Summer 2016 saw Rafa Benitez agree to stay at Newcastle United, despite the club ending up in the Championship despite his best efforts.

Mike Ashley clinging onto stooge Steve McClaren for far too long, before far too late he accepted change had to be made and Rafa Benitez then approached the club offering his services.

The Spaniard seeing a potential in the club that Ashley and his minions previously hadn’t appeared to share.

It was widely reported last summer, and taken for granted by the fans, that Rafa Benitez had only agreed to stay at St James Park if he was now the main man when it comes to transfers. Having the final say on who was bought and sold by Newcastle.

I have no doubts that this was agreed, with rather than Graham Carr or other anonymous people behind the scenes recommending what happened, it was now the ‘radical plan’ of the manager actually choosing players he would want to manage and who he believed would improve his team/squad.

Saturday night has now brought widespread media claims that Rafa Benitez isn’t happy with the lack of signings so far this summer, with some claiming he could be on the verge of walking away if the club don’t back him.

Some Newcastle fans have responded with the line that the story must be rubbish because Rafa Benitez has full control of transfers, so why would he be unhappy as it is him making the decisions.

This is a far too unrealistic interpretation of Rafa’s, or indeed any other manager’s position, Ashley/NUFC haven’t just handed Rafa Benitez a fully loaded credit/debit card to the tune of £60m/£70m/£80m/£whatever…and he then swans around Europe/UK on a shopping trip, picking up any players that take his fancy.

Rafa might be the main man when deciding on transfer targets but nothing else has changed in the process, just like Graham Carr (or whoever previously), the United boss will propose various signings and then it is up to Mike Ashley and his minions to make the official approach and decide as to whether they pay the transfer fee and wages.

We are all guilty of remembering what we want to remember and that is definitely the case with last season.

It is only four months ago when Rafa Benitez made clear how unhappy he was at a lack of signings in January.

As outlined above, the Newcastle Manager had put forward a number of players he wanted to sign and Mike Ashley didn’t allow anybody to be brought in, not even on loan.

Less than 24 hours after the January window closed, Newcastle played out a really poor 2-2 home draw with QPR and when interviewed afterwards (see below) made clear how unhappy he was with what had (hadn’t!) happened regarding transfers.

However, he then did the professional thing and said that now he just had to get on with the players he had been left with, to try and ensure promotion was achieved, then look to see what happened in the summer.

We are in the summer now and still no signings (apart from Atsu’s loan conversion into permanent), Rafa Benitez wasn’t happy in January/February and he must surely feel the same way now, only eight days until pre-season training and no new players.

How much of that unhappiness will be directed at Mike Ashley and others running the club (recently claimed Ashley’s confidante Justin Barnes had been sent in to take any major financial decisions above Lee Charnley) is of course the unknown, how much it is a difficult market and how much it is down to those at Newcastle United.

Having seen a number of transfer windows (including the summer ones) when Mike Ashley hasn’t allowed a single player to be bought, Newcastle fans know just how extreme the club’s owner can go.

We believe in Rafa but I can’t see how anybody can have belief in the rest of them at the club.

Let’s just hope that the Manager gets things pushing his way.

From The Mag 1 February 2017:

After the game, Newcastle’s poor display ensured that questions would be asked about the failure to strengthen the squad last month.

Asked if he was surprised no signings were made, Rafa Benitez said ‘Yes’.

Then the United boss was asked if he had an explanation about what had happened yesterday (deadline day) and why no signings happened, Rafa replying ‘No – because I don’t know’.

Clearly disappointed about the failure to strengthen and especially in not bringing in a wide player, Rafa Benitez was left to try and put a positive spin on the upcoming matches and the rest of the season.

Rafa Benitez:

“We knew what we needed and we knew what we have so we have to bring the best from the players we have.

“I can’t change things now so I have to concentrate on bringing the best from my players.

“I said before I am disappointed but I have to concentrate on the players we have and try to improve them.

“Hopefully we can get three points in the next game and start doing things in the same way we did in the first half of the season.”



  • Leicester Mag

    Nothing would surprise me. Where is the evidence things had changed? Massive profit on transfers last summer, huge risks taken in January as our short armed chancer chose to keep ‘powder dry’. Usual pattern of apparent interest in selling, deflecting yet again from the task in hand. Hope this turns out to be wrong but history sadly says otherwise.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    sell before you buy, that has been the Pie Mans policy & it remains in place, his bean counter the Minion Penfold is waiting for the 1st of July
    Rafa may be in charge of recruiting players but he hasn`t got the cheque book, has he

    • Wor Lass

      In a nut(job) shell!

  • Wor Lass

    Rafa`s giving Penfold the business end of a size “diez” boot up the jacksie and using the club`s pals in the media to do it. I reckon there`ll be a flurry of activity this week – with deals being concluded on 1 July! Best rumour of the day so far is Demarai Gray!!

  • Toon fan

    No manager is ever totally happy. We need to stop analysing stuff so much man. The time to worry, possibly, is in 3 or 4 weeks time. The Mackems haven’t even got a manager and only 9 recognised 1st team pros. Chill pills all round.

    • Jimblag23

      We don’t want to lower our standards to that comparison though do we 😂

  • nevfur

    Ffs give it a rest. Very little ever happens before July

  • Steve Smith

    If the club is genuinely up for sale and talks are actually happening regarding it behind the scenes then we won’t be seeing any signings coming until until the sale is concluded.

    If you were selling a car and someone was likely to buy it for an agreed price you wouldn’t then go out and buy brand new tyres.

    • Munich Mag

      Something is going on behind the scenes. We should all be vary wary of our owner. He has previous after all, there is nothing at all eminating from the club. Be VERY wary. No smoke without fire, oh we just couldn’t get the signings over the line. That the Newcastle Chronicle has nothing sensible to report is par for the course, they are so far out of the loop it is ridiculous.

    • Jimblag23

      Simply to use your analogy, you may actually sort out the tyres as cosmetic touch uppery can do the world of difference in adding on x amount of pounds.
      (But they wouldn’t be brand new, you’d get them off your dodgy mate for £30, which backs up your analogy)

      • Steve Smith

        Nico Kranjcar it is then.

        • Jimblag23

          Eh?

          • Steve Smith

            Hardly brand new and we could get hooked up by the dodgey mate (‘arry Redknapp)

  • Viru leckworth

    Very worrying. There is a report in this vein in the mail on Sunday.

  • Doug Dacre

    Please remember guys that the Chronicle, who peddle most of these stories are part of the mirror group, who are just trying to sell advertising via as many clicks as possible, hence no longer represent Newcastle as a city.

  • Geordiegiants

    It seems like yesterday to me, that this sort of hysteria was going on, roughly 1 year ago. Ffs do people just bleat on for the sake of it.