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This Is All We Know About What Happened At The Rialto On Wednesday Night

There has been a lot of news given out about what actually happened at the meeting on Wednesday night when Rafa and his players met with Mike Ashley at an Italian restaurant in Ponteland.

Most of it has come from an article by Craig Hope in the Mail, but the Chronicle has also added to that information.

So we thought it would be helpful to list what Ashley has said and how it may change things at Newcastle for this season.

Mike Ashley arriving at the Rialto Ristorante Italian

  • The bad news is that Ashley said he didn’t think the club would be sold this season so the players shouldn’t be unsettled by that, because it will not happen,
    He didn’t say the club was not up for sale just that he didn’t think it would sell this season.
  • He also said nobody, despite news reports, has come anywhere near the price he wants for Newcastle, so a sale has never been close.
  • Ashley said he was determined to keep Rafa Benitez as the manager at the club past next summer when his current contract runs out – it looks like this is the start of his attempt to keep the Spaniard on Tyneside.
  • Ashley said he would be taking a more hands-on approach at the club, so we don’t know if that will be a good thing for Newcastle – but it’s not the first time he has said that.
  • The owner said he would continue to support Rafa in the transfer market, and since Newcastle are in relegation trouble again, Ashley may even give Rafa some money to spend this January.
    He’s also likely to do that to keep Rafa at the club.
  • Ashley said the planning for the January transfer window was well underway.
  • Relegation was definitely on Ashley’s mind because he told the players he would pay for a summer holiday if they ended up avoiding relegation this season (and kept that PL money flowing into the club).
  • Ashley did not give a speech but walked around the table introducing himself and talking to the players and staff.
  • After the dinner, he huddled with captain Jamaal Lascelles, Matt Ritchie Rafa Benitez and Lee Charnley to (presumably) have a discussion on how to improve things on the playing side of things – both on and off the pitch.
  • Matt Ritchie said the talks with the owner were good.
  • Ashley admitted to the players that he had made mistakes in his ownership of the club.
  • The Mail reported that Benitez had the £8.95 Risotto Marinara, while Ashley went for the £7.95 Spaghetti Bolognese and drank two pints of lager to wash it down.
  • 20 of the 43 man group ordered the more expensive fillet steak at £17.95. The bill came to around £2,500 and Charnley settled the tab, with generous tips for the staff (that’s good).
  • Lascelles remained with Rafa, Ashley, and Charnley after the other players left and later walked back to his home in Darras Hall.
  • Mike Ashley was reported to be in high spirits as he left the restaurant.
  • He has been accused of giving the V sign to protesting fans when he left the Rialto – he’s denied that on the Newcastle website today.
  • Ashley is expected to keep attending Newcastle games and even go to watch the training at Benton on occasion as he tries to form a working relationship with Rafa and get him to stay on at the club long-term.

So “that’s it” – as Rafa would say.

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Comments welcome.

84 comments so far

  • Ibizatoon

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:37 AM

    Comment #41

    Average…It’ll be interesting to see what Rafa or the players have to say about the meeting.

    The comment about continuing to support Rafa is a red flag to us, is it to Rafa and the players? I find it hard to think it wouldn’t, but how was it received?

    If Rafa and the players have been impacted by the politics at play, do they allow it to continue and at what point, if indeed, do they draw a line in the interests of keeping the club in the PL?

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:38 AM

    Comment #42

    Re. The previous thread and Gayle, I have to strongly disagree with him being only a Championship quality striker.

    A good striker, which he is, can operate at any level (imo). All he has needed is an injury free season, which he is getting now, I’d bet he’d be scoring as well for us as he is for WBA at present.

  • Ibizatoon

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:38 AM

    Comment #43

    Magscar @ 40…Nice post.100% agreed.

    Are you shilling for both sides these days?

  • ronaldo aarons

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:39 AM

    Comment #44

    Why aye man! He does get a fair amount of stick on here but because there isn’t no official role for him there is a lot of confusion as to what he is supposed to do at the club. So no one can categorically say he is doing this or that, he’s messed up this etc. He was at the dinner though but I don’t recall anyone pointing him out.

  • Mag :P

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #45

    Does anyone actually believe this?

    The protesting is getting to him and it’s also finally turning the attention towards him in a deserved bad light from the media.

    This is desperation from Ashley, not him ‘finally seeing the light’.

  • magscar

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #46


    Southern prices – no comparison with the cheap Northern restaurants so will need to factor that iin

    Guess that is why he choose up here to preserve funds for Rafa 😉

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #47

    Damn, I wasn’t quick enough! 🙂

  • magscar

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #48


    Highest bidder as always 🙂

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #49

    magscar, I’d take a forced Damascene moment, so long as there was one.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:45 AM

    Comment #50

    Sorry that was a reply to mag;P not magscar.

  • Ibizatoon

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #51

    Magscar…Some would say that lacks principles, I would say they just don’t understand yours.

    Out of interest, was it my comment about toon22 that bothered (not sure that’s quite the right word, but hopefully you follow) you earlier? I get why he’s bothering some. I’ve tried to engage with him, some times he has, but I really don’t see how he’s doing any more harm than a load of other posters on here.

    People can only disrupt if others allow them to, surely? For what it’s worth, and as I’m sure you know, my views aren’t too far away from his, but I do know that calling anyone with a differing opinion a shill is not going to work and nor is it based in reality. Like many on here, a good point gets lost within a lot of rubbish.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #52

    Infiltrated by a Double Shiller. Agahst.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #53

    Or mag 😛 even

  • Ibizatoon

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:50 AM

    Comment #54

    Essex…I think most would take it, if it was genuine, but that’s the question surely?

    It is forced, but why is it being considered anything more than what has come before? He always reacts after his gambles don’t come off. Then we get calls for being in it together and how it’s up to the players and fans to fix Ashley’s mess.

    For me, that’s where this discussion should probably be heading. Those who have been protesting, what is your line / compromise or isn’t there one? Because of the fans love for the club, we are easily manipulated. Ashley knows this and uses it constantly.

    This particular fans group has gained respect that previous attempts haven’t, for whatever reasons, it’d be a crying shame to see all of that impetus wasted based on this latest event.

  • Mag :P

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:50 AM

    Comment #55

    Don’t stick your tongue out at me Essex 😀

  • ronaldo aarons

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #56

    Agree with Gayle. Think calling him a championship striker is quite insulting. For get his goalscoring for one second, he offers the team a lot which we can now see this season. The qualities he offers as a whole is enough to do well for a team in the premier league. Did say in the summer that he might not be the best first choice striker but he is a great 2nd/3rd choice.

    And his goalscoring is only a problem if he wasn’t getting in the positions. If he wasn’t then it’s cause to believe that he can’t handle the premier league.

  • theartfuldodger

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:55 AM

    Comment #57

    Everything Ashley says is short term… Next transfer window…To tide over that season

    No long term plans or changes.

    Anything mentioned about the future is vague and abstract.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #58

    I said nobody would believe him and all we can do is hope he will change his ways. Not sure how that is interpreted as i believe he will change his spending habits. Hope and belief are very different and im more or less saying ill believe it when i see it. I said hes acting differently recently but that just means hes started going to games etc. Id just like to know why hes changing his routine. Must be a reason.

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #59

    I read some scrap and people who call Newcastle united supporters who still go to the game not true supporters – get a F**kin’ life. what makes you any better -truer supporter than the supporters that go to the games – home and away in all weathers at ridiculous times – There the TRUE supporters.

    And I find it funny when Rafa lets a player go i.e. Gayle and Mitrovich that they suddenly are ‘not good enough for the Premiership’ – give your heeds a shake man.

    Both when playing – played on their own on a game plan of hooooofball.

    Gayle in all his time at Newcastle only ever started THREE with another striker as a partner being Joselu.
    Shelvey looks lost without Gayles runs to thread passes to or over the top to run onto.

    Mitro – 9 goals in the Premiership on his debut season – not bad for a relegated club
    5 this season in the premiership.

  • magscar

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:00 PM

    Comment #60


    The patience I have allowed for Ashley to finally see the commercial sense if not the light has dwindled away.

    My age, upbringing and personality mean I don’t go cursing ,gnashing my teeth on a public Blog.

    Maybe I have too much class :;-)
    Or simply believe it is ineffective and self indulgent.

    I post irregularly especially of late as the Blog gets too much and I read rather than waste my time on views no one seems interested in – unless provocative..

    I haven’t previously been persuaded by the fan movements but the combination behind the Magpie Group, their measured approach and gaining support outside fan base are encouraging to me and I believe they are very much part of why Ashley is having to react.

    I am not stupid enough not to realise that both Rafa not signing and the league position (was difficult start an ill wind….) are also major contributions but all have been instrumental in getting to where we now at.

    Our worst position on the pitch for some time but there are signs a corner however pragmaticly and reluctantly is being turned.

    I won’t forget it is only a corner and there is a long (bumpy) road ahead

  • Ibizatoon

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #61

    TNMW…It came across extremely defeatist. All we can do is hope that he loosens the purse strings? I disagree and believe fans can keep up the pressure as they have been.

    He’s acting differently than he had been recently, but he isn’t doing a new act. This is his normal, to these circumstances, to try and get fans to calm down and unite behind the team, forget the regime.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #62

    I suspect he blames staveley for our poor run last season and is frightened a repeat will end in relegation.

  • Ibizatoon

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:05 PM

    Comment #63

    Magscar…Thanks for the post, but not sure what it was in response to or what the overall point was.

  • TyneMouth

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #64

    It’s a little confusing, to say the least;

    Ed states that.– “Ashley did not give a speech but walked around the table introducing himself and talking to the players and staff.” — If that is true, where did all the statements attributed to Ashley come from?

    The news that he is not selling, wanting Rafa to stay, supporting Rafa in January, the no-relagation holiday bonus, etc, etc…Was it a PowerPoint presentation or Chinese Whispers?

    I think we should be told…

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #65

    I see that Cal Roberts has been nominated for the U23s player of the month, good for him, he does look like a real prospect.
    Other nominee’s are:- Daniel Butterworth of Blackburn Rovers, Brighton & Hove Albion’s Aaron Connolly, Louie Sibley of Derby County, Manchester City’s Rabbi Matondo, Reading’s Ryan East, Benjamin Mbunga-Kimpioka of Sunderland, Swansea City’s Joe Lewis and Oliver Skipp of Tottenham Hotspur.

    Try repeating Sunderlands nominee ten times in a row. Also isn’t it strange that City have both Jesus and a Rabbi playing for them, no wonder they are doing well.

  • Ibizatoon

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #66

    Tynemouth…I know it was an Italian, but perhaps Ashley left a fortune cookie for each player with a little message / part of master plan for saving the club?

    It gave the lads something to chat about afterwards.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:42 PM

    Comment #67

    A well run club would have seen Gayle sold,not loaned in the summer and Mitro sold or loaned last summer with a striker that the manager wanted brought in instead. Not someone like Ashley/Barnes/Charnley deciding who should stay or go. However we are not a well run club, the manager doesn’t know his exact budget, is being mislead as to the clubs true intentions and therefore will be replaced with a hapless desperado just content for a job in the PL, as short lived as it may be.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:47 PM

    Comment #68

    No offence here, are you really so naive as to think that his sudden change in behaviour is nothing more than a stunt to quell fan unrest and try and show a front of unity to the press. Do you think that it is so much more believable than the bolting horses to carts interview, or hoping Rafa stays and giving him every last penny, or not leaving until he wins something, qualifying for the CL counts as that. Howay man, Rafa has said himself that being even a top ten force is not part of the plan anymore. What makes you think any of that BS is going to change over a footin spag bol.

  • lochinvar

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:49 PM

    Comment #69

    Rafa speaks at 1.45pm – Weekly Press Conference.
    Should just be match day talk.

  • Average_Contents

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:52 PM

    Comment #70


    Only Rafa and the players can answer that.

    As a fanbase the hope is if they feel betrayed (for lack of a better word) that professional pride kicks in (not Rafa as he’s a winner anyway) and overrides any angst.

    Another thing that puzzles me is the bit at the end of the statement issued – undermine the club?

    Nope. Not the club.

    You. And only you.

    We want the the club to be the best it can be and with you it isn’t going to and never will be.


    Fat cnut out!!

  • Jib

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #71

    The manager will be replaced with a hapless desperado just content for a job in the PL”

    The last time you forecast that , we got Rafa !!!!!

    Keep up the good work

    Ha ha ha

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #72

    Why the Fu*k sell Gayle at the last minute to bring in DooRonDon
    We need a forward to run the channels get in behind their defence not another forward to hooooooooof the ball up to

  • BenbulbenMag

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #73

    Have any of the protests had an effect on Fashley ?

    Not sure, but I like the fact that the narrative is changing. The Press are finally starting to realise that the supporters aren’t a bunch of delusional idiots who expect to be competing with the likes of City etc.

    Personally I don’t think any of this is having an effect on Ashley I think he’s on a charm offensive to get Raffa to sign. The man is obviously deluded himself or very naive. I’ll continue to lie and steal and treat everyone connected with Newcastle like dirt and I can come out with a generic blurb whenever I feel like it buy a few pizzas and everyone will forget all the horrible despicable things I’ve been doing.

    Think again fatboy, if Raffa were to stay it would have to be a watertight contract with watertight measurements of investment etc. But who wants to operate in such a fashion ? If there were goodwill you could accept the fact that some years would be lean and some years would be flush and get on with it but not with this kind of model.

    All I know is that the next few months will be interesting as Ashley (for a change) will have to focus on Newcastle instead of ignoring it like the trundling Advertising Cash Cow of yore.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:59 PM

    Comment #74

    Ok Jiblets,
    Which manager with the calibre of Rafa do you think they might choose next to come riding to the rescue considering Rafa approached us. And would sign up seeing the way one of the most respected managers in world football has just been treat.

  • Ibizatoon

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:59 PM

    Comment #75

    AC…Indeed. Doubt they will mind, not easy to go against the guy who pays the bills. I suppose we’ll see if there’s any difference in the players commitment, which personally, I do think has been lacking when compared to last season.

    That undermine line is a classic. How could anyone think Mike would be disdainful towards NUFC fans? Aye, the only angle could be to undermine his wonderful as always intentions. Even if he wasn’t swearing at them (a big if), it shows their delusions thinking that it’s a stretch for people to think he was. It’s laughable.

  • toon22

    Oct 5, 2018 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #77

    But MAs seen the error of his ways


  • lesh

    Oct 5, 2018 at 1:16 PM

    Comment #78

    Rolando Aa

    Like it or not, Barnes was put in to run the club on a business footing. Until he came in, Rafa seemed to get Charnley to do what he was asked and when Barnes appeared, Rafa seemed to be faced with instructions and delays over transfers.

    Barnes’ reputation as Ashley’s fixer, the bully boy was writ large by his dealings in sacking staff at a Scottish business Ashley’d acquired – Barnes was the headless bustard who did the dirty deeds for Ashley.

    Like it or not, Barnes was (hopefully was) de facto MD, Ashley’s place man, put in over Charnley. Ashely would’ve given him the authority to do what he thought was right, was Ashley’s eyes and ears at SJP, being left to get on with it. He’s phucked up, as has Ashley – big time and if he wants Rafa to stay, it’s gonna take more than flashing the cash. He’s got a massive bridge to build.

  • magscar

    Oct 5, 2018 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #79


    Dipping In and out today so may not be coming across in a linear way as I post without necessarily having read other posts when I get a minute.

    As with others we don’t agree always but I don’t mind respectful exchanges of viewpoint without rancour and name-calling which you reciprocate.

    2 points perhaps in response to your posts.

    I thought you might recall my previous disenchantment with likes of Pardew out so as not to seem hypocritical thought it relevant to explain why I now support Magpie Group and gave done so since it’s inception. I think they are Better and equipped to carry the fight and the time is right.

    On Toon22 any support for him by respected posters just encourages him and gives him hope he is winning his I’ll conceived campaign.

    . I stayed out of the growing dissatisfaction because I do believe in free speech and simply skimmed over many of his posts. The realisation that not only had he had enough but He took glee in other decent posters trying to persuade him to stop or tone down made me realise enough is enough.

    Democracy is simply the recognition of the majority view and more are fed up with him than defend his views or right to post repetitive nonsense.

    I have tried and will revert to ignoring him best as he can.

    If this doesn’t ecplain where im coming from please look back at my posts in last 24 hours as I have wasted enough time on him.

    I will say one more thing though – a poster who admits making things up regardless of being on NUFC blog with genuine posters because in his judgement Ashley/SD don’t respond anyway is enough reason to see through the the WUM he is!!

  • Jib

    Oct 5, 2018 at 1:32 PM

    Comment #80

    Could this guy be the missing link twixt
    Kenyon and Ashley ?
    Read his cv
    He worked for five years at ManYoo under PK
    Then 4 years for Sports Direct under Justin Barmes


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