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The Squad Has Been Strengthened – But Big Chance Lost – Rafa Now Likely To Leave

If we just forget about the shenanigans and lack of financial support for Rafa Benitez this summer from the owner Mike Ashley and look at the seven players we brought in – we think the squad has been strengthened.

Rafa has brought in older more experienced players (average age 27) which is one of the things the team lacked last season.

We are strong in the goalkeeping department, central defense, and central midfield and hopefully up front with our strikers.

The main characters at Newcastle

The seven players brought in are Martin Dubravka, Robert Kenedy, Ki Sung-yueng, Fabian Schar, Yoshinori Muto, Salomon Rondon and Federico Fernandes – all for a gross outlay of about £22.5M.

But if it wasn’t already abundantly clear that Mike Ashley is wrecking the club and specifically the opportunity we have of tying Rafa Benitez down to a long-term contract – it is now.

We are not sure what Ashley’s been thinking, but he’s stubborn and seems to have ended any chance of selling the club by asking for £400M.

It means nobody will come in and pay that much so he can say for the third time he tried to sell the club.

His antics also mean that Rafa is unlikely to stay past next summer.

If Rafa does leave so will Mike Ashley because fans will never forgive him for wrecking such a huge opportunity to be a top team again under Mr. Benitez.

We expect Rafa to ask for unity today at his press conference for the Spurs home game tomorrow.

It’s not clear whether he will want to talk about his frustrations with Ashley in the transfer market this summer – maybe not.

Let’s support Rafa, the staff, and the players this season as everybody did last term, and we could surprise ourselves again.

Howay The Lads!!

Comments welcome.

32 comments so far

  • RonVanDam

    Aug 10, 2018 at 7:50 AM

    Comment #1

    Rafa likely to leave? I’m assuming this is based on Ed’s assumption rather than facts

  • crawfordm

    Aug 10, 2018 at 7:52 AM

    Comment #2

    Another positive posting from the editor – pure speculation of course. Lets look forward to the forthcoming season with our world class manager.

  • will die for the toon army

    Aug 10, 2018 at 7:53 AM

    Comment #3

    Our Squad has been strengthened and that’s all that mattered we just lacked that back up LB but its Rafa who bought Lazaar he shld find ways of using him.
    1. Dubravka (Darlow)
    2. Yedlin (Marquilo)
    3. Dummett (Larzaar)
    4. Fernardez (Clark)
    5. Lasceles (Shar)
    6. Daime (Hayden)
    7. Ritchie (Murphy)
    8. Shelvey (Ki)
    9. Rondon (Joselu)
    10. Perez (Muto)
    11. Kenedy (Atsu)
    That’s us the first half of the season. That’s a team that has been together for 3 yrs now same manager. Our team is average but hardworking no superstarts to rely on and have media pressure.

    Let’s get on with the season. I trust our players and Lasceles to keep them in line

  • welshgeordie9

    Aug 10, 2018 at 7:54 AM

    Comment #4

    Don’t know what the fuss is about, squad much stronger than last season, people on about left back well as we have got schar, lacelles, lejune and fernandez, if need be clark can play there, our midfield is full and up front, could be worse, spurs didnt sign anyone, couple of injuries and they are fcuked.

  • Markaccus

    Aug 10, 2018 at 7:55 AM

    Comment #5

    Shire (repost from prev)

    To be fair to Jib in this instance, he was quoting another poster who suggested a protest at Ashleys base camp.

  • 9

    Aug 10, 2018 at 7:55 AM

    Comment #6

    Ed, your critical point is “We’re not sure what Ashley’s thinking”, because there has to be more to it than the general “Greedy barsteward” cry of 90% of posters. My guess (and that’s all it is) is that he’s clearing out as much cash as he can before a sale, which I hope is imminent. But maybe that’s just wishful thinking. (And, of course, I’m not denying he’s greedy!)

  • posada

    Aug 10, 2018 at 7:56 AM

    Comment #7

    Tomorrow will be interesting. How will Rondon go. We have not had a strong mobile CF for some time. I think he will at least get us into games and give us options.
    I think our players will welcome that.

  • Mag52

    Aug 10, 2018 at 7:57 AM

    Comment #8

    On the face of it the squad has been strengthened in this window.
    Why is it disappointing ? Because it could have been a lot better if a few more quality players had been brought in.
    It could have been a window which showed that we were a club looking for real success this season. This window does not give that impression.
    Why is that important ? Because Rafa had ambitions for the club which probably won’t now be realised. Promises to him regarding transfer funds were made which were not kept, and there’s every chance that he will be off somewhere else at the end of the season.
    That’s the real disappointment of this transfer window.

  • getoutofworeclub

    Aug 10, 2018 at 7:57 AM

    Comment #9

    But that’s the thing Rafa will leave come the end of the season and also ed the fans will do f1ck all about they will winge for a bit but as soon as the new season starts 52000 will be there watching the toon in the championship and that’s a fact they will just roll over for Ashley and that’s why Ashley will never sell wore club so to me the fans are the problem and again that’s a fact

  • posada

    Aug 10, 2018 at 7:58 AM

    Comment #10

    It’s been said he is taking out cash or paying off his loan prior to a sale.
    How would that work. Surely any buyer would be wise to that and adjust the price they were willing to pay.

  • will die for the toon army

    Aug 10, 2018 at 7:58 AM

    Comment #11

    The North east media is speculating everything. Fulham has spent 100m on average players. If any one here thinks fulham has a better team than us. Is crazy.

  • Markaccus

    Aug 10, 2018 at 7:59 AM

    Comment #12


    I agree that the squad is slightly stronger.
    I think the complaints are because we are still mixing and matching when it comes to LB cover, and despite signing 7 players, we are still a bit suspect up front due to gambling on loan players and cut price deals. If the gamble pays off then great, but there is still a clear lack of ambition in these signings.

  • welshgeordie9

    Aug 10, 2018 at 8:02 AM

    Comment #14

    according to merson, only 3 teams had a better window than us.

  • TomaKaThor

    Aug 10, 2018 at 8:02 AM

    Comment #15

    Quite embarrassing looking at the list of players signed by other clubs compared to us… I really hope he has pocketed the money so he can sell for alot cheaper… But Im afraid that won’t be the case……. He simply doesn’t care how upset/angry the fans ect are…. He will keep milking the club and so many peoples happiness while he is getting money…. Ive never hated somebody I’ve never met in person so much.

  • Levi

    Aug 10, 2018 at 8:04 AM

    Comment #16

    Could it be that we are holding money back to make the kenedy signing permanent similar to merino? Or am I just being ridiculous.

  • will die for the toon army

    Aug 10, 2018 at 8:05 AM

    Comment #17

    me thinking. Ashely might be recovering the 90m loss we made last year. This happened to Chris Hughton/ Pardew after our first year of promotion.

  • Markaccus

    Aug 10, 2018 at 8:07 AM

    Comment #18


    Yep. Probably just as well. All those public resources wasted on a bunch of tw@ts who want to hit each other over a game of football. Banter and rivalry is part of the game, but sometimes people need to grow up.

  • ronaldo aarons

    Aug 10, 2018 at 8:08 AM

    Comment #19

    Sorry, i really don’t see how it has been a good window. The players themselves are mostly ok, some I rate some not so much. Still gaping holes in the squad and whilst it’s been strengthened in parts, where it is lacking is quite poor. First 11 has been strengthened with rondon and muto as options upfront. That was our biggest weakness last season and it has been addressed but not with genuine goal scorers.

    Players have been brought in late so have had no time to play with the squad, some haven’t even had one pre season game with us. In light of all this not sure how it can be a good window. Could argue it hasn’t been bad but in terms of Rafa, it seems to be a very bad window. Reportedly he’s not happy, he hasn’t been fully backed, hasn’t been supported with adequate funds, not all first choice, some transfers been rejected, no training facilities upgrades, no academy upgrades, no u23 additions other than toure. If that has even been confirmed. Plus, we’ve lost the momentum and positivity from the end of last season.

    We have added experience to a young squad so hopefully that’ll be of benefit. One of the most frustrating things is that this window has had lots of bargains. So many players that could be gotten from frees up to £10m. We could have improved the squad greatly without actually spending much but we were not allowed to do so.

  • will die for the toon army

    Aug 10, 2018 at 8:09 AM

    Comment #20

    Lenjuel is going to be a big miss in defence.

  • will die for the toon army

    Aug 10, 2018 at 8:17 AM

    Comment #21

    @aarons, I am a fan who never dwells into backroom work with no facts I look at our club the way it. Rafa on the other hand is a good manager but too much of a politician and he also has attendance of wasting money. From the 12 players we signed from championship how man do we still have?? And for one Rafa shld know he is at a club with low commercial power not like the big six. So there is no room for error Wen it comes to spending money.

  • Jib

    Aug 10, 2018 at 8:20 AM

    Comment #22

    It did help the struggling firework industry

  • The Vicar

    Aug 10, 2018 at 8:23 AM

    Comment #23

    I am not sure my initial “doom and gloom” assessment of this transfer window is right. If I compare the team we played against Spurs at home last year with the one we are capable of fielding this year, then I see significant improvement.

    Also, in terms of “where has the money gone”. All this nonsense about “it isn’t cash so it doesn’t count” is wrong. The instalments due from Liverpool, Spurs etc will be paid, and are therefore in technical accounting terms assets. Net transfer fees, TV money etc either go to build cash, or are cash that will arrive this year or next, or to pay down loans.

    If the money goes to pay down loans, this is Ashley clearing the decks and readying for a sale. It makes selling NUFC so much easier. Ashley is pretty much the only loaner we have, so the cash must have gone to pay down his loan to the club.

    All this makes a sale easier, and allows Rafa to negotiate his new contract when NUFC is sold at the back end of the season.

  • Geordiedownunder

    Aug 10, 2018 at 8:30 AM

    Comment #24

    Yet another frustrating transfer window…. more fuel to this theory I posted via Olly Hawkins at the NUFC blog… what are your thoughts?……

  • Jan Stavik

    Aug 10, 2018 at 8:31 AM

    Comment #25

    Rafa and Charney have done very well based on the funds available to them. I’ve got a feeling Ashley is trying to sell up, and with months left as the owner – he’s not been willing to take risk regarding spending big money on transfers.

    Fingers crossed for a successful sales process, another window with profit – no thanks!

  • Geordiedownunder

    Aug 10, 2018 at 8:38 AM

    Comment #26

    Here we go again…. same empty words, same actions with the same result. Frustration.
    Read this from my post to Olly Hawkins at NUFC Blog… Anyone find they’re thinking along the same lines?

  • Geordie-john

    Aug 10, 2018 at 8:47 AM

    Comment #27

    Wait and see, Hopefully we can get some results / points out of the first few games to get some confidence going. Then it’ll be a different story. We need all to be injury free not to mention red cards ( Mr Shelvey ) Don’t get sucked in by the likes of Deli ( I’m the best diver in the premiership ) Ali.
    Stick to Rafa’s instructions and play your football.
    3 – 1 Newcastle win .

  • yogz69

    Aug 10, 2018 at 9:11 AM

    Comment #28

    Apparently the fat man is trying to buy house of Fraser from the administrators. That’s where the moneys gone fellas

  • ashleysmate

    Aug 10, 2018 at 10:03 AM

    Comment #29

    I know most of us think/fear Rafa will walk next summer, but now I’m not so sure….when these new signings arrived surely they signed on the premise that Rafa would be staying longer than 1 sea son???…i hope so

  • dee em

    Aug 10, 2018 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #30

    So instead of investing £90 million in his football club Ashley uses the premiership money to buy house of Fraser? Jesus we have to pull together to rid ourselves of this pariah

  • kennyg33

    Aug 10, 2018 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #31

    Don’t normally post but feel I need to share my thoughts after reading similarly narrow minded comments over the last month – sick of hearing pretend fans stating that the issue with mike Ashley not changing is all the fault of the 52,000 fans who continue to turn up to watch the team regardless of how Ashley treats the club.
    52,000 fans turn up every week not to support the mike Ashley regime but to support their team, Newcastle United, because we always turn up to watch our team regardless of who we sign and how good our players are.
    The vast majority of nufc fans aren’t used to any level of success and have watched poor teams and a lack of success for as long as I can remember – but we still go because we love watching football, we live the passion of match day and we love our club – not the glory days of Keegan (although it was wonderful while it lasted) but the ups and downs associated with Newcastle. Not the poncy flair players who only turn up for a season or two then move on but the hard working grafters who really care and love a crunching tackle.
    We turn up regardless of who the owner is cos it’s our team and we love the optimism that we can beat anyone but deep down know it’s never going to quite go our way.
    As a kid my dad, as a sunderland fan, took me to sunderland for my first game and they won 5:1 with the likes of bobby Kerr playing. Next week he took me to Newcastle and we got beat 2:1 off arsenal and went on to be relegated. I didn’t choose to support Newcastle cos we would win games, I chose to support Newcastle for how I felt stood in the gallowgate and the noise I could still hear when we left early to run to get the bus yet the crowd were still cheering, shouting and screaming even though we were crap and we lost. That’s why 52,000 turn up every week – CIA of the love of the club and the collective hope and passion. Those who can’t see that and claim we’re fools for turning up just don’t understand what it’s like to really be a fan of nufc and I can only feel a sense of sadness for what you are missing out on.
    I like 52,000 others, and my 4 kids who I now drag along every week, will continue to be there Ashley or no Ashley just because it’s newcastle united and that’s all that matters to me.

  • neverwin

    Aug 10, 2018 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #32


    Exactly how I feel.
    Obviously not always a pleasure supporting toon but at the end of the day that Black and White strip says it all.
    Everybody associated loves NUFC apart from it seems the owner and his minions.
    Like every supporter in the land (whatever their team) at the start of a new season I am full of hope.
    Cannot wait for Local Hero to be blasted out when team emerge onto pitch. Unless that has been stopped.
    Onward and Upward.


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