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For Rafa It’s Not About Money – It’s About Vision And Achievement – Time To Find Common Ground?

Guillem Balague has written an article for BBC sport on Thursday, and it’s about Rafa Benitez and any future he may have at Newcastle United.

Guillem knows Rafa well, and so we have reading the article a few times to see if we can get any hints as to what Rafa is really thinking about his possible future at Newcastle.

We don’t consider the article to be a positive one for people hoping that Rafa will finally stay on Tyneside when his contract runs out next June 30th.

Guillem has said it will take a lot from Ashley for Rafa to stay on board at Newcastle, but we will continue to live in hope.

For Rafa, it’s not about the money for himself, and he quickly agreed to whatever Mike Ashley offered him in wages as part of the new contract he was offered last summer.

Rafa Benitez and Guillem Balague in Rafa’s office last May during an interview

It was probably around £6M/year – but for Rafa what’s important is the money the owner will give him for new players; and also the money Ashley will be willing to invest in upgrading the infrastructure of the club.

Things like the training ground at Benton and the Youth Academy, which needs a massive overhaul to start to produce first-team players regularly in the future.

This is some of what Guillem has said in his BBC Sports article:

“It is about money, of course, but not for Benitez himself.”

“He needs it for the club, and not just on new players but also for much-needed investment in the academy, the lifeblood of the club that in the long term can help to raise it from its slumbers.”

“Backing on both fronts is conspicuous by its absence and much will depend on whether or not money is spent in the winter transfer window.”

“If it is not forthcoming then, despite Benitez’s claim that Newcastle will survive, there is a very good chance that they will be relegated and that he will be sacked, or even move on.”

“It would then fall to the owner, Mike Ashley, to explain to the fans just why he had dispensed with the services of a manager who maximized the potential of a side.”

“That was despite having to watch on helplessly as the ‘family silver’ was sold off around him and replaced, largely, with borrowed or cut-price cutlery.”

“Benitez’s reward for gaining promotion and Newcastle’s idea of preparing for a life in the Premier League was to have a net spend of about a third of what Huddersfield and Brighton spent in summer 2017.”

“In fact, the net spend of about £20M still put them well in credit on transfer dealings during Rafa’s rule and streets behind the vast majority of Premier League clubs.”

“Ashley’s claim that he would “spend every penny generated” on improving the club has – to date – translated into a 2018-2019 season in which he has made another net profit on the transfer market of about £7.5M.”

“It is not a western-style stand-off between Ashley and Benitez, though.”

“It is a matter of vision and the possibility of a project.”

“Witnesses at St James’ Park have seen the owner enjoying his recent visits to the ground, sharing time with the manager and players.”

“It might be a good time to find common ground.”

We certainly don’t think Ashley will fire Rafa – he’s trying to keep him at the club and rates him highly as a manager.

Benitez’ very presence at Newcastle will raise the amount Ashley can sell the club for.

But if the manager leaves next summer, then it will indeed put pressure on Mike Ashley to explain what exactly happened?

And Newcastle fans’ dreams will have been squashed once again.

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Comments welcome.

173 comments so far

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 24, 2018 at 2:59 PM

    Comment #1

    Aye Munster,
    I bet coming up here to fight Mikey’s relegation battles is an appealing prospect to any ambitious manager.

  • lesh

    Nov 24, 2018 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #2


    Your condemnation of the Grauniad and its readers is uncalled for.

    By your own admission, you don’t read the papers so you must form your opinions on some media input.

    So what influences your pro-Trump, anti-EU views? You must get them from somewhere – the internet perhaps? The targeted ads, articles and links placed by Aaron Banks’ anti-EU lot, Breitbart, UKIP, the BNP and other progressive groups?

    Perhaps you should read the papers – it might make you a more enlightened and tolerant person!

  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2018 at 3:07 PM

    Comment #3

    Eng vs Wallabies try after 2 mins !!!
    7 – 0

  • bettyswallocks

    Nov 24, 2018 at 3:09 PM

    Comment #4

    Lesh………. Boom. Back of the net. Hook line and sinkered. Only joshing. Sorry.

  • Ron Knee

    Nov 24, 2018 at 3:21 PM

    Comment #5

    WHam defence – not brilliant.

  • Average_Contents

    Nov 24, 2018 at 3:27 PM

    Comment #6

    Common ground?

    He’s not interested in finding anything of the sort. I’d have thought after 11 long years of managers being undermined, stripping the club to the bare bones and treating the supporters with disdain that any right minded fan could see that.

    He’s interested in one thing only.

    How NUFC benefits sh1te defect.

    Fcuking fat leech of an owner


    Fat cnut out!

  • lesh

    Nov 24, 2018 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #7

    Average C

    So apart from all that, what do you like about Ashley?


  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2018 at 3:35 PM

    Comment #8

    Mitro equalises for Fulham vs Soton

  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2018 at 3:38 PM

    Comment #9

    Leicester’s James Maddison sent off vs Brighton

  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2018 at 3:39 PM

    Comment #10

    Two yellas

  • AncientC

    Nov 24, 2018 at 3:45 PM

    Comment #11

    I used my triple captain (FF) on Mitrovic this week. Not that I can brag, with being 2nd bottom of Ed’s FF league all season. Not bad going for Mitrovic, 3 goals in his last 3 games, and that third game not finished yet. I expect Mitrovic will flourish under Ranieri. He has something like 12 goals in 14 games for Serbia—nothing to be sniffed at.

  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2018 at 3:50 PM

    Comment #12

    Fulham beating Soton 2 -1 at HT
    This is good for us

  • magscar

    Nov 24, 2018 at 3:59 PM

    Comment #13

    Not hanging around just come back in again but it seems possible to me that Rafa is using his mate GB to willingly set his agenda publically.

    We have never had such a bad owner at a time when ownership became so critical not just for a particular season – taken that as a given we fortunately have a current Manager in Rafa who until such time as Ashley decides to go is the best we could hope for.

    Some opine can he change?

    Well as posted on Blog he HAS! when it suits of course

    e.g buying in 5 players in a previous January when the spectre of relegation hung over us, giving McClaren ( or Carr whatever) a massive budget after the Carver crisis etc

    Does this mean he has finally seen the light?

    Are fans who recognise those occasions for what they were deluded?

    Can Rafa force some benefits out of Ashley because the situation will once again demand it and the adversary this time is a real “player”?

    The answer to first 2 I would say are NO but to the third a qualified YES. I don’t believe Rafa is looking for pastures new as yet but mis- steps by Ashley will propel him that way of course

  • magscar

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:06 PM

    Comment #14

    Sorry I forgot to add that I am a right minded and indeed a thinking fan but other posters are welcome to disagree but hopefully allow me the courtesy of expressing a view without being simply dismissed as deluded or a shill 😉

  • crawfordm

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:23 PM

    Comment #15

    #11 ffs whinging twat – let go will you Mitrovich has NOTHING to do with this club – why do the usual moaners always go on about ex players !!!!

  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:27 PM

    Comment #16

    Mitro now with 2 goals
    Fulham 3 Soton 2

  • lesh

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:28 PM

    Comment #17

    Magsar @13

    ‘…….. but it seems possible to me that Rafa is using his mate GB to willingly set his agenda publically…..’

    I was just about to post the same thought…. And it might just be a good and timely way of letting Ashley know that his potential problem’s not gone away with a couple of wins.

    If only Ashley’d realise that with his business acumen (channelled in the right direction of course) and Rafa’s football knowledge, vision and obvious talents, he could make NUFC into a credible force that’d project his companies’ images throughout the world.

    At a time he wants to ‘help’ government help the UK’s High Streets (aka get landlords to cut their shop rents!), he needs a positive image to counter the memories of his last appearance at the House of Commons and rebrand himself as a power of good rather than exploitative greed.

    However, if he does support Rafa, we’ll never be sure that the leopard tag is he has actually changed its spots. We can but wait and hope

  • TomaKaThor

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:31 PM

    Comment #18

    One more for Mitro and he is just top goal scorer in the league lol, Shame Rafa didn’t fancy him for whatever reason.

  • TomaKaThor

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:32 PM

    Comment #19

    Joint* top goal scorer.

  • Moonraker15

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:33 PM

    Comment #20

    Why is it good for us Fulham winning?

  • Moonraker15

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:37 PM

    Comment #21

    We need them to draw you tw@t !

  • Nostra Magpie

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:39 PM

    Comment #22

    Man city done its job, one nil win now and we jump west ham, need a late goal from Leicester to draw and soton to score, draw there will be good. I prefer teams around us to only get one point and not three.

  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:40 PM

    Comment #23

    If Soton win they go above us

  • Nostra Magpie

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:40 PM

    Comment #24

    Get in there Leicester.

  • Moonraker15

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:41 PM

    Comment #25

    I know but Fulham get closer to us!

  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:41 PM

    Comment #26

    Draw would be preferable but
    if a team has to win – better it’s Fulham
    No need for the insult

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:42 PM

    Comment #27

    Without having watched mitrovics goal I can state that he only scored because someone passed to him and that the keeper failed to save it.

  • Nostra Magpie

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:44 PM

    Comment #28

    Who mentioned Southampton winning?

  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:46 PM

    Comment #29

    Some show by Leicester
    without Maddison for an hour
    a goal behind and Vardy equalises

  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:48 PM

    Comment #30

    Soton were winning after 17 minutes

  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:51 PM

    Comment #31

    Palace stopped Man U scoring at Old Trafford

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:54 PM

    Comment #32

    Good post earlier Martoon (the long one), I also suspect the people who shout and scream don’t actually protest. And regarding the plague of frogs, I always thought it was the weakest plague imaginable until the blog was strangled of its life. Guess theAustralians can attest to the damage one rogue amphibian can do. I think theres several posters been bored away. Chase eds readership away. Thatll teach ol Mr Ashley!n

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Nov 24, 2018 at 5:01 PM

    Comment #33

    Mondays games 3am for me. Doubt I’ll stay up that late to watch Burnley park the bus on a dodgy link. But I’m quite confident of a win. Burnley didn’t get off to a winning start this year so lack that momentum and confidence you can get for a lucky start. Watford seem to be that team this year. We are the opposite with our tough start. Luckily the snowball effect seems to have wore off.

  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2018 at 5:09 PM

    Comment #34

    I thought it was Magscar

  • Nostra Magpie

    Nov 24, 2018 at 5:11 PM

    Comment #35

    Fulham winning was not good for the toon, a draw would have been better. Draw and they would be on 6 points, instead being now on 8, one point behind us at the moment. Let’s hope we beat Burnley, start to move away from the relegation area.

  • toon22

    Nov 24, 2018 at 5:15 PM

    Comment #36

    Do you think we will ever spend the money we got for Mitro ?

  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2018 at 5:17 PM

    Comment #37


  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2018 at 5:44 PM

    Comment #38

    This London derby is fizzing !!!!!!

  • bettyswallocks

    Nov 24, 2018 at 5:48 PM

    Comment #39

    Big soft shite David Luiz

  • bettyswallocks

    Nov 24, 2018 at 5:50 PM

    Comment #40

    Sissoko looks like he’s trying again.

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