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Rafa – It’s Not What We Say – It’s What We Do

After the great win on Saturday and even more so after we became mathematically safe yesterday – Rafa Benitez seems very keen to sort out his future with Newcastle.

Now we are safe nothing is stopping Rafa signing a new deal at Newcastle since we’ll be a PL club next season.

It may also bring in some new bidders for the club, but it seems Ashley is putting his price up (again), and now we read in the press he’s asking anywhere from £300M to £400M for Newcastle.

That’s even after Newcastle have paid Mike Ashley back his short-term loan of £33M, according to the last financial year accounts.

And that should theoretically reduce the amount he’s asking for the club by that amount since it reduces the amount he ‘s invested in the club by £33M.

And we really have to wonder if he wants to sell Newcastle anytime soon.

Rafa Benitez – it’s not what we say – it’s what we do

After the game on Saturday, Rafa was really upbeat, and a number of the comments he made were no doubt directed at owner Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley, who runs the financials of the club.

Here’s some of what Rafa said and he’s intent on getting things done – and not just talking about getting things done:

“Everything is about money. If you sign a player like Richarlison for £45M, then you have to pay a certain amount in wages.

“We have to be able to compete. The way that we are, we have to be competing against Everton, but they’re competing to be seventh and to go to Europe.”

“If they’re paying £140K a week in wages, how can you compete with them and attract players if you do not do the same?”

“Even if you are willing to pay a big transfer fee, you have to be willing to pay the wages.”

“Balance is the key. You can do things at this age, this price – Ki (Sung-yueng) is playing for us and was a free transfer, and is doing well.”

“I will not say what we have to do. I just want to know what we want to do, and after that, we have to decide. I will not force anyone to make any decisions.”

“I will not say to anyone what they have to do. I have been in teams without too much money and winning trophies. Not just competing, winning trophies.”

“Different teams, but more or less with the same money, against top sides, and winning trophies.”

“I have some experience, and I know what I have to do with or without money. But I want to know where we are. That’s it. Where do want to go?”

“What’s our ambition? If we cannot compete with other teams in transfer fees and wages, fine.”

“We have to say that. But it doesn’t matter what we say, it’s what we do.”

It really does seem that Rafa wants to stay at Newcastle and it’s going to take some effort from Ashley to screw this all up.

But he’s done it before, that’s what is so worrying.

Comments welcome.

132 comments so far

  • Jail for Ashley

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:13 PM

    Comment #81

    Find the post where I said you wanted O Neill!

  • Just a fan

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:14 PM

    Comment #82

    Nice to know jib
    My geography was never great.
    I once only once made third at manor park school.at geography.
    First set at maths.
    Don’t know how I’m useless at it.
    Bottom set at french.
    Wish old tufty was there. Ra Ra
    Toodle pip old boy.

  • Jib

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:18 PM

    Comment #83

    Dame Allans always used to hammer Manor Park at
    rugby – being six formers we partook of the delights
    of the Newton Park afterwards.

  • Jib

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:19 PM

    Comment #84

    Burnley putting on a good show vs Chelsea

  • Lindisfarne

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:20 PM

    Comment #85

    Sounds like Diame might be prepared to go the automatic one year extension to his contract in favour of longer opportunities elsewhere. Does this mean that he will be given a starting position ahead of Shelvey?

  • Jail for Ashley

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:20 PM

    Comment #86

    My mate has two season tickets, he’s thinking of giving one up as his daughter has moved away for work, as he works away and I work away it makes perfect sense for us to go halves on the tickets. I have said I will if Rafa stays, it’s not the Gallowgate but really nice seats in the Milburn stand, I hope very much that half those tickets are mine next season, if Rafa is forced out they wont be.

  • lochinvar

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:24 PM

    Comment #87

    Rafa clearly worked out that for Perez to flourish he needed to protect him and assist with two minders. Rondon to deal with the physical preoccupation of defenders and Almeron to run them ragged and draw them all over the place. Either way space opens up and Perez has those extra few seconds to flourish. If defenders go after him then Almeron and Rondon are dangerous.
    Works for them. Works for Rafa. Works for me and the other 52,209 who are in SJP.

  • lochinvar

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:26 PM

    Comment #88

    You’ll need a ballot to decide which games to go to.
    Just hope it’s easier for you than Brexit.

  • Jib

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:28 PM

    Comment #89

    Diamé is 32 in 8 weeks I don’t think he has many options.

  • geordie157

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:32 PM

    Comment #90

    Really hope Rafa uses the last three games to start Muto with Almiron being injured.

  • Jib

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:34 PM

    Comment #91

    I don’t believe you
    You’re lying

  • Jib

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:37 PM

    Comment #92

    You don’t have any mates

  • toon22

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:38 PM

    Comment #93

    Ahh JIB

    For you to claim anyone is lying is amazing

    The king of utter BS
    Who posts under multiple accounts


  • Jail for Ashley

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:46 PM

    Comment #94

    What don’t you believe?

  • Jail for Ashley

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:48 PM

    Comment #95

    I’ve got real ones, not loads but enough. They’re not barristers, doctors, journalists or looky looky men, but they’re real 😀

  • Novocastrian66

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:54 PM

    Comment #96

    Looks like no-one wants to be in the top four except the top two. If you know what I mean.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:55 PM

    Comment #97

    I’ve just said exactly the same to the bloke I’m watching the match with.

  • Novocastrian66

    Apr 22, 2019 at 9:59 PM

    Comment #98

    Great minds.

  • Pain in the Blog

    Apr 22, 2019 at 10:40 PM

    Comment #99


    Just catching up on the blog. Looks like you’ve been jumped on a few times without due cause. Bobbybee, one of my favourite posters, had a bit of a tantrum (albeit a zen tantrum). Seems that it hasn’t bothered you too much. On you go, mate.

  • L Toon

    Apr 22, 2019 at 11:37 PM

    Comment #100

    Jamaal Lascelles’ frank message for Newcastle board as he admits players are worried Rafa Benitez may leave

    Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez is into the final six weeks of his Magpies contract and is yet to commit to a new deal


    Chris WaughNUFC Writer

    22:30, 22 APR 2019

    Jamaal Lascelles admits Newcastle United players are concerned Rafa Benitez could leave this summer – and has encouraged the Magpies board to do “everything they can” in order to convince their manager to stay.

    The 59-year-old Newcastle boss is into the final six weeks of his Magpies contract and, although he is in talks with the club over a possible extension, he is yet to receive the “answers” or assurances he wants before he will commit his future to United.

    Benitez wants greater control over how Newcastle conduct transfers, to be given flexibility with their transfer blueprint, as well as the funds to offer wages and transfer budgets which can ensure United are competitive with the likes of Everton, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City when it comes to fighting for a seventh-placed finish.

    Seemingly United captain Lascelles believes the Newcastle hierarchy should cede to at least some of Benitez’s demands, and do whatever it takes to convince the Spaniard to stay at St James’ Park.

    “It’s a bit of a silly question – yes, of course,” Lascelles responded when asked if the players shared the fans’ desire for Benitez to stay beyond the summer.

    “Since he’s been here, we’ve been doing really well. Even in the season we got relegated, he came in and we started winning games. In the Championship season we came first, 10th last year, and now we are finishing strongly this year.

    “Of course, as players, we want him here but we are not in control of whatever is going on. But hopefully he gets tied down.

    “Yes, of course it does [worry us as players that he might leave] – there aren’t many managers like him. Of course, as players, we want him here and Newcastle should do everything they can to keep him.”

    During Benitez’s three years in charge, Lascelles has progressed from a little-used squad player to the club’s captain and an undisputed member of Newcastle’s first-choice XI.

    Benitez handed Lascelles the armband at the tender age of 22 and, over the past three seasons, has helped the centre-back improve immeasurably to the point where he is one of the most consistent in England.

    Unlike previous managers he has worked under, Lascelles insists the desire to impress Benitez has never worn off – and he is constantly looking for even the slightest piece of praise from the Spaniard, who is a self-professed perfectionist.

    In Lascelles’ opinion, Benitez is a “special” boss, and there are few managers around who are able to get the maximum out of his players in the way the Spaniard has been able to at St James’ Park.

    “As players, when you get a manager in for the first couple of days and the first week, you want to impress him so much,” Lascelles said when asked to explain what it is that makes Benitez so special.

    “But, with Rafa, that has stayed for the whole time he has been here. Even with me; I know him very well now, we’ve been working together for a long time, but I still want to impress him every single session, every single day. I just want to keep impressing him.

    “I guess when he’s got all that respect off all the players, it brings a hard-working team and a hard-working team which is tough to beat.

    “Yes, he is [special]. Even at the start of the season, when everyone is panicking [during the 10-game winless streak] and we’ve got all those big teams to play, and we find ourselves down in the bottom three, he stays so calm.

    “He knows his players, he trusts his own ability to get the best out of his players, and that’s such an important thing for a manager to have.”

    Newcastle confirmed their Premier League status for another season with a 3-1 victory over Southampton on Saturday, their sixth win in their past seven home matches.

    After the game, before celebrating, Benitez walked on to the field, scouted out individual players, put his arm around them, and spoke to them about specific incidents from the match.

    One of the players who Benitez sought was Lascelles – and the 25-year-old has revealed his manager told him he should have done better when defending Mario Lemina’s goal for the Saints, and will sit his skipper down this week to watch over the video of the incident and explain to him how he could better defend it in future.

    “It was just about Southampton’s goal,” Lascelles explained about what Benitez had said to him immediately following the win over Southampton.

    “He’s a perfectionist. He will praise you when it’s due. But, if it’s not 100 per cent, he will tell you. It’s [about] learning.

    “That’s why I’ve come on leaps and bounds. He is not going to praise you if you don’t keep a clean sheet. He’s going to think about the chances they’ve had and what you could have done to stop it, and I think that’s excellent from him.

    “I should have done better with that [Lemina’s] goal, it shouldn’t have even been a cross. So I will be sat down in his office and he will be grilling me about that like we lost the game. But that’s him for you and, as players, we all appreciate that.”

  • GeordieTwo

    Apr 22, 2019 at 11:56 PM

    Comment #101

    Some answers for Rafa’s questions from Mike Ashley: “well errm we want to stay in the Prem indefinitely without any more relegations. Yes, that’s it. And we don’t want to spend any large sum of money on players. Not even good young ones. No, that just wouldn’t do. And we don’t want to rise too high in the table because then we encounter all sorts of awkward difficulties to do with competing in Europe, as we did with Parsnip. So, no, we don’t want to get anywhere near 7th or higher. No…. So other than that you’re free to do whatever you want Rafa. And if you want to throw some of your wage into purchasing players and paying salaries that would be just excellent!!!

  • GeordieTwo

    Apr 22, 2019 at 11:58 PM

    Comment #102

    Oh and Rafa? If you could please sign on the dotted line straight away (you don’t even need to read the contract) that would be just jim dandy!!!

  • toon22

    Apr 23, 2019 at 12:00 AM

    Comment #103

    The fact MA went on holiday right when he was needed by the club,again,says everything you’ll ever need to know

  • GeordieTwo

    Apr 23, 2019 at 12:00 AM

    Comment #104

    Mikey loves him a good cooperative manager he does….

  • toon22

    Apr 23, 2019 at 12:01 AM

    Comment #105

    Ever wondered why MA runs us by proxy?

    Will find out from the FA if there’s any point


  • toon22

    Apr 23, 2019 at 12:03 AM

    Comment #106

    Wouldn’t it be a proper shame if his plans to elude the FAs fit and proper rules were dashed
    Right at the last moment

    Hiya KBA

  • GeordieTwo

    Apr 23, 2019 at 12:03 AM

    Comment #107

    That was a good effort on Saturday except for the first half of the second half. I thought Perez was excellent and and so was Dummett in defense. He made numerous critical clearances and was a tremendous steadying influence.

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 23, 2019 at 12:15 AM

    Comment #108

    Jail, go fínd it yourself to prove me wrong. And find the post where I preferred Pearson to rafa. What I had said was, if rafa leaves, we shoukd look at Pearson who got Leicester up. You’re a twister and I’m just highlighting the fact. Also, go find me the post where I denigrated rafa because of the size of his hands. Off you go Mr Twister. And when u are finished, do the decent thing and find the 8-10 times I said I want rafa here long term. Lying fool, you’re never wrong are you? lmao.

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 23, 2019 at 12:17 AM

    Comment #109

    Geordie two I like dummet Central rather than as a pure left back. Very steady, quick, alert.

  • toon22

    Apr 23, 2019 at 1:33 AM

    Comment #110


    That’s the equivalent of saying I’m wrong in blog terms

  • toon22

    Apr 23, 2019 at 1:34 AM

    Comment #111

    It’s never MAs fault


  • lesh

    Apr 23, 2019 at 1:54 AM

    Comment #112

    L Toon

    Lascelles’s message to Mikey boy’s quite clear but Mikey boy won’t like that – he runs the show, not the players.

    I really wonder whether Ashley’s thought this through, looked at the risks attached to and the costs of ignoring Rafa.

  • NY Mag

    Apr 23, 2019 at 3:21 AM

    Comment #113


    My apologies for my tardiness, I owe you a response from last night.

    Having read your reply, I can say that I agree with pretty much everything you say.
    I’ve always said that I think Rafa will stay (my confidence has been shaken a little over the last week or so ) but I still think he will stay.

    My biggest concern is the changing of the business model / transfer blueprint the club has, Rafa name dropped Everton, Leicester and West Ham and said we need to compete (wages and transfers) with them – all of those clubs are prepared to borrow money (from various sources) to spend what they don’t currently have and Ashley won’t allow that – I don’t know if that’s his general business outlook (as I don’t study his other companies) or whether he has a specific dislike with respect to us because of the financial situation he inherited when he bought us.

    Having said that, we are in a pretty healthy financial position – forget about the 18,5M profit we made in the accounts just released (that has no resemblance to the cash flow)……we generated about 42M in cash last season and assuming we do the same this season (now we have no short term debt) we could in theory spend that and more – contrary to popular belief on this blog, we don’t pay upfront in cash for all signings.

    I would think the bigger sticking point is wages – in the accounts just released, our wage bill was 103M (that’s still short of the three other teams Rafa mentioned)……that is 58% of revenue, the “club” has made it very clear that they see 60% as the target, so we’ve got a little leeway, but not much – it’s imperative that we offload the deadwood in the summer (we have 6 players returning from loans)

    I guess I’ve waffled on more than enough now……so I’ll leave it there 🙂

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Apr 23, 2019 at 4:06 AM

    Comment #114

    I haven’t really looked into the accounts, but it seems to me we had a net spend of about £20m+ on players (Lejuene, Murphy, Joselu etc -), paid £33m off debt, and still made a profit of £19m. Charnley also says there was £11m carrying over from last season. I’m confused as to why if there was £19m profit, Charnley doesn’t say there was £19m carried over for transfers. Does he mean this 11m was from the previous season, meaning there is now 30m carrying over? Also does it mean that if Ashley hadn’t took his loan and we’d broke even on transfers instead of spending about 20m+ we’d have made a profit of £70m+?

  • NY Mag

    Apr 23, 2019 at 4:26 AM

    Comment #115


    Firstly, don’t try and reconcile what the accounts say as profit – this bears absolutely no resemblance to the actual cash flow at the club.

    Secondly, the accounts show the the net spend was ~£53M

    And the £33M payback to Ashley happened after the date for these accounts, so is not included

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Apr 23, 2019 at 4:42 AM

    Comment #116

    I still think Ashley has taken more from his loan. My original guess was that he’d take some in the summer and some in January, the second amount depending on how desperate our situation was at the time. We’re in a catch 22 situation now. If we don’t give Benitez money to spend, he’s off and we’re screwed barring a miracle. If we do give him biggish money then we can’t pay this loan and we will be stuck with Ashley as owner for a long time. Personally I’d do anything to keep Benitez happy as I think we will probably go down without him. If we bring in another dinosaur like Moyes, Hughes or even Hodgson or some Italian manager it will be too much to bear.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Apr 23, 2019 at 4:57 AM

    Comment #117

    I do realise we don’t pay upfront or get paid upfront, but since I can’t be bothered to look at the accounts I’m trying to simplify it in my head using bits and pieces I pick up from you and others. I studied accountancy and maths at a higher level and found both easy, however our accounts seem a lot more difficult to fully understand. It’s difficult to get your head around these figures as they are a year old and without looking you don’t know which transfers are included. I think you need to look at several years together to understand anything.

    Our net spend was £53m? I’m shocked. The way many talk I’d have been less surpised if it was minus £53m.

  • NY Mag

    Apr 23, 2019 at 5:33 AM

    Comment #118


    I read all accounts from all PL clubs, ours is actually one of the easier to understand – some of them (man city comes to mind)……I can’t make head nor tail of….

    I was also shocked at the 53M net spend – that’s certainly massively different from what you’ll see on transfermarkt or other such sites and is also far away from what was reported in the press at the time (that means either the club is up to no good or the press haven’t got a clue what our undisclosed deals are – I’ll let you decide which)

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Apr 23, 2019 at 6:14 AM

    Comment #119

    Or we’d sold our players just before the 2017 cut-off, and bought our players after that date, and the next year we bought some players before the cut-off date and sold them after. It certainly doesn’t tally with what any of us think or were led to believe especially when we’d still be getting money in from Sissoko and Gini. Maybe Joselu was £50m but they forgot to add the 0.

  • Lindisfarne

    Apr 23, 2019 at 6:22 AM

    Comment #120

    I am curious why the article with Lascelles did not mention the improvement in the teams performance over the season. I would like to know why we had such a poor start to the season and if it had anything to do with the ongoing hostility between the owner and manager.


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