Rafa Benitez – How I Fed The Baby And Watched Football Videos At The Same Time

Rafa gave a wide-ranging interview last week with Spanish journalist Guillem Balague, and he talked about several different things.

Rafa is married with two daughters, and he talked about how he is passionate about the game of football and cannot really help himself.

He told the story of when his daughter Claudia was born in the late 1990s, and he fed her during the night at three-hour intervals to give his wife a break.

And at the time he was the manager of Extremadura (1997-1999) and Rafa was able to watch some football videos on upcoming opponents while he fed baby Claudia.

Rafa Benitez talks to Guillem Balague in his Benton office

Here is what Rafa said to Balague, which has bee transcribed by the Chronicle:

“When I was at Extremadura and Claudia my daughter had just been born, my wife was very tired, so I was preparing the bottle, feeding her the bottle.”

“And at the same time watching the videos.”

“Then at 1:00am I was watching the videos, giving her the bottle, taking notes – then I did it again at the next feed at 4:00am or whenever.”

“My wife knows I am quite busy and that I like football.”

“Sometimes when we are getting together for a while, she knows what I am like, my daughters know what I am like.”

“I want to watch a game, and that’s it.”

“The difference is when I was a kid and my Dad wanted to watch the TV, I had to go to another room to watch the game.”

“And I have the same now, but because my daughters want to watch something instead!”

The actions of a fan who is passionate about football.

Newcastle fans can watch the video on Rafa, which took place in his office at Benton last week.

Here’s the YouTube video which lasts 53 minutes.

Comments welcome.


Jack Farish is currently studying for a Master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology at Northumbria University.

His thesis project looks at Premier League fans’ team identification – how well they support and identify with their team.

Jack has put together a relatively short questionnaire of team identification and satisfaction with life; it should take no longer than 10 minutes.

You can help Jack by filling out the survey here.

31 comments so far

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    May 28, 2018 at 11:11 AM

    Comment #1

    Don’t tell Ashley this Rafa! He will have you working behind the merchandise counter while watching scouting videos to get more bang for his buck!!

  • Pitmatic

    May 28, 2018 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #2

    Really hope we don’t sign Rodriguez. Another midget winger who will likely struggle in the PL. Maybe worth a £10m punt, but not the money that’s being talked about.

    Looking at the teams who went down, I’d say Tom Carrol is not a bad player. I wonder how much he’d cost?

  • Jail for Ashley

    May 28, 2018 at 12:00 PM

    Comment #3

    ”I never heard any reference that he was good at languages or that he cared much. He English was strongly accented, suggesting he learned it late in life.

    His Abitur (high school diploma) contained a very poor grading for French, and he did not learn English. In High school in Munich he must had courses in Latin and Greek, but he dropped out. When resuming high school in Switzerland he seems to have skipped Latin and Greek.

    In summary:

    English (heavily accented)
    French (very poorly)
    So the chance he could understand Rafa and his mate chatting away in Spanish seem very remote.

  • Ron Knee

    May 28, 2018 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #4
  • lesh

    May 28, 2018 at 12:04 PM

    Comment #5


    A few threads back you suggested that Rafa was after control of the [transfer] purse strings and he’s asking for more Ryan’s realistically possible. Yes, I can’t see a sensible business owner giving that control away – especially, Ashley.

    However, a sensible owner would give the likes of Rafa a degree of involvement in transfer budgeting and spend. We’ve seen how Rafa’s been expecting things to happen yet is faced with delay, silence or eventually a categoric no, no money. That is not a good way to run a business and it suggests that the purse strings are in Ashley’s hands through Barnes. In principle, that’s fine and it’s right that sign off for substantial spend should be upstairs but if Ashley were to involve Rafa in the final decision making process so he had an input into, understood and bought into financial decisions, I’m sure he’d feel a lot happier having a finger on the financial pulse.

    What I’m driving at is better and honest COMMUNICATION (I’m shouting at Ashley by the way) between Ashley, Rafa and Charnley. It’s not freaking rocket science, it’s the application of basic psychology and good man-management.

  • Bobbybee

    May 28, 2018 at 12:09 PM

    Comment #6

    Muster, that interview has been highlighted by Ed. Not quite an hour, but hey ho.

    C dog, try reading my posts p r o p e r l y – including the big words – and my position on Ashley is pretty clear. I don’t like him, but he owns our club and with £400m I can’t remove him.
    If you knew the history of NUFC – which in my case goes back to the late sixties/early seventies – you would be aware that we’ve only ever had one decent owner and even he blotted his copy book. Ashley is no different from any of them. A money grabbing tw*t.
    So in reality, when you compare history with now, nothing’s changed.
    I’m a Realist pal. It is what it is. Just because I don’t spend every session on here slagging Ashley off, doesn’t mean I like him. I would love to ignore him, as I have all our other owners.
    I support NUFC. Always have. Owners come and go, fans remain.
    One problem is so many of our current fan base joined with KK. There was a club before that. We do have history. And history tells you all our owners have took from Newcastle. Ashley’s just another in a long line of tossers. The KK years was a blip, not the other way round. If you joined under KK – welcome to the real world. 🙂

  • Jail for Ashley

    May 28, 2018 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #7

    A direct quote from the man himself.
    ”In accepting the invitation, Einstein had explained his problems with languages to Rey Pastor:

    “I will accept your invitation on condition that I limit my lectures to the area of science and that I can use drawings and mathematical formulae. Given my complete inability to speak Spanish and my deficient knowledge of French, I would not be able to give my lectures if it were only possible to use words. German is the only language in which I can speak intelligibly about my theory. I look forward to meeting you again and to see your beautiful country for myself”.

  • lesh

    May 28, 2018 at 12:13 PM

    Comment #8


    If Jiblets had posted about Einstein’s linguistic ability, it would be widely assumed that he’d got the info from Google or the like while giving the impression that he had it stored in that huge knowledge bank he claims to have.

    You wouldn’t let people think you’d done the same, surely not

  • Jail for Ashley

    May 28, 2018 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #9

    Any supporter under thirty only joined after KK got here, that’s probably just under half of the support.

  • lesh

    May 28, 2018 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #10


    Aye, none of the club’s owners that I remember (mine goes back to the McKeag/ Westwood era) have been less than keen to make money off the club.

    Making money’s fair enough but the difference between the Hall-Shepherd approach and Ashley’s is that the former at least tried to bring the club success and international acclaim through the heady Keegan days.

  • Jail for Ashley

    May 28, 2018 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #11

    No lesh, I think due to the copy and paste job it’s obvious I’ve Googled it.

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    May 28, 2018 at 12:26 PM

    Comment #12

    Ashley is a bit different to the others that have come before him though. He’s so freakin rich there’s absolutely no need to take anything out of the club at all. He could quite easily pay for his advertising, give Rafa every last penny after running costs, in the form of a clearly defined transfer budget and full authority to spend it as he sees fit. He could quite easily do this, and in doing so have a decent relationship with the fans, enjoy owning the club, come to games, and simply make his profit at the point of sale. I don’t see the problem.

  • Bobbybee

    May 28, 2018 at 12:27 PM

    Comment #13

    Jail, I get that mate, but we also had a history before I started supporting the team too. My point is Ashley is a tw*t in a long long line of tw*ts.
    In the seventies we got relegated. Took us years to get back up. Ditto eighties. So really, if I was an Ashley lover, wouldn’t I have jumped on that? At least he got us straight back up? I don’t because I generally choose to ignore the man. Sometimes I can’t ignore him. Doesn’t make me an Ashley lover.
    I support NUFC. I don’t care who owns us because I can’t change it. I love football as my escape from politics. I have zero interest in football politics. I turn up week in week out to support Newcastle and stuff the politics.
    The rest of my life actually involves politics. I love it. But for me, football and politics I keep separate. Football for me is about the eleven players on the pitch. Nothing more.

  • DubaiMicky

    May 28, 2018 at 12:40 PM

    Comment #14

    lesh, I agree, however most managers (Manure, The Arse etc. don’t allow the manager to have the say on who is or isn’t bought, so I think, if Rafa wants that, it’s unreasonable.

    If he wants that, who knows.

  • Bobbybee

    May 28, 2018 at 12:40 PM

    Comment #15

    Lesh, have I not said all I ever ask for is an owner willing to speculate to accumulate, even using SJH as an example? Repeatedly.
    Westwood, Seymours, McKeag – all every bit as big an asshole as Ashley. Agreed?
    SJH rescued us. Remember, I was one of less than nine thousand ‘cramming’ into SJP. I didn’t desert the club. I saw it through, always hoping we’d get a SJH and times would change. So when he did I was ecstatic.
    From that point Newcastle changed forever. I completely forgive SJH for taking money out towards the end. He earned it. He saved us from obscurity but people forget that. We were on a slide to nowhere. The ground was crap and the gates a joke. One man’s money saved us.
    Then it went downhill again. Shepherd and now Ashley.
    So we’ve had one decent owner in both our lifetime. End of.
    You’d think we were a really successful club over the years. We’ve won nowt. This is the Newcastle we’ve always known.
    Ironically, and boy is it, if Rafa stays – and I truly believe he will – we now have a chance of winning something – under Ashley of all people. Will that make him a good owner?

  • bettyswallocks

    May 28, 2018 at 12:41 PM

    Comment #16

    Bobby……. Quite right football should provide respite from all the stress and pressures of 21st century life but the constant uncertainty that abounds at NUFC makes it difficult to focus solely on the football.
    . Politics at the club divides opinion and always will but we should be aware of those using the pretext of supporting the club on this blog to try and promote their weird political views.

  • hibbit

    May 28, 2018 at 12:54 PM

    Comment #17

    dodgy chairmen we’ve definitely had a few of them

    don’t forget and his yes man Bob Rutherford !!

  • hibbit

    May 28, 2018 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #18

    Stan Seymour Jr………… LOL

  • Mag52

    May 28, 2018 at 1:04 PM

    Comment #19


    Thanks for the Toronto link a few posts back.

  • Bobbybee

    May 28, 2018 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #21

    Here’s a tale of how much football has changed in my lifetime. It is unrecognisable from the seventies.
    We got relegated from the first division. 77/78? Millwall got promoted from the third division the same season. During the summer a programme appeared on the TV about Millwall and their firm. We were all ‘northern wa*kers’ blah blah blah.
    The fixtures came out. August, red hot, first day of the season – Millwall v Newcastle.
    Our coach was over subscribed. Walking along near the station, we were accosted by one of the old Bender Squad. ‘Looking for a coach lads?’ This was about ten o’clock Friday night.
    Taking us down a few back lanes, we ended up at a pub that I think was The Queen something? Pokey little hole, full of nut jobs.
    Coach failed. ‘I’ll get one’ someone shouted.
    A charabanc turned up. Sixty of us on a thirty seater. Magic.
    One lad wanted dropping at Gateshead, but sadly got hijacked. 🙂 Like it or not, he was coming to Millwall.
    I can safely say, I have never been with such a bunch of wild animals. We were twentyish, these lads were a lot older. A lot meaner. And with one intention in mind.
    Got into Kings Cross at 7.30 am. Already news was coming in about Newcastle fans in London.
    First stop St Pancreas Station I believe and a clash with the cockney reds. The start of a long day.
    Arriving at New Street Station to a police escort. From the station to the Den, every single pub had been demolished by rampaging Mags. Total chaos.
    The ground had no segregation. Only a thick line of police separated the two sets of fans and there was fighting none stop from start to finish.
    Kept behind, the tension grew. Big tension, believe me. Having cleared the streets, we were then escorted back to the station,to be met with a hail of bricks and bottles.
    At New Street Station they turned up in force and literally all hell broke loose,unril we eventually scattered them into the surrounding streets. Fight or die, that simple. No police, they just stood back and watched.
    Back to King’s Cross, where, we clashed with Spurs fans coming back from Forest.
    The coach home contained 13 of us. Room to stretch out and sleep even! The rest were otherwise detained.
    How times have changed eh?

  • Bobbybee

    May 28, 2018 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #22

    Hibbett, you get the point mate. You lived it. As, fans we’ve been abused all our lives mate. Take take take. Maybe that’s why I just look at Ashley and shrug. No change, just another tw*t. 🙂

  • Tosun A. Wobbler

    May 28, 2018 at 1:17 PM

    Comment #23

    Jib, swear that Einstein (the boid) shrugged it’s shoulders when asked to speak Spanish.

  • Bobbybee

    May 28, 2018 at 1:19 PM

    Comment #24

    Hibbett, shame on me! I had actually blocked Rutherford from my mind. Oh no, please, don’t remind me any further!!! 🙂

  • ShirebrookToon

    May 28, 2018 at 1:21 PM

    Comment #25

    So long as he keeps Rafa and gives him a few quid to spend. That’s all that matters to me. I’ll be there on the first game of the season cheering the lads on.

    Support the team not the regime!

  • Bobbybee

    May 28, 2018 at 1:27 PM

    Comment #26

    Shirebrook. 100% mate. There was an old saying that went ‘If they washed the kit and hung them out to dry at SJP, 30k would turn up to watch’.
    For me the eleven on the pitch is all that matters. Owners come and owners go, but one thing only remains solid – the fans. With or without Ashley, I’ll be there until I can no longer get there. No one man will ever come between me and my love of Newcastle. Ever.

  • Rotonda heights

    May 28, 2018 at 1:34 PM

    Comment #27

    they’re not mutually exclusive. you support one you support the other. daftest expression ever that.

  • Bobbybee

    May 28, 2018 at 1:34 PM

    Comment #28

    Betty, it doesn’t for me mate. If it wasn’t for the blog etc I wouldn’t give Ashley a second thought.
    But then, if there’s a game – any game – on TV, you can guarantee I’m watching it. I just love football. Like I’ll be watching the second division play off in a bit. 🙂 Got enough politics in my life. Football is my escape from reality and I won’t allow one knacka to spoil it for me. Not like I’m used to watching us win trophies after all, is it? :). Rafa staying will guarantee us a trophy before I peg out. And I expect him to stay.

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    May 28, 2018 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #29

    I agree with your summing up of supporting the TOON over the decades. Had umpteen times to build on the little success we had – Fairs Cup winners – Finalists in the seventies then the nineties which sticks in my craw.
    Second top could challenging with Man Utd for the title then Chelsea and Abramovich blue us out the water.
    Tho where I differ I do not forgive Hall and Shepherd for floating the club. Hall very clever business man biggest mistake getting his nob of a son involved – knew that he could not compete with Abramovich, handing the reins over to Freddy who loved the club but his heart ruled his head could not afford to run the club himself, borrowed money at inflated interest rates and took the sponsorship money a year in advance.

    Also Keegan has to take some of the blame for scrapping the reserves and thinking we could just go out and buy players.

    Got a team that loves RAFA and playing for the TOON along with the supporters, looks rosy but could easily go pear shape.
    Also I think RAFA has probably learnt a lot this season also, with not having the money to go out and buy who he likes but working with what he has and improving the players which he has done in spadefuls.

    As you say under Ashley who I think is very astute if not very tight with the purse strings, we now have a great chance of advancing if he gives RAFA a decent pot of money to compete with the middle tier of clubs for starters.

    Hears Hoping!!!! and not another false dawn!!

  • OneAlanShearer

    May 28, 2018 at 2:06 PM

    Comment #30

    Bobby and Charlie… Great posts. Enjoyed reading them.

  • lesh

    May 28, 2018 at 3:51 PM

    Comment #31

    Jail – at least you’re honest about googling whereas……

    Dubai – I too think Rafa’d be asking for too much to have complete control or spend. He should have a major influence on who it’s spent on, fee and wages but the final approval must be up the line with Rafa made fully aware of, understanding and accepting reasons for not proceeding. The key to that working is trust, common purpose and communication. Ashley and his henchmen seem to want to manage by dictat and exclusion rather than inclusion.

    No matter who the manager or so called MD, Ashley has been consistent in his autocratic style and it clearly doesn’t work at NUFC

    Bobby – I’d be ok with Ashley if he were to strike a balance between his personal greed and showing some ambition. And yes Bobby, I’ve many a cold afternoon/ evening in the centre paddock or conversely, a nice sunny afternoon when there was enough space for deckchairs!


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