The issue of no January signings was something hotly debated by Newcastle fans.

As all the other promotion chasers added to their squads, NUFC didn’t get anybody ‘over the line’.

Rafa Benitez made clear that he had given Lee Charnley his list of targets and that he was expecting at least one or two new faces.

As January came to an end with no signings made, Rafa showed his unhappiness with what had gone on…or rather hadn’t, only to then issue a professional ‘business as usual’ message to fans and media.

He’d got the message out that he wasn’t happy with the actions of the club but was adamant that he wasn’t going to allow this to derail the promotion charge.

Most Newcastle fans thought it made good sense to bring in at least some new signings, both to give fresh impetus to the promotion challenge and potentially help prepare for what will be a tough task if Newcastle are back in the Premier League next season.

The last two promotion seasons saw:

Kevin Keegan brought in Andy Cole, Mark Robinson and Scott Sellars in March 1993.

Whilst Chris Hughton recruited Leon Best, Mike Williamson, Wayne Routledge, Fitz Hall (loan), Patrick van Aanholt (loan) and Danny Simpson (made his loan deal permanent) in January 2010 to help complete the job

So the question is, has the failure by Mike Ashley to back Rafa Benitez negatively (or positively?) affected the promotion charge?

You can never know for sure but the results are the only thing we can use to give some guidance.

The results before and after the transfer window ended:

Before: Played 27 Won 19 Drawn 1 Lost 7

After: Played 11 Won 5 Drawn 5 Lost 1

Before: 58 points from 27 games at an average of 2.15 points per match

After: 20 points from 11 games at an average of 1.82 points per match

Before: That points average would give 99 points over a 46 match season

After: That points average would give 84 points over a 46 match season

The stats tell us that results/points have dipped since the failure to make any January signings.

The feeling has to be that if Rafa Benitez thought players were worth bringing in, they would have added extra quality/strength to the team and squad for the remainder of the season.

As injuries and loss of form for some have hit the squad, new faces could/would have freshened things up and quite possibly helped add more points. Never mind the possibility of settling new players in so they are better prepared to be part of Newcastle team in the Premier League next season, hopefully.

Looking at the results since January, it is the number of drawn matches that stand out, five in 11 after only one in the previous 27.

Adding one or two quality players would surely have helped turn at least one or two of the QPR, Norwich, Reading, Bristol City and Birmingham matches into wins.

Every point is priceless in this quest for instant bounce back promotion, so let’s hope Mike Ashley’s failure to back Rafa Benitez mid-season doesn’t cost us all.

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])



  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    With the Fat Man back on the scene don`t expect a pot of gold in the summer for transfers, it ain`t going to happen

    • Wor Lass

      A pot of gold? The best you could hope for with him would be a Sakacaki – and that wouldn`t be a Japanese motorbike! Your kid was enjoying some peace and quiet over the last few days.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        Laptops fixed, i`ll be around on the chron see my mates Harry & Toon till i die

        • Wor Lass

          They don`t think you`ve been away – the Moose is behind every tree in their world!

    • Guilttripjunkie

      He needs to spend 80 to 100 million if Newcastle are to avoid being next years Sunderland. The standard in the Championship is poor and at least half the present team won’t cut it in the EPL.

    • Jezza

      Agreed 100%. If we do get promoted, fatman will no doubt think that the same squad that finished top two in the Championship will be good enough to finish 17th in the Premiership.

      • steve

        Is this the same fatman who gave McLaren a net spend of around £75 million to keep us in the league last year?

        • Jezza

          Yes but that £75 million was just part of the accumulated transfer profit the club had made over the years under fatman. Fatman didn’t give McClaren that money, the money was generated from selling our best players.

        • Jezza

          And also the same fatman who didn’t give Rafa a penny in January despite a £30 million transfer profit in the summer.

  • steve

    Signing the right players might have gained us a few extra points but signing players for the sake of signing them wouldn’t (would singing another Lazaar or Gamez really have helped?). By all accounts Rafa identified Tom Cairney and was quoted 20 million, no wonder it didn’t happen.

    • Jezza

      Well why not bleeding well pay the £20 million? I’d rather have Tom Cairney turning out for NUFC than see the money gathering interest in fatman’s bank account. There’d still have been £10 million left over from the summer transfer profit too. Fatman can’t have it both ways. He can’t expect to squeeze £30 million out of Spurs for a waster like Sissoko then get other clubs to sell him their best players on the cheap.

      • steve

        Because he isn’t worth it, we have a squad which should already be more than capable of promotion and he will be available for less if he is still a target come the summer.

        • Jezza

          Waiting till the summer to get a transfer target for less money could cost us promotion. If we do miss out this season I hope you consider that £20 million fatman saved in January to be “worth it”.

          • steve

            If we don’t get promoted with our squad then it’s down to the manager, not having a player who will sit on the bench behind Shelvey won’t be the reason we don’t go up.

          • Jezza

            I’m afraid I have to disagree on that one. I don’t think our crop of players is good enough, especially compared with the promotion teams of 83/84, 92/93 and 09/10. Rafa can only work with what he’s got. If we fail I will blame Ashley for not giving Rafa the required funds to do the job properly.

          • It’s bobbi fleckman

            If Rafa can’t get us up as champions with that squad, he’s not as good as we thought. He will.

            The 83/84 side had waddle and Beardsley as well as Keegan and Terry Mac (the latter two were on their last legs) otherwise, we were not that good. 92/93 had exceptional young players and the league was far weaker but we still had Kevin Scott, Franz carr, Mark Stimpson playing regularly who’d not get in the current squad’s bench (it was also a different era when players should drop a division as the money and profile weren’t so different). The 09/10 side? Carroll and Nolan were the stand out players in that team with Gutierez getting a lot of games but generally being a fans’ boo boy. Enrique was better than Dummett but otherwise, it wasn’t a better squad.

          • It’s bobbi fleckman

            You have a record shop, suggesting we should break the bank to stockpile players is akin to someone telling you to stock up on every album released since 1960 on the basis of that punter wanting Pere ubu’s difficult follow up album from 1979. You may sell a few more albums on account of supply but you’ll soon run out of money.

      • It’s bobbi fleckman

        It’s all very well saying this when it aint your money. £20m from a championship side is a huge amount. £10m is not left over from the summer, NUFC will make a loss this season and that has to come from somewhere.

        • Jezza

          Are you saying that if you were forced to choose, you’d rather see NUFC balance the books than get promoted?

          • It’s bobbi fleckman

            No, as a fan, I want us to get promoted and win everything in sight but I’m very aware of what happens if the finances are not right and attepts at winning everything in sight has become an awfully expensive hoppy. Everything has to be managed, I suspect we will make a sizeable loss this year in any case and like it or not, that money has to be found from somewhere. Making £20m purchases and failing to get promoted is not good for the future of the club because make too many bad signings and with the wage-roll we currently have, bad purchases and failure to deliver can quickly become a club that sinks like a stone (we’ve been close to it before when following the spendalot model).

  • mentalman

    Bit of a misleading article, the club made offers for the players rafa identified and most weren’t for sale, not much more the club could have done about that!

    Brighton did strengthen and their points/results have dropped

    • Cuh736

      Exactly @mentalman

  • Wor Monga

    The stats you’ve used here (over the last 11 league games) are interesting only because they can’t be used to prove this argument one way or the other …since the start of 2017 we’ve played 14 league games…7 wins, 5 draws, and lost 2 times…but 2 of those draws (QPR, Norwich) were due to out of character stupid errors by our keeper, and another draw (at Birmingham) due the fault of officials ruling out what was a perfectly good goal…which would have given us … 10 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses =2.28 pts/gm…

    …Remember Dwight Gayle didn’t play in at least 8 of those 14 matches, and only played for part of 3 others…which makes the actual average of 1.85 (over the 14) even more remarkable when you weigh up what that average would be over the previous 24 games without his fantastic tally of 20 goals!!!

  • Guilttripjunkie

    As much as I can’t stand this regime, Benetiz was given 50m to spend on the promotion bid. He needs to change the tactics at home in order to stop dropping points.

    • Alex

      Purchases wouldn’t have been purely to ensure promotion, they’d have been made with an eye on suitability to lay EPL foundations.

      The biggest flaw in what they’ve done is now having to bed-in around 5 new players during pre-season, when they could’ve got a couple of them up to ‘Newcastle / Rafa speed’ already.

      • Wor Monga

        How can you do that without being totally assured of promotion?…Rafa would have been happy with Townsend, but it had to be a loan to satisfy both us and the player…Palace wouldn’t agree to that…
        …We already know well enough what his capabilities are!!!

        • Jezza

          I’m sure Townsend would have come on a permanent deal with a similar escape clause to last time if we missed out on promotion. It had to be a loan for Townsend purely because Ashley wouldn’t sanction an outright purchase. In the end the fatman wouldn’t even sanction the loan deal.

          • It’s bobbi fleckman

            Palace would have to accept that offer, one that would have not given them any money to replace him. They were not going to let Townsend go when threatened with relegation, you have to be realistic.

    • Jezza

      Benitez was not given £50 million to spend. Ashley was given £30 million profit from our transfer dealings this summer. Rafa was merely given just over 60% of the club’s incoming transfer fees to re-invest and that put him in a hopeless position when trying to replace players of the calibre of Townsend and Wijnaldum etc.

      • It’s bobbi fleckman

        ‘hopeless position’ jeez, that’s nonsense.

        • Jezza

          I would say that being tasked with taking over a relegated team and getting that team promoted at the first attempt while also being required to make a substantial profit on transfer dealings is a pretty hopeless task.

          • It’s bobbi fleckman

            We had the best squad of the relegated sides, a squad that cost far more than any other in the championship on higher wages & we got the new players in before we lost the player who’s sale gave us this “profit” you talk of. Talking of a transfer profit in isolation is meaningless in any case

      • Guilttripjunkie

        Not spent 50m ???? Gayle 10m Richie 12m Sels 5m Diame 5m Yedlin 5m Hanley 6m Clarke 5m Gamez 1m comes to just shy of 50m. The money he was given drawfs the spending of rival teams at the top. Reading have spent 3m. The poor results at home due to over cautious and predictable tactics explain why promotion is not certain.

        • Jezza

          Dear God what does it take to get through to you people? I never denied the club spent £50 million on players. The point I have been bashing my head against the wall to make is that the £50 million did not come in the form of a cash injection from Ashley, it came out of the pot of £80 million generated from selling players. Yes Rafa was able to spend £50 million on new players but he also had to sell £80 million worth of players to do it. It’s not as if he has was given £50 million worth of new players on top what he already had to work with.

          • It’s bobbi fleckman

            You think we received £30 in cash from Tottenham? Palace admitted that they’d only made one instalment on Townsend so far, We may have got something more tangible from Liverpool for Winni as he was in demand but it’s a bit naive to think the headline prices mean a £80m pot. Also, we’re running a huge payroll with a huge squad on far less income, that has to be financed.

          • Jezza

            Maybe we didn’t get £30 up front in a oncer from Spurs but I’m sure the much vaunted £50 million “spend” didn’t all go out up front in a oncer either.

          • It’s bobbi fleckman

            Sissoko’s fee is said to be based on a few contingencies as well as being on the never-never. Townsend’s is a little different, the fee is set in stone although payments are staged.

            As far as we are concerned, reports at the time say Ashley’s team did not want to pay for transfers in instalments and contingency because it’s one of the things that burnt fingers when sorting through the financial mess of the previous regime. IT would be sensible to change that policy for a season in the championship in order to finance a promotion drive without creating a cashflow crisis (and would also explain access to a £30m loan facility from MA to keep the business legally solvent).

            The real issue is the ongoing expenses, you can’t look at a transfer profit in August and assume we’re minted, there are a whole host of other costs (and income for that matter) to consider.

    • Cuh736

      So the tactics which work away suddenly don’t work at home eh? Wonderful logic.

      • Stephen Paylor

        if you think playing one up front and 2 holding midfielders at home is a good idea then you shouldnt be watching

        • Cuh736

          I don’t get your point. Is a football team meant to have a different formation for home and away games? Because to me, the obvious difference between the home and away games is the home crowd

      • Guilttripjunkie

        The points dropped at home against weak teams could cost automatic promotion. Five defeats at home indicate his tactics could have been better.

  • Jezza

    If we do miss out on promotion it won’t be results in March, April and May that cost us. I will look back at the January window as the period when we blew it.

    • Damon Horner

      and no doubt praise the astuteness of Ashley’s “meddling” if promotion is assured! ;)

      • Jezza

        If we do get promoted it will be in spite of fatman not because of him.

    • It’s bobbi fleckman

      Yep, it’s not like we’ve got any decent players who just make the bench. We have a squad that costs far more than any other club.

      • Jezza

        We also made more profit in the transfer market than any other club by selling more quality players than any other club. Our squad is still inadequate and not even as good as the one that got relegated last season.

        • It’s bobbi fleckman

          IT’s not as good as we don’t have Winni or the paper version of Sissoko. Both wanted out, as did townsend. We know Sissoko could only turn it on now and again, so really we’re down a Winni but gained in Defence and attack.

  • mactoon

    It’s a given that playing two games a week would end in injuries, suspensions and lack of form. This, together with the fact that the chasing clubs would strengthen their squads meant the January window was the ideal time to bring in an additional two or three players with a view to sealing promotion with one eye on the Premiership next season.

    The argument that we couldn’t get players in is weak, given that every other club managed to get players in. The gap has now closed at the top of the table and I can’t help think what might have been if the club had shown some ambition and paid what the selling clubs wanted. It just indicates to me that they are willing to gamble promotion to save money. Ring a bell with anyone?

    The total lack of any incoming players reminds me of past transfer windows when the ‘football board’ failed to do any business and concerns me that this was the case in January. If Ashley is reverting to his failed policy I can see Rafa getting us promoted and seriously considering his future in the summer. His comments after the window shut showed he was not happy and with a promotion on his CV there will be other offers on the table for his services.

    This is a big crossroads for the club. I hope Ashley sees sense and allows Rafa to continue the project of rebuilding the club without interference.

    • Damon Horner

      Not as weak as you make out really. We’re in this big black hole where we want the players who are good enough for the Premier League and they’re either not for sale at a reasonable price or being targeted by less risky already established Premier League clubs which we could easily lose out to in transfer wars because we don’t have an assured promotion so could still be a second tier club next year, a risk they’d feel they didn’t need to take and behind us is a wave of players not good enough if we do get promoted and would be pointless to sign who moved to various Championship clubs. I back the decisions of targeting the likes of Townsend, it’s just not as easy as Football Manager makes it look.

  • Jimblag23

    If Gayle hadn’t got injured the points average would undoubtedly be higher.

    • Jezza

      Yes and if the club had invested properly in the transfer market and not gone through such a crucial season with one decent striker on our books we would still have had that higher points average because we would have been better able to cope with Gayle’s injury.

      • Keeganontherebound

        We are in the championship. I don’t see that many strikers better than Murphy/Mitro available for reasonable fees and willing to play in the second tier. Then add in Rafa’s system and the fact that you’d need someone willing to sit on the bench while Gayle plays as the lone striker. Can’t see who we could have signed who would have done a better job than Murphy…

        • Jezza

          Well we managed to sign Dwight Gayle didn’t we. I’m sure we could have got another striker of the same calibre for a similar fee. Perhaps the reason Rafa has been playing Gayle as a lone striker is because we haven’t got another striker good enough to play alongside him. Mitrovic has been utterly useless while Murphy is a decent mid table Championship striker but not the kind of player who will fire a team to promotion like Peter Beardsley in 84, David Kelly in 93 or Andy Carroll in 10.

          • It’s bobbi fleckman

            Who? And you have to put yourself in the player’s shoes. Any player coming here knows he’s starting on the bench and then has to be better than Gayle.

            David Kelly was not bought in by KK to push for promotion, he was bought in by Ozzie in a team that was very close to getting relegated mainly because Quinn had been injured. The best example you could have given was Andy Cole who did cement our promotion push but I’m really not aware of anyone in that class being available who’d have moved to the championship.

          • Jezza

            You’ve missed the point again. It doesn’t matter who signed David Kelly, when or why. All I was saying is that Daryl Murphy is not in the same class as David Kelly.

          • It’s bobbi fleckman

            Daryl Murphy is certainly different to David Kelly, perhaps Perez has that movement similar to Kelly but the point / Question remains, Who? Palace weren’t letting Townsend go to us as they didn’t get much hard cash if sold to us (and he plays in a positiion we were well catered for) and it would have weakened them, you may think there is a Dwight Gayle quality striker looking to move but who? Leeds were not about to sell Wood, Tammy Abraham belongs to Chelsea and we’d not offer game time for him, I think you can only point to Scott Hogan but we’re still only offering the bench and I think he needed to continue to show form in the championship so it would have been a bad career move for him to come here, site on the bench and potentially get frozen out in the premier league. Cameron Jerome? again, why would he?

            If you start fishing in the premier league, the obvious one was Oghalo but £20m, wages that is said to be in excess of £5m a year (that soon eats away at that £30 imaginary ‘profit’ you refer to) added to the fact that he failed to get close to his form last season.

            There is no magic player who guarantees promotion, if there was, everyone would be after him.

  • Cuh736

    Did Mike Ashley also block the Tom Cleverley transfer? Rafa Benitez himself made some comments about how difficult getting players was proving. No one was ready to take a drop in January, thats that.

    But no, some fans love to ignore the obvious and Chase innuendos

  • Leazesl Ender

    Charnley relegated us twice…. and January is going to be his Hat-trick….

    • It’s bobbi fleckman

      Genius, which matchwinner did we fail to ‘land’? Modou Barrow?

  • Stephen Paylor

    performance hasnt dipped because we didnt make any january signings. It has just dipped that all. Facts are 1 – we have a good enough squad and talented enough manager to win promotion anyway. 2 – Nobody of any value was available to us at a price that made sense. 3 – better to not simply waste money unless we can get the players we want. 4 – Rafa knows better than anyone the situation so just get behind him

  • Mark Scott

    We are still top of the league and a handful of wins away from all but securing promotion. The fact is that most of the players signed by our rivals were simply not good enough to improve our squad let alone our first team…they were almost just securing some extra bodies to help their thin squads. We were in a position where spending stupid amounts on mediocre talent that would not be good enough for the Premier League anyway just didn’t make any sense and anyone good enough was unlikely to come here while we are still in the Championship…

  • thewildchimp

    Well, if we don’t get promoted – it is a disastrous move, if we do – it’s a brilliant one. I believe United would cruise to the end if a backup was signed, but I have no doubts we will go up.

    Basically, it was a gamble. A very stupid one, but who knows…