Rafa Reveals Some Of His Unique History – He May Be The First Coach To Ever Do This

Rafa Benitez has a degree in Physical Education, and he has been coaching and teaching all his life – something he was born to do.

In the interviews Rafa has recently given he reveals he was always interested in keeping information on the performance of his students (and later his players).

And Rafa could be one of the first people to put this performance-related data on a personal computer – he used a Commodore 64 and wrote his own programs in MS/DOS and then BASIC.

It was something Rafa was interested in doing, and you couldn’t do too much with PCs back in those days.

Rafa Benitez – computer savvy at the very least

He could have been one of the first coaches ever to use PCs in coaching.

This is some of what said as reported in the Chronicle and the Mirror:

“I was a PE teacher and when you teach, you can say ‘you have to do this.’ It’s an order. That’s one way.”

“When I was 13 years old I used to keep notes on all my teammates,” “I still have the books.

“At 13, I went to Real Madrid and started taking notes. I was giving points and marks to our players after every game, writing down the top scorers.”

“I still have everything. When I was 16, I was coach in the summer and a player. When I was at university at 17, 18, I was player, coach, manager.

“I used to put all the training sessions on to a computer, a Commodore 64, I didn’t play games on it, I put information on there.”

“I used MS-DOS, then learned Basic, to hold the info.”

“It was very basic, but at this time I was using computers when nobody was using computers.”

“What I learned is that you have to be careful with computers. They give too much information.”

“You need to be sure you have the right information and at the same time, one thing I don’t want to do – and it’s a key thing – is lose the feeling.

“I know how you feel when you make a mistake. Like a lot of professionals, I can hear when you are kicking the ball properly or not just by the sound.”

“I now have all the training sessions of my players. For instance, my coaches here at Newcastle, Antonio Gomez Perez and Mikel Antia.”

“I saw them play at 16 and now they are 45 and with me. I have them on my computers!”

At some point in the future, Rafa needs to write a book about his unique coaching methods – maybe after he’s won his first trophy for Newcastle.

One of the local journalists could write it with Rafa and do most of the writing.

It would be a fascinating book from a fascinating coach.

Here’s what the Commodore 64 looked like way back then …

Comments welcome.

23 comments so far

  • A Pain in the Blog

    Mar 21, 2018 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #1

    Good article Ed.

    It shows, firstly, that Rafa is an intelligent man of many diverse talents and, secondly, that all of his talents and efforts are focussed on coaching football in order to improve players and maximise their individual contributions to the overall success of the whole squad.

    We are very lucky to have him.

  • lochinvar

    Mar 21, 2018 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #2

    So what’s the choice then for next season.

    A fit Slimani providing there’s no underlying long term injury for say £10m or Jorgensen for say £20m ?

    Or is there someone else lined up ?
    We’ve been linked with many but who knows ?
    Rafa will.

  • Geordie-john

    Mar 21, 2018 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #3

    VERY LUCKY TO HAVE HIM ! Remember that Mike Cashley ! VERY LUCKY !

  • Geordie-john

    Mar 21, 2018 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #4

    I think Slimani is hiding an under lying problem ( Hence the rumours of failing a medical ) He has not kicked a ball for us and now his country comes calling and he is up for it. Watch this space, Injured first match then that will justify his so called strain.
    I would rather have the Danish lad for £20M. At least he is fit and healthy and not afraid of the cold weather unlike some past and present.

  • hibbit

    Mar 21, 2018 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #5

    do you think Leicester would take £10m for Slimani he cost £29m when moved from Sporting ????

  • ShirebrookToon

    Mar 21, 2018 at 10:49 AM

    Comment #6

    Wonder if lard arse will sack Penfold and put that job on Rafa aswell. Now that he knows he can use computers. Think of the money he could save doing that.

    Ooooooofffff suit you sir!!

  • martoon

    Mar 21, 2018 at 10:51 AM

    Comment #7

    I haven’t seen a lot of Jorgensen but I would guess his recent loss of form is probably because we’ve ‘turned his head’. He thought he was on his way here and probably bitterly disappointed when it didn’t happen – difficult to keep you focus after something like that!

  • lochinvar

    Mar 21, 2018 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #8

    Moot point.
    I knew Slimani had cost Leicester some when they bought him but £29m wow, bet they won’t get that back from Ashley for a player with a fitness/injury record. If we baulked at more than £15m for Jorgensen then Slimani is going back to Leicester with a fit to work note from NUFC and a bill for all his physio

  • TheJimBelow

    Mar 21, 2018 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #9

    Great piece to read indeed Ed!
    Admire the dedication and instinct from Rafa, what a proper football bloke and an advert for the beautiful game 🙂

  • Jib

    Mar 21, 2018 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #10

    There are players out there if you can catch them right
    The top scorer in Serie A this season , Lazio’s Ciro Immobile
    has been all over the shop in his career.
    Came through Juventus’ system and was loaned all over Italy
    as a young’un.
    Then sold to Genoa – nada
    Torino – on fire 25 goals 35 games
    Torino sold him to Dortmund £18m – nada
    Borussia sold him to Sevilla £14 m – nada
    Sevilla loaned back to Torino – nada
    Lazio bought him for £7.5m
    50 goals in 60 games !!!!!!!

    nada = about 1 goal in 6 or 7

  • TheJimBelow

    Mar 21, 2018 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #11


    Great point about Jorgensen and his apparent going off the boil, who wouldn’t be affected by the chance of moving to a bigger better club in a bigger better league managed by Rafa Benitez AND doubling their wages, only for it to fizzle out like a disappointing firework!
    Not the household signing many would hope for or expect I guess, but then neither was Merino or Lascelles or Dubravka etc.
    If, IF, we are to spend anything like 20m on a striker it is as much of a gamble on himself than on Josh King, Troy Deeney et al.
    In my humble opinion 🙂

  • TheJimBelow

    Mar 21, 2018 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #12


    Good point man, some players just seem to click at a certain club or under a certain manager.
    Had a very interesting chat with a friend earlier who supports Liverpool, of the teams likely to go down, would I have any of their players particularly strikers at Newcastle. First name sprung to mind surprising even myself??

    Rondón. Go figure!

  • martoon

    Mar 21, 2018 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #13

    TheJimBelow @11 Cheers – I think you’ve put quite succinctly what I was thinking. As I say I haven’t seen much of him but if Rafa rates him then it’s good enough for me. Also his drop in form might lower his price in the Summer – maybe an Ashely cunning plan! :mrgreen:

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Mar 21, 2018 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #14

    Italian players tend to perform rubbish when they go abroad so it’s no surprise to see that Ciro struggled. Every league is fast compared to Italy. Also I’d say Jorgensen (in terms of goals) has done nada his whole career, in poor leagues too. Only 8 goals this season for a top team and the Dutch league is possibly worse than the championship, especially when you consider likelihood of adapting to the premier. I’m not going to mention a player who would score more and create more and is a lot younger.
    I’m not overly optimistic Jorgensen or Slimani will get 15+ a season as neither have great records, and both are at the age strikers start to feel the strain. However I can’t think of anybody else we could get so anyone’s better than Joselu.

  • Jib

    Mar 21, 2018 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #15

    The template for a decent non Brit striker
    would seem to be
    Mid Twenties
    Some time in Serie A
    lots of experience in different leagues
    Mo Salah

    Nothing out of the ordinary until Italy

    Then 36 in 40 at the bindippers !!!!!

  • Jib

    Mar 21, 2018 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #16

    It’ll be interesting to see how well
    Manolo Gabbiadini flourishes under
    Hughes , who , although a twisty faced git
    was a canny striker in his time.

  • lochinvar

    Mar 21, 2018 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #17

    The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
    The charity has raised £12m for cancer research across the North East and Cumbria.

    If NUFC is sold perhaps Ashley and the new owners could boost the coffers with a sizeable donation.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Mar 21, 2018 at 12:36 PM

    Comment #18

    I’m not sure about fake Twitter accounts but the thing about the cost of the plane hire is here in an article by Chris Waugh.
    Bit naughty if it’s not true.

  • toonincheek

    Mar 21, 2018 at 12:41 PM

    Comment #19


    Quite so.
    You wouldn’t think that the takeover speculation
    would have affected us so much, but it DID
    (notwithstanding the absence of Lascelles that was
    an additional factor)

  • toonincheek

    Mar 21, 2018 at 12:44 PM

    Comment #20

    On topic – All credit to Ed for picking up on this.

  • toonincheek

    Mar 21, 2018 at 12:46 PM

    Comment #21

    martoon @13 –

    The cunning plan probably relies on him getting injured.

    Soz – just me being sinnical.

  • hibbit

    Mar 21, 2018 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #22

    Jail for Ashley that’s a very good read thank you
    interesting point that he picks up on the cost of the flight from a so called fake account
    well worth a read t

  • RobLeenio

    Mar 21, 2018 at 12:58 PM

    Comment #23

    There’s an article on BBC Sport analysing the problem positions for Southgate’s England team. These are:
    Central Defence
    Centre Mid (creativity)
    Left Back

    He could largely solve this by calling up Lascelles, Dummett and Shelvey.

    And before people state the obvious, I know Dummett has played for Wales but I’m sure I read a couple of days ago he is still eligible for England.


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