Rafa And His Project At Newcastle – He Wants To Completely Transform The Club

Rafa Benitez knows exactly what it will take to transform Newcastle United into a top club in Europe challenging for honors in the future.

He’s done that at a few clubs – notably, Valencia, Liverpool and Napoli – and now he wants the chance to do that at Newcastle.

Only an owner like Mike Ashley wouldn’t support Rafa in what he wants to do at the club which is why Ashley must sell the club this summer.

Ashley needs to end his inept leadership of the club during which time Newcastle have been relegated twice and exceeded 50 points in the Premier League only once.

Rafa has talked to the Chronicle today and talked again about his Newcastle project.

He provided Mike Ashley last May with a detailed blueprint on the things he wants to change at the club but that seems to have been largely ignored by the owner.

Ashley has restricted Rafa’s spending in all of the last three transfer windows because he prioritizes a good bank account over a good team at the club.

The manager has said he could stay at Newcastle for a long time (10 years) but only if things change and he is supported in what he wants to do – which is, in short, to preside over a complete overhaul of the club.

Otherwise called Rafa’s blueprint he sees all the things that need to be changed and improved at Newcastle to make us into one of the top clubs in Europe.

That’s both as a team and with our facilities, Youth Academy and the like.

We already have the best fans of any club anywhere, an excellent stadium and a world-class manager – now we need a world-class owner.

This is what Rafa has said when it was pointed out to him he could have still been at Liverpool if a change of ownership hadn’t happened when Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett bought the club:

“I was thinking about that when I was at Liverpool because everything was going well, but the change of owners in football now changes everything.”

“Even if you are doing a good job, change the owner, change managers, change philosophy or strategy.”

“So it’s very difficult now in football to have a manager so many years at any team, but especially at a top side.”

“Today I was reading an article about the noisiest fans in the league (Newcastle) – when you have all these things in place and then you are winning, you want to stay there forever.”

“The point when you talk about the Academy is it always takes some time.”

“But at the same time, you know you cannot find a lot of young good players anywhere, and if you find some of them, the top sides will pay and they will get them.”

“It’s not, ‘We have 10 players, we will be successful’.”

“No, because if you have 10 fairly good players in the Academy, five will go after one year because someone comes with a big offer and the agent or the parents say, ‘We will go there’.”

“You have to create a structure that will allow you to get some players every year, one player for the squad.”

“Liverpool is the team that I know best.”

“To have a player like Steven Gerrard, you can get one every 20 years, maybe, but you have to have one player that can be part of the squad.”

“Then if you are lucky enough in 10 years, you have Gerrard.” “Fine, but you have 10 players who can be part of the squad.”

“That is the key if you want to save money, have some heart and some passion with your local players,.”

“And at the same time have the possibility to spend some of the money that you are saving by not paying big money for these players.”

“You are saving this money to sign the top scorer in Europe, whatever.”

“That is a project, that is something that you have to do.”

“But you have to have in mind that you have to improve the Academy, you have to improve the facilities, you have to attract people with that.”

“And at the same time, you have to sign some senior players to give confidence to the others and to make the difference.”

Rafa’ comments should make for some good reading by any prospective owners who are thinking of buying Newcastle United this summer.

What deal it could be for say £350M.

Comments welcome.

12 comments so far

  • Jib

    Apr 15, 2018 at 10:21 AM

    Comment #1

    I cannot believe on matchday that there are posts
    about selling the club.

    Ed must be really hard up this month.

  • Jib

    Apr 15, 2018 at 10:21 AM

    Comment #2

    posts = articles

  • lochinvar

    Apr 15, 2018 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #3

    Build it and they will come..

    Well we’re already here so build it bigger and better and we’ll stay and more will come

  • RobLeenio

    Apr 15, 2018 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #4

    Optimism is abounding in the week end sunshine. Brighton and Hudds to stay up, Rafa to sign a new contract within weeks and Ronaldo through the door by the end of July

    Ok, the last bit may be fantasy, but this next is deadly serious

    NUFC 3, Arsenal 0


  • lochinvar

    Apr 15, 2018 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #5

    It’s only a tactic to make Arsenal think we’re in turmoil and then wham we hit them where it hurts

  • Jib

    Apr 15, 2018 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #6

    oh OK
    placing tips of middle fingers on
    tips of thumbs and going


  • Tsunki

    Apr 15, 2018 at 10:48 AM

    Comment #7

    Can’t you do two tasks at once jib? Awwww…

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 15, 2018 at 10:48 AM

    Comment #8

    Good article in Sunday Times on Rafa if someone wants to post it.

  • DubaiMicky

    Apr 15, 2018 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #9

    This one Munster?


    Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez’s finest hour arrives late

    Today Arsenal meet a Newcastle side finishing the season strongly, just as their wily manager said they would.

    At the end of a press conference Rafa Benitez likes to kick back and chat, but always about football and often about his early career. Reporters settle in for the long haul. They know they’re in for some lovely — but utterly unusable — material about Valladolid, Tenerife and Extremadura.

    Yet what keeps Benitez reminding everybody of his roots is not fake humility but a very real conviction that being a boss is about the toil, and the toil in football is as worthy at the bottom as at the top; as when you have little money and many challenges, and when you are winning the Champions League.

    Once, when he was at Liverpool and a rivalry with Jose Mourinho was at its peak, somebody asked who was the best manager. “The best manager could be somebody in the fourth league,” Benitez replied. Perhaps somebody there was surmounting difficulties greater than any colleague faced, only without publicity — that was Benitez’s point.

    Which brings us to Newcastle. “This could be Rafa’s greatest achievement, you know,” said a long-term aide last week on the prospect of Newcastle not only staying up but finishing significantly clear of trouble — maybe even in the top 10. Benitez sees it that way.

    Istanbul will remain untoppable as a single peak and two titles plus a Uefa Cup make his three years with Valencia a uniquely impressive stint, but the conditions under which those successes were achieved did not seem as tricky as ones he has lived with this season.

    Leading Chelsea to Europa League triumph, when he worked as a mere “interim” amid fan protest, was another ordeal, but never has he drawn on his resilience like in the northeast.

    No need to trawl through the whole St James’ Park soap opera again: suffice to say that amid broken transfer promises, failed takeovers and febrile times, Benitez has piloted one of the worst squads in the hardest (and increasingly harder) competition to respectability.

    Some what Benitez would call “facts”. Newcastle’s net spend in 2017-18 is £22.4m. Huddersfield’s is £45.8m and Brighton’s £58.1m. As well as investing less than half as much on players as their fellow promoted clubs, Newcastle also spent less than West Brom, Watford, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Bournemouth. Though more, it has to be said for balance, than West Ham, Swansea and Stoke.

    One of the worst squads? Look at the individual output. Newcastle’s top scorer is Dwight Gayle. Five goals. Before this weekend, that made him joint 48th top scorer in the Premier League. Newcastle’s leading assists man is Matt Ritchie, five assists — joint 34th in the division. Defensively their players compare better but their best in the significant categories, Mikel Merino, Florian Lejeune and Jamaal Lascelles, did not make any top 15s. Perhaps only at goalkeeper does Benitez have somebody individually outstanding. Perhaps — because while Martin Dubravka has been revelatory since joining from Sparta Prague for a £1.8m loan fee, he has only played six games, not enough to be definitive.

    What this tells you is that Newcastle’s position is down to collective effort and strategies, the hallmark of top coaching. One dynamic stands out: Newcastle have had the lowest possession in the top flight yet eighth best shots on target per game. Benitez has coached possession teams and counterattacking ones — and with Newcastle has gone down the latter route, which makes sense when your quality is lacking. He’s wily. Another thing the disadvantaged coach can do is make the most of set plays — and Newcastle are joint sixth for set-piece goals.

    Via rotation and a well-timed training break in Murcia, Newcastle are coming strongly in the final third of the season, just as Benitez promised they would. Getting sides to peak at the business end of campaigns is another managerial art and it’s something Benitez excels at.

    His Liverpool won Champions Leagues and FA Cups in games involving extra-time at the end of gruelling years, while Chelsea won the Europa League in their 67th of 68 games in 2012-13, and his Valencia were always better in the second half of the season than first. Newcastle, of course, pipped Brighton late to the Championship title last year and now here they are, peaking again. Today Benitez meets an old friend who knows a thing or two about lasting the course. He and Arsène Wenger have long enjoyed a cordiality and mutual respect not there in Benitez’s relationship with other long-term adversaries, such as Mourinho or Sir Alex Ferguson. Why? “I liked the way his team was playing, his behaviour. He’s somebody who respects others and his approach has always been nice, positive.

    “He is upset like everyone when you lose or when you think something is wrong but still, for me, there was a big difference [between] him and maybe the others,” Benitez said.

    He looks at Wenger’s 22 years with Arsenal a little wistfully. The kind of reign he once dreamt of having at Liverpool? “Yes, for sure. The Liverpool fans and the Newcastle United fans, you can see the similarities. Today I was reading an article about the noisiest fans in the league — when you have all these things and then you are winning, you want to stay there forever.”

    Being that strange mix of geek and romantic that he is, Benitez still chases the hope that the nonsense around Newcastle might one day melt away and he can build towards glory there. He was talking in detail about the academy and about scouting last week. “What I say is that [as a manager] you need a project,” he said. “A project is nice, it’s a good word for just getting some time. But at the same time, you have to do something. I like to work with young players, to improve young players.

    “I have seen a lot of managers talking about projects, doing nothing. So I want to talk about projects, doing something, working every day in the way that we work here.”

    And if you have an extra minute — or 20 — he’d also like to talk about Valladolid.

    Newcastle United v Arsenal
    Sky Sports Main Event, 1.30pm

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 15, 2018 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #10

    Nice one Mickey.

  • DaveD1000

    Apr 15, 2018 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #11

    Good read that

  • ben.g

    Apr 15, 2018 at 11:16 AM

    Comment #12

    That was a good article.
    Wasn’t it Hayden that lived near Rafa and said he used to try and wait in his car untill Rafa went in because he used to keep him talking about football and his team would get cold. But Rafa would see Hayden and wait for him to get out the car! Ha ha

    Rafa is class!


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