in the Chronicle:

“When I said I would stay it was because of the city, the fans, the stature of the club, the Premier League, close to my family,”

“We won the Championship and we made £30M profit. I had a meeting with Mike and I was expecting we could be in a better position than we are now. We are not.”

“We will see if we can improve as much as we can this week. I will try to do my job.”

“How much can I improve the team? It depends on how well we work and how much the players can learn.”

“My aim is trying to improve things, so when I leave, whenever it is, I would like to be sure that the team and the football club will be better.”

“Normally, managers talk about projects saying they need four or five years. I’m not talking about that because you never know in football.”

“But when we came here we knew there were some issues and we had to improve things. I am sure we have improved some things. But we need to improve more.”

“What I want is that we have a football vision and allow the business to also be productive and make a profit, but football has to be a priority.”

“Don’t forget, I went to Real Madrid – there was no project – Napoli, Inter, no project.”

“In England, you can talk about that, when I went to Liverpool we said: ‘Oh, in three years we can start challenging for titles.’”

“In Europe it is more difficult to do that. Newcastle is a club that has potential and we will try to reach that.”

“You can control what you can control. Then we have to be sure that the players after September 1 realize this is the squad that we have.”

“Can we improve? Can we improve the set pieces? Can we improve everything?”

“The way we do things – in my experience, some things you can change, but sometimes you need more time.”

“I know where we are. I am trying to work with these limitations, trying to do our best.”

“I do not want to come back to whether or not I am happy. Mike gave an interview and was very clear: ‘So I did not give enough money to Rafa. I didn’t do it.’”

“Why? It was very clear. I know the position and now I have to try to improve the team and we have some days to do it.”

“Then we will see after, how much the team can improve.”

We really hope Mike Ashley is not screwing this up (again) – but the last three months have not been good for Newcastle United – that’s a fact.

We can only hope Rafa improves the team, and Mike Ashley supports him financially in January and next summer.

But we’ve also said that before.

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Comments welcome.

126 comments so far

  • Veltman

    Aug 26, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    Comment #1

    Jail – i was pointing out the alternatives for those who said what will happen if he walks.Whether they want to come or not is different matter.

  • Lindisfarne

    Aug 26, 2017 at 8:30 AM

    Comment #2

    It was ever thus:

    Diamé hinted that debilitating off-field politics are exerting a detrimental dressing-room impact. “If some stuff happens outside it can maybe affect us in, how can I say, our preparations for the game,” he said. “But we won’t allow that to happen on the pitch. We’re always hearing a lot of people saying we need new signings and more strength but I believe we have enough quality. We need to fight, show character and carry the responsibility ourselves. No one said it was going to be easy.”

  • Lindisfarne

    Aug 26, 2017 at 8:35 AM

    Comment #3

    Ashley attempts to reduce debt
    Despite being responsible for the increase in debt, Ashley refused to capitalise (basically write off) any of his loan to the club like so many other wealthy football club owners have done previously (for example, Ehort wrote off £101m of SAFC’s debt). He was determined that his personal loan should be repaid out of the club’s funds. What was his strategy for doing this?

    By selling our best players, cutting costs to the bone and hoarding the unprecedented Sky TV money. This resulted in NUFC being the most profitable club in the Premier League from 2011 to 2015 and the net debt reducing to £80m. There was an alternative and less painful way to reduce the debt. This involved actually growing the club’s income. This is how the likes of Arsenal and Man Utd have managed to reduce their massive debts. Growing the club would have prevented the need to sell our best players and in turn generated more income through merit payments, prize money, increased merchandising, gate money etc.

  • hibbit

    Aug 26, 2017 at 8:36 AM

    Comment #4

    Jail for Ashley
    who do think is in control of this constant drip feed of information i think it has Bishop written all over it

    i would be very surprised if Rafa’s people allowed him sign a contract with a clause like that in it
    i can understand the bit with the other club bit for Rafa to have to pay 6m to leave is farcical and no self respecting contract layer would allow there client to sign a contract with such a clause in it
    especially when there client was in the driving seat

  • Lindisfarne

    Aug 26, 2017 at 8:37 AM

    Comment #5

    If true, this supports my opinion of Mike Ashley.

  • Lindisfarne

    Aug 26, 2017 at 8:38 AM

    Comment #6

    If true, this supports my opinion of Mike Ashley.

  • sing in the corner

    Aug 26, 2017 at 8:40 AM

    Comment #7

    Been on a holiday and spent some time wading through the tide of catharsis. Tough going and still not finished! Bit like being a Toon fan. 🙂
    Spot on Rafa from last post sending a message to match going fans about what’s needed in the 90mins if you love your club and want to play in the PL..
    We have problems and need a result to get a foot hold, for sure.
    I’m not going to play the one upmanship game on a blog – who can belittle Rafa, this player or that player with the coolest sounding quip?
    The team needs supporting, dragging up by the bootlaces if that’s what it takes. There have been way more downs than ups at this club. I understand that, and love the good times, hate the bad like anyone else. But I’m gong to the match, sticking with Rafa and whoever pulls on the shirt this afternoon, win lose or draw.
    No one ever said it was gonna be easy. Keep your faith, those who still have it. Fans support the team through thick and thin. Everyone should ask themselves what can you do to support your team ?

  • nufc 11

    Aug 26, 2017 at 8:42 AM

    Comment #8

    God it really is being played out to the bitter bitter end. Can’t understand why Ashley didn’t borrow against the 100million nufc would get next summer and give the funds to rafa to keep nufc making a 100million every season in Pl not a yo yo club. I guess with the endless court hearings and the 900million property development in London and the always looking around for distressed businesses to buy into Mike Ashley has other priorities than nufc.

  • posada

    Aug 26, 2017 at 8:52 AM

    Comment #9

    Things clearly not right.
    The contractual stand off between owner and manager has started.
    Where will it end.

    The bed sheet brigade are on stand by.

  • Lindisfarne

    Aug 26, 2017 at 8:53 AM

    Comment #10

    On to matters on the pitch, despite the hysteria about Diame not scoring with the opportunities he had, what are the differences between him and Merino?

    I must admit that I can only judge from the TV highlights that I have seen, but I think of Diame as being good defensively, breaking up play, full of energy and strength, which is what we need in the middle of the pitch. I like Merino but he is still settling in, does not have a lot of experience and consequently his passing was awful at times.

    We certainly lack technical creativity without Shelvey but as a defensive 6 I would play Hayden and Diame in the holding roles. With two from Atsu, Aarons and Murphy (he will only improve) giving speed from the flanks and Ritchie playing at 10 for his link up play and strength on the ball.

  • expatmag

    Aug 26, 2017 at 8:53 AM

    Comment #11

    I have to laugh at the number of people wetting their knickers on here.

    Rafa would know the way Ashley works. Facts remain that even like teams like Arsenal, we are top heavy on players numbers and it is fair to say staff reductions before increasing numbers should occur first.

    Transfr fees are severely hampering lots of clubs this summer, not just us and this has resulted in forms of panic buying (Ake to Bournemouth, Pickford to Everton, Gray to Watford) to name some. We dont have the money as a result of the relegation and the so called 30 millon pound profit from 2 seasons ago is fantasy.

    Rafa and his staff have the ability and experience to get the best out of ordinary players and it us tine he stopped moaning and just got on with it. If he us not happy, then he can always resign, as much as I would hate to see it happen..

    The 2 league results and performances were down to the following:

    Spurs……two of our better defenders injured in the first galf an hour

  • expatmag

    Aug 26, 2017 at 8:55 AM

    Comment #12

    Spurs……and Shelvey doing the unthinkable

    Huddersfield….they took their one and only chance whilst we didnt…..and Rafas substitutions were strange.

  • lochinvar

    Aug 26, 2017 at 8:56 AM

    Comment #13

    Just feel that players such as Diame who are underwhelming in their attitude and performances as we the fans see it should keep his own counsel and stop mouthing on on external influences. It’s his job to focus in training, get super fit and perform in matches. RMA – Right mental attitude please but not in the Shelvey way !

  • Jib

    Aug 26, 2017 at 8:56 AM

    Comment #14

    Premature submitulation methinks

  • toontaff2

    Aug 26, 2017 at 8:58 AM

    Comment #15

    Manquillo Lascalles Clark Mbemba
    Hayden Merino
    Ritchie Perez Atsu

    subs: Darlow, Jesus, Saivet, Diame, Murphy, Aarons, Mitro

    5-1 Toon win 😆

  • toontaff2

    Aug 26, 2017 at 8:59 AM

    Comment #16

    The sun is shining!
    Back in the happy clappers’ camp with BobbyBlah and MagsPussy 😮
    Positivity, positivity, positivity!
    Rentokil style, for the WUM’s – ZAP!

  • hellodjo

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:00 AM

    Comment #17

    Surprised more people think we’ll lose than win against West Ham? We have every chance of beating them

  • expatmag

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:01 AM

    Comment #18

    On the subject of transfers, with Riviere gone, Dejong and Lazaars as good as gone and the likes of Krul Hanley and Colback somd or loaned out, hopefully, he will be allowed to bring in a few quality players in key positions.

    I doubt that will include the likes of Slimani Gibbs and Jovetic though.

    One final point…..some of you need to understand that Newcastle United is NOT the attractive proposition it used to be for players these days due mainly to the owner, low salaries, geographical location and recent hhstory as strugglers.

  • posada

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:07 AM

    Comment #19


    Not a lot of positives in your posts there. It sounds to me like it’s you wetting your knickers.

  • toontaff2

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:07 AM

    Comment #20

    Great piece in re:Rivierelinho! The Squatter!
    Reckons his contract was terminated, so no transfer fee.
    Wonder if we had to pay him to bugger off back to the land of the cheese eating, garlic stinking, surrender monkeys?

  • Offkey

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:08 AM

    Comment #21

    Our club gets run like the country, austerity and only serving the needs of the rich (MA). No vision, no investment, living within our means without any understanding that by growing the club through investment would allow debts to be cleared all the quicker

  • Mister Tuff

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:09 AM

    Comment #22

    jesper – congrats on your new born.

  • jimmysmith

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:10 AM

    Comment #23

    I think Newcastle are one season away from offering competitive salaries sustainably. This is a big part of the problem. We have the manager, the stadium, and support. Good players will come if the money is right, but Ashley is saying next season. Next season as things stand of course we’ll have players signed this term that we’d like to get shot of. You can understand Rafa’s frustration. It does seem a false economy.

  • Billy Whitehursts V sign

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:11 AM

    Comment #24

    Bingo time!

    Manquillo lascelles clark mbemba
    Hayden merino
    Ritchie petez atsu

    The problem we have is that I found it difficult to come up with many viable alternatives to the above.
    We could throw in Gamez. Diame could get a start somewhere. I dont fany either!
    Gayle could start again, possibly even Mitro.
    Maybe mess Ritchie about to squeeze in Murphy or aarons?
    For me it virtually picked itself. We could certainly do with a few more new faces this week!
    That said, we will win, hard faught nerve wracking 2-1

  • sing in the corner

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:11 AM

    Comment #25

    Expat @18
    I think that is realistic and common sense, it just surprises me that it needs pointing out! Weirdly, Some will just dismiss it and call you an up and coming Ashley loving happy clapper for saying it mind. 🙂
    Who’d be an NUFC blogger eh?

    And with that, off out to enjoy the late August gin clear sunny skies. Bloody optimistic UK weather loving ne’er do well that I am.

  • Reilly

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:13 AM

    Comment #26

    Is anyone really surprised about this.
    The club will always be in a crisis under the fat man.

  • lochinvar

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:14 AM

    Comment #27

    Toontaff2@20 – didn’t realise that Rivelino had moved to Dunderland

    Lindisfarne ( earlier topic ) – the article on Rafa – think I spotted that via the Press Association

    Jesper – welcome to Ellie

  • jimmysmith

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:22 AM

    Comment #28

    Ashley won’t allow borrowing to buy, will he? That’s it. That’s where he draws the line. He’ll lend the club money to drag itself out of the shit, but not to progress. Progress must be achieved sustainably, and that is what Rafa has taken on, if he didn’t know it beforehand.

  • Offkey

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:26 AM

    Comment #29

    So, if Rafa made no profit in the last transfer windows we would have had nothing to spend this window…..or would MA have stripped some wall paper.

  • Offkey

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #30

    He would have made another loan.

  • Belfast

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:31 AM

    Comment #31

    Veltman I don’t want to piss on your chips, but you should prepare yourself for Ian Holloway, Stuart Pearce or Steve Evans and forget about the others.

  • c-dog

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:38 AM

    Comment #32

    Without Shelvey I can’t see us getting anything. We need a win desperately. Here’s to hoping. Howay!

  • toontaff2

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #33

    Holloway or Evans would be fun!
    Steve Evans could wear his sombrero and flip flops, go topless and eat Greggsies all game.
    Ian Holloway could do a half-time stand up comedy stint.
    May as well go full on circus.

  • Pootle2118

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #34

    Rafa bingo

    Manquillo Lascells Clark Mbemba
    Merino Hayden
    Ritchie Diame Atsu

  • Jib

    Aug 26, 2017 at 10:06 AM

    Comment #35
  • Offkey

    Aug 26, 2017 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #36

    So loan it anyway, give us a better chance of surviving, keep Rafa happy, keep the feel good factor and ride the wave, balance the books when we are making shed loads in the pl

    I am not saying do a Leeds and spend to get champions league, I’m saying compete with the bottom 10 teams

  • lesh

    Aug 26, 2017 at 10:13 AM

    Comment #37


    I admire your optimism but Ashley is the key to taking the Club forward.

    His resistance to borrowing may be understandable and if there’s a need for short-term austerity, fine – provided it’s part of a strategy to grow the Club. But if he wants it to work, he needs to get the key stakeholders to understand his plans and more to the point, buy into it. Communication is important in any business yet Ashley clearly does not or will not understand the need for and the benefits of it.

    Ashley’s supposed to be keen to sell his grossly overpriced Club or entertain the idea of investment partners but there is a major hurdle to be cleared before either happens – he’s been shown to be a psychopathic liar a thus totally untrustworthy. And he wonders why he’s so passionately and probably universally disliked in the business world and the world at large. We’ll, that’s not fair on Ashley – he’d probably get on famously with the likes of Philip Green, the Murdochs, Trump and all of the others we normal humans despise.

    The sooner he gets out of Newcastle United the better and there’s no doubt there’d be many thousands turn up to see!

  • magspuggy

    Aug 26, 2017 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #38

    Jesper. Congrats mate. Taffys back on the happy bus eh i shall be around to collect the 5/1 subs later. Rafa not looking at a 3-5 year plan does not sound good at all as its quite obvious we arnt ganning balls to the wall this season. Sad times indeed. I just dont get why ashley will allow panic buying in jan yet wont allow us to spend 50 million of the clubs money now. Its madness jan sales put the prices up not doon panic buying comes at a cost.
    Getting 3 points today is what matters it will lift the mood and i hope we can do it.

    5-1 the toon with a woodman hattie 🙂

  • jimmysmith

    Aug 26, 2017 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #39

    I’m not that optimistic, but will be more so if Rafa is still wth us this time next year. This year is essentially about the money we’ll get should we stay up, as far as I can tell.

  • lesh

    Aug 26, 2017 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #40


    Fine but short-term austerity’ll only work IF Rafa’s in on the strategy. He doesn’t seem to be and that’s worrying – as it should be for any visionary business manager or owner.


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