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Rafa Needs Big Improvements Made To Benton Training Grounds

It was in November of 2013 that Newcastle announced the club would invest £25M in the Benton Training ground to convert it into a world-class facility that had things like a swimming pool included.

Nothing has been done on that since that time.

But that’s because Newcastle have floundered near the bottom of the Premier League and the start date was delayed several times.

World-class training facilities – artist impression
Announced November, 2013 – to be completed in early 2016
Nothing has been done

Rafa did request some basic improvements last summer to brighten up the place and we thought the club and Rafa did very well to make them into better facilities for both players and coaches alike.

But most of that was simply cosmetic.

And Rafa’s introduction of 4G artificial pitches seems now like a master stroke that has cut down on the vast number of injuries our players get – especially the hamstring injuries.

This season has been the least number injuries we have had at Newcastle for many many years.

If your let somebody, who is world-class at what he does, go ahead with that we wants to do then great progress can be made.

We don’t really know if Newcastle will now completely scrap those 2013 plans and make incremental improvements to what we have today, but Rafa was clear when he arrived he wasn’t too impressed with the facilities at Benton.

Brighton recently spent £35M on their new world-class training center which opened in December, 2014 and it’s simply a beautiful facility.


Some of the local journalist got a chance to look around the premises when we played at Brighton in late February and they were tremendously impressed.

So if a smaller club like Brighton & Hove Albion can do it (admittedly they are a very well run – no slight intended there = and they happen to have a very good team) then surely Newcastle United should be able to invest some real money on improvements to the facilities  at Benton.

If we are to become a big and successful club we must start thinking really big.

These are just some of the things Rafa Benitez and Lee Charnley will be working on this summer, in addition to the hefty transfer market activities that need to be completed.

Hopefully Rafa will be able to do a lot of that work from his Wirral home and be with his wife and two teenage daughters – at least until pre-season starts up again in early July.

This is all going to be very exciting.

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Comments welcome.

34 comments so far

  • JamesToon

    Apr 25, 2017 at 2:41 PM

    Comment #1

    Spanish media AS sport saying that Benitez told them he had a £72m transfer budget??

  • ShirebrookToon

    Apr 25, 2017 at 2:45 PM

    Comment #2

    And how reliable are they?? Nobody knows what the budget will or wont be. TBH I don’t give a fcuk at the minute, I’m still buzzing from last night!

  • lochinvar

    Apr 25, 2017 at 2:50 PM

    Comment #3

    Benton is not the future.
    A club and City such as Newcastle need a facility that’s world class.
    Combine it with some Medical/sports research facility (that might benefit the SBR foundation ), sports academy with community access and has environmental credibility.
    We have the Centre for Life and World class University and Medical Centres ( Freeman and RVI ) so Ashley really could do something worthwhile if he thinks World class.
    Newcastle Metro was first.
    Newcastle Freeman has many firsts.
    Newcastle is first for many companies.
    Come on Ashley – open your eyes and put the club and City in the world spotlight.
    We might even let you name the facility as the Sports Direct Centre of Sporting Excellence but lay off SJP in return !

  • expatmag

    Apr 25, 2017 at 2:54 PM

    Comment #4

    Possible sale of club rumours being touted via the guardian in a similar speedy fashion of Man City

    Charnley in china recently……sale based on achieving promotion?


  • Jib

    Apr 25, 2017 at 2:55 PM

    Comment #5
  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #6

    If anybody thinks Rafa would blurt out his budget to the media then I’ve got a bridge to sell ya’.

    Notice how in that article the bit about 82m Euros to spend isn’t quoted like the the rest of what he said? Yeah. Fabrication tacked on the end of some real quotes to try and give it legitimacy.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:04 PM

    Comment #7

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the team suddenly started playing attacking football again in the last 2 games we forget sometimes what the pressure has been like for the players but they can relax again!

    Rafa and Newcastle always seem to perform better when they are the underdogs!

    Looking at the premiership the top 7 with Stoke and Southampton are probably out of our reach next season but our squad on paper is on par with the rest!We also will have bigger pulling power than a lot of these clubs!

    This season learning how to battle for everything will do our players the world of good next season and it will be our team raising our game every week rather than the other way around!

  • martoon

    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:06 PM

    Comment #8

    expatmag – I would have thought Charnley in China would be more likely to seek out a sponsor rather than a buyer. Surely a buyer would come here to look at the club?
    Also Rafa is very guarded as to what he says so I can’t see him blabbing about what the budget is especially in his native tongue albeit his English is excellent anyway.

  • bettyswallocks

    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:09 PM

    Comment #9

    As Jib rightly pointed out on an earlier thread we need to remain aware that Ashley needs to support Rafa in this summers transfer window as Rafa was clearly not happy with the lack of signings in January. If we follow Jibs lead and continue to highlight the necessity for serious investment in the squad then hopefully we will be able to compete in the PL next season.

    We must not become complacent and allow Ashley to assume that we will survive next season with a minimum spend.


    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:13 PM

    Comment #10

    For those wantin a bit of a giggle at mackem having a melt down at newcastle promotion

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:19 PM

    Comment #11

    The injury (lack of) situation is very interesting as it has massively helped us this season.

    4G pitches has undoubtedly helped but the unsung hero of the season may well be the constant blood testing as mentioned in a link on an earlier thread.

    The constant monitoring by the medical team of players is maybe why some players were unexpectedly rested or not started may be down to this innovative approach by the club. From what I understood of the article we might be the only English team using this method of testing.

    If so who’s responsible Rafa or/Ashley. Got to be a positive by the club either way.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:20 PM

    Comment #12

    Apologies for the grammar!

  • firebug666

    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:21 PM

    Comment #13


    Poor poor deluded Makem, Guess he’ll be giving the Samaritans a call…..LMFCO.

    On this transfer budget, NUFC never ever tell what they have to spend, or even if there is a budget. If the price is right to buy or sell a player we do the deal, if not we don’t.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:27 PM

    Comment #14


    That was funny, lmao.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:34 PM

    Comment #15

    I’d be amazed if we spend more than £20m on a single player. I would guess a total outlay of between £30m and £50m.

    Starting with around £12m to £15m for Cairney.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:39 PM

    Comment #16

    Cairney does look like the real deal would be a cheaper alternative to Sigurdsson although not proven in the premiership although having Cairney , De Jong and Perez battle it out for the no 10 slot would seem ample enough

    If we can get our left wing and no 10 sorted it would make us a much better functioning team as everything is compressed on the right hand side

  • Colombus

    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:41 PM

    Comment #17

    Still buzzin from last night. Now let’s start discussing some transfers! Throwin out some names:

    The first one I would get is that impressive Charlie Taylor on a free from Leeds. Great value and potential.

    Another alternative at LB is Jetro Willems.

    Hertha Berlin has a couple of interesting names. John Anthony Brooks looks awesome at CB. And I also really like Mitchell Weiser.

    Victor Fischer hasn’t been a great success at Boro, but I think if we could get him fit ,he could be a steal.

    Malaga have had a crap season, but Ignacio Camacho would be great fit for us. I’ve seen his name been mentioned here before and I agree with the pack.

    Jesè might be available and has bags of x-factor. Depends on the price.

    Cyprien at Nice would be a great signing. It’s a shame he’s injured but maybe take a gamble?

    Dendoncker looks a real talent at Anderlecht.

    Kranevitter, now on loan at Sevilla, would be a very interesting signing in a battling midfield of ours.

    And my dream signing as a striker would be Cedric Bakambu. Not had the best season this year, but would be perfect for the prem. So much potential.

  • JamesToon

    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:50 PM

    Comment #18


    I’d say our best players i.e. shelvey, hayden, gayle, ritchie are on par with the rest of the premier league apart from the top 10, however our squad i don’t think is even on par with bournemouth, west brom, stoke, west ham, palace

    6-8 signings, RB, CB, LB, CDM, CAM, LM, RM, ST

    RB and LM could possibly be Jamie Sterry and Victor Fernandez being given a chance, but its a risk.

    Around £70m would be a decent budget i think and would allow us to catch up and get on par with most PL mid table teams.

    Colombus i agree with a lot of names on those list, i do think tho rafa will want the signings to predominantly have premier league experience to give us the foundations of a solid squad, can’t afford to take risks on a bunch of young foreigners, they need experience next to them.

  • JamesToon

    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:51 PM

    Comment #19

    If we were to go into the prem right now i’d say we’d finish about 16th, maybe 17th.

  • catchy in norway

    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:52 PM

    Comment #20

    it’s kind of a catch 22 situation we and any other team going up are in. the kick that all team get from being premoted is from have most of the squad from that season, yet what i read in here is we need mass changes, and figures being banded about are 100 million upwards.

    we need to strengthen for sure, but when some some so called good players costing 25 million up over, we won’t be getting that many players in.

    Players like Richie and Gayle will be subject to big offers from other clubs too,

    good job we have a good coach

  • hibbit

    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:54 PM

    Comment #21


    been saying it for a few week now if Ashley is going to sell it will be once we achieve promotion
    the club and the premier league will be at the top of the market that’s a must to get the top price which Ashley will be looking for
    if Ashley is getting out it will be soon
    i think he’s just waiting for the right offer

  • optimistic prime

    Apr 25, 2017 at 4:00 PM

    Comment #22

    Most people would agree we need to spend a few quid, quite a lot won’t have any faith in Ashley coughing up.

    I’m not going to get involved in who we should buy, it’s Rafas team his vision he knows what he wants/needs.

    To be honest since Hibbit said “don’t be surprised if Ashley sells” a few days ago it’s all I’ve really thought about.
    It makes sense that Ashley will get out when he can get max value. That’ll be over next Cpl years as I don’t see TV money getting better or Ashley investing enough to establish us as a top six side.

    If it does make business sense to sell in the next Cpl years I’d say as a buyer now is the time you’d want to buy Nufc. Just promoted, clean slate to build from, build a EPL from the start in your image, no huge contracts or players to inherit etc.

    If we’re going to be sold itll be in next few months.

  • optimistic prime

    Apr 25, 2017 at 4:06 PM

    Comment #23

    On selling clubs, I was talking to the unwashed at work yesterday and they reckon Shirt wants to sell next year..

    £170million he wants lol

  • optimistic prime

    Apr 25, 2017 at 4:06 PM

    Comment #24


  • Mag52

    Apr 25, 2017 at 4:08 PM

    Comment #25

    Clubs run by football people plan for the future.
    It can’t have been easy for Brighton to afford the facilities they now have, but the investment will pay of, indeed is beginning to pay off.
    Either Ashley becomes a football person, and his non attendance at SJP last night is not an encouraging sign, or he should b..ger off.

  • hibbit

    Apr 25, 2017 at 4:12 PM

    Comment #26

    optimistic prime
    a lot of talk down here (yarm) that steve gibson at boro has had enough, could be a very interesting summer !!!

  • optimistic prime

    Apr 25, 2017 at 4:16 PM

    Comment #27

    Not blast but out the 3 there’s only one winner if you’re looking to buy.

    What’s happening with our academy status? We were granted lee way due to the fact we were building new facilities, then Ashley cancelled that.

    Do we still have the temporary academy status, if so when does it run out?

    Can’t see Rafa smiling about that!

  • firebug666

    Apr 25, 2017 at 4:24 PM

    Comment #28

    Optimistic Prime

    We have a Category 1 academy status mate, done and dusted, this is from the Chronicle at the time.

    Newcastle United’s Academy has been awarded the prestigious Category One status.

    The club’s youth system can now boast the highest ranking under the Premier League’s Elite Players Performance Plan.

    A club statement read: “The EPPP saw Premier League and Football League academies independently assessed and placed into one of four categories, with Category One being the highest.

    “The Magpies’ Academy has passed a rigorous auditing process recognising the high standard of coaching, facilities and personnel at Little Benton.

    “Gaining Category One status is another example of owner Mike Ashley’s commitment to the future of the Club, while principal sponsors Wonga.com have invested £1.5m in the Academy.”

    Alan Pardew was also thrilled by the news and the Toon boss said: “Being a Category One Academy is extremely important in terms of looking to the future and giving young talented players the best possible chance of succeeding at Newcastle United.

    “I know our supporters love to see young players like Sammy Ameobi and Paul Dummett come through, and that’s why I’m pleased to see Adam, Freddie and Lubo sign their first professional contracts.

    “This is only a first step on the career ladder for these boys and they must continue to show the same commitment and desire and will to learn as they have to this point.”

    Academy Manager Joe Joyce added “Achieving Category One status was recognition of all the hard work and effort put in by all Academy staff in order first of all to achieve that status, but also it’s recognition of the Club’s commitment to youth development generally.

    “The Category One status allows us to have more contact time with the players, so the training schedule during the week can increase and the staff can work a lot longer with the boys.”

  • optimistic prime

    Apr 25, 2017 at 4:33 PM

    Comment #29


    I remember the article mate, I just remember before that, when the new training ground facilities were suggested we were unable to get class 1 status due to the old facilities not being adequate.

    If that article is accurate then all they’ve done is upgraded the old facilities, paper over the cracks.

    Are the plans and building permissions for the new facilities for any potential buyers benefit?

  • Nufc-83

    Apr 25, 2017 at 4:43 PM

    Comment #30

    James there is no doubt in my mind that if we where in the premier league with this sqaud we would be relegated. I dont even think this squad is better than the mackams or boro and certainly not Swansea.

    Talking about Sterry and Fernadez like they can come into the side and perform at prem level is just plain stupid in my opinon.

  • lochinvar

    Apr 25, 2017 at 4:47 PM

    Comment #31

    Does Ashley still have interest with Asian Online company TMALL ?
    That would have resonance as a shirt sponsor bearing in mind preoccupation with the Premier League in the Far East ( no not Whitley Bay )

  • Jib

    Apr 25, 2017 at 4:53 PM

    Comment #32

    Ha ha
    It was Laura Ashley that was linkd to Tmall
    Mike ain’t related.
    Got to love some of the posters on here

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 25, 2017 at 4:57 PM

    Comment #33

    Sterry has already played in the EPL and coped very well!!

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Apr 25, 2017 at 5:10 PM

    Comment #34

    We know Mitro and Perez aren’t good enough for the Prem. They’ve been fairly poor in the Championship. The bulk of any money should be invested in two quality strikers.


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