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.