Jermaine Jenas says that he is puzzled by the situation of Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United.

The former NUFC midfielder thinks it surely would have more sense for Rafa to walk out when the club was in the Championship, rather than waiting until the Premier League is well underway.

Jenas says that somebody of the calibre of the Champions League winning manager would have had plenty of ‘places to go’.

However, he is still worried about the situation at West Ham, though the pressure eased slightly on Monday with a win over Huddersfield. Adding that he thinks the Hammers will still be putting plans in place behind the scenes to potentially replace Bilic.

Jenas also looks back at the difference between when he was at Newcastle under Sir Bobby Robson and the situation the club are in now.

He can’t believe the difference in the quality that was at the club then: Shearer, Bellamy, Given, Speed, Woodgate and others, compared to what has now happened under Mike Ashley.

The rot started with the shocking decision by John Hall and Freddie Shepherd to bring in Graeme Souness and it has been pretty much downhill ever since, with Ashley taking the baton from the previous owners who banked a fortune due to their connections with Newcastle United.

Jermaine Jenas speaking to The Star:

“I just think if you (Rafa Benitez) are going to walk, why didn’t you just walk last year when you were in the Championship?

“It doesn’t make sense, this is Benitez, he will have had places to go.

“He doesn’t seem happy but I don’t have him down as a walker.

“I think he really does feel a passion for the club but I think he feels let down.

“There’s one situation that’s worrying me a little and that’s Slaven Bilic.

“I think we all know football too well now and how the system works, so it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s conversations been put in place.

“The fact they (Newcastle) have gone from the players that they had then (when Jenas was playing under Sir Bobby) to what they’ve got now, I just look at the club and think, how does that actually happen?

“I can’t get my head round how it happens.

“But then I think about the position I was in and the reasons why I left. And those were the reasons.

“I thought, ‘I’m not going to develop as a player here, I’m not going to get any better, I’m not going to win anything, I’m not gonna play for England if I stay here’.

“Unfortunately, that’s something that hopefully the club get rid of soon, because it’s an incredible club when the place is bouncing.”



  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    We’re doing OK at the minute but the clubs built on sand thanks to the
    Fat Omnipotent one. A few injuries to key player’s & we’ll be right in the 💩

    • ghostrider

      The club is built on bed rock.
      The foundations are sound and solid.
      The structure is as strong as anyone can hope for.
      The furnishings and decorations are not perfect and need to be worked on over time.

      • TheNutJob

        Dream On

        • ghostrider

          It’s not a case of dreaming on. The reality is there for those who choose to see.
          The reality is what I said it was.
          Maybe you misinterpreted what the furniture meant.
          If you think this club isn’t on solid ground then you’re merely looking at the playing side.

          • Mark Potter

            The playing side? People told us our defence is poor. They didn’t watch them last year, or even check the stats. They failed to notice our record even with a less than inspiring keeper. They failed to understand that they had the potential to play at Prem level.

            A second choice RB, and third choice LB at the weekend. Lejeune not able to get in the team. Apart from after Shelvey’s sending off, they’ve hardly been troubled. One last gasp goal clearance in three games, hardly a save from Elliott to make. One goal conceded in three and a half games.

            They forgot how impressive Lascelles looked in Rafa’s attempt to avoid relegation 18 months ago, and how Maclaren might have saved his neck, and the club, if he had trusted the young man more and played him instead of the likes of Collicini and Taylor. Suddenly, oh, Lascelles.. Potential England player. Yes, Southern press, you not been paying attention for the last 18 months!!

            The pundits seemed all surprised by the win on Sunday, the “classic away game”, nicking three points. Not one of them seemed aware that we played that way (letting the opposition dominate possession) over 20 times last year, and won two thirds of them. Rafa knows how to win away games.

          • ghostrider

            Yeah, the playing side.
            I meant that the playing side is not on solid ground, not the club.
            If we were we would be winning stuff, but that’s not the real issue in answering.
            The issue was in basically telling ‘Thenutjob’ that the club is solid and he must be thinking about the playing side.
            I’m not talking about solid in a game, I’m talking about solid overall.

    • Martin Rooney

      Yawn one track record ya muppet

  • Marco

    No Jermaine, that reason you left is because you didnt get the passion and expectations of the fans. How did you put it “it was living in a goldfish bowl so don’t try to paint it any different.
    It’s also ok that things don’t make sense to You, Rafa gets what we’re all about and that’s why he stayed. We really don’t need you to understand…honest lol.

  • Steve Pearce

    I can see the next article in this vein – “Jackie Milburn’s ghost can’t believe how this has happened to Newcastle United”

    More space filling by a non entity who nobody gives a flying Donald Duck about and even the Great One’s ghost would make more sense,,,

  • ghostrider

    Jenas saying he’s not going to get better at Newcastle?
    He did get better and then got his head turned by Tottenham.
    It’s amazing what they come out with at a later date, as if they actually know the true extent of the wheeling and dealing at clubs after they’ve left.
    The rot set in under SBR. He lost the respect of the younger players.

    He even left Shearer on the bench, plus Dyer fell out with him and caused total unrest, which didn’t help Bobby Robson.
    That was the real rot setting in. Souness just added to it by coming in as a hard line manager trying to sort out a bunch of players that were basically running amok.

    This is what happens when you bring in managers and expect to win trophies, then fail to do it.
    Panic stations by Shepherd and Hall.
    Panic attempts to buy success in the shape of a young Rooney.

    A Sir Bobby Robson 10 years younger would have gotten us some success, I believe.
    His age worked against him big time.

    • MadToonFan&VitalAshleyDroveOut

      I’ll always remember that Tv interview; when he was asked about links with vacant Toon managerial position, he looked so very very tempted, but he was loyal to his contracts. If he’d only left Barca (I think, was it? my memory) and came to us then.
      So yep, totally agree with your wise words, a younger (sir) Bobby then, it would have been such a totally different ball game, pardon the pun 😉

      • ghostrider

        Aye, you’re right. He stayed loyal to Barcelona and by that time we had Dalglish and Gullit in the hot seat before Bobby came back after a season with PSV.
        To think if Robson had took over when Keegan left. I’m almost certain we’d have won something.
        Ahh well, a opportunity missed at first and a bridge too far at a later date.
        Such a shame…BUT…that’s football and it’s serving or covered offerings.

    • Julia Kyle

      He rested Shearer. For part of a match… a match where a 28 year old Kluivert played and scored. Dyergate was a small factor in Bobby’s sacking but was a convenient excuse. The 5th place the year before was the damage in truth. Which is nuts really. Freddy Shepherd thought we belonged in the top 2… his decision making took us to the bottom half.

      • ghostrider

        In a way you’re right.
        Shepherd thought he’d pieced all the jigsaw together and it was just a case of replacing the odd piece that came loose. Easy fix mindset.
        The reality was, he had a vision…a fans vision to stop at nothing to get Newcastle up there.
        Like a gambler staring at the fruit machine in a trance and shouting, “lend me more, lend me more, I can feel the jackpot coming round.”

        A brave attempt and an arrogant attempt, but he literally played Russian roulette with the club and ultimately planted too much pressure on managers and players to basically GET IT DONE.

        The end result of it all is obviously there for us all to see and muse over.
        Never think like a fan when your mission is to keep the club alive, unless you can back up your dreams whenever a contingency plan is required to right a wrong.

        Bobby walked into a quagmire and steadied it, then got pushed out of a quagmire.
        A massive massive shame, because that man deserved some success in his time at Newcastle.

  • Jimblag23

    What a load of codswhollop, so playing in the champions league with other top players and you don’t back yourself to improve?
    If he’d of stuck at 1 club, any of them, he would have improved.
    Instead he moved on after approximately 2 years at each club.

  • Grahame Johnson

    Rafa’s doing a job with restrictions, all Newcastle fans know that, any person who knows football can see it, he has united a squad and fans I feel my team has a heart and soul and that’s a joy to see

  • goggsy

    Jermaine was a great player for us with potential.He never realised that potential,certainly wasn’t better when he left and to my knowledge never won anything. Quite like his crack sometimes,he’s got a tad of intelligence in comparison to other footballers, but these comments seem a bit odd to me.

  • mactoon

    The reason he didn’t walk is because he doesn’t have the same mindset as you. As I remember you couldn’t handle the pressure so moved.. to London

  • MadToonFan&VitalAshleyDroveOut

    A lot of pundits and the media alikes, are so blinkered when they think of the Toon. Nearly always so freaking negative; Rafa has no cash, he’s goner walk, Rafa isn’t happy, he’s goner walk, Rafa Rafa Rafa, walk walk walk plop, it’s the constant mantra beating southern ish drum, even though he’s only done so the once in his management career (I believe).
    Who knows, maybe Mr Benitez had an inclination that money was going to be tight? Yes ok, maybe not to this degree, but he knows his own abilities, and I think we’re seeing the fruits on his great experience. Tis why us Geordie’s love this man so much: Rafa for Prime Minister I say 😉 lol.

    • Mark Potter

      He did know. He said it many times. His issue was not the amount of money, but what he was able to do with it. He planned to use loan signings for example, the club announced it before the window opened. It is obvious he expected to get at least a young CF (Abraham) and MF (Merino) that way, for a small short-term outlay. And he could manage the rest by selling some deadwood.

      Abraham’s parents scuppered that deal. Wages and agents in some other potential deals. He was frustrated, but not with the money from Ashley, but that his plans didn’t work out. He felt that “we” (him and his back room staff) hadn’t tied up Abraham before he went away with England, and that allowed Swansea a foot in the door when Abraham returned. The Quayside/Bigg Market reputation of the town were exploited to suggest that he would be “safer” in Swansea. Poor young man, who can’t be trusted within 50 miles of a night club. He did play well at the weekend, and but for Lascelles heroics, could have scored the winner. Rafa probably still bristles with annoyance that he was not sitting on our bench, ready to replace Joselu. When we needed a change after 80 mins, all we got was another uninspiring spell from Gayle, with the Mad Serb banned. Rafa never once blamed Ashley, only himself. He was more than happy to build a young, hard working, fight for the cause team, at a low cost, rather than filling the squad with overpaid prima donnas. I’d much rather have a young “cheap” Merino, than a host of players who might have broke our transfer record. Merino’s a gem, and Rafa knows the Spanish market and knew what he was going to get. Even if he had twice as much money to spend, he probably would have brought in Merino, on the same deal.

  • jimmyjames

    THATS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR A IN A GOLDFISH BOWL YOUR JUST SWIMMING AROUND IN CIRCLES ,AND YOU START THINKING THE SAME AS ALL THE OTHER FISH,

    • Jimblag23

      And of course the lobotomy that you have during the recruitment process to become a pundit.

  • Peaky Magpie

    Is it just me or does Jenas get on anyone else’s tts ??? Stick to commentating and criticising woman’s football,self centred prat.

    • Rich Lawson

      Loathe him,hasn’t got a clue,funny on motd a few weeks ago when he looked intimidated and out of his depth by Gullit’s superior analysis.

  • Simon Ritter

    “How does that actually happen?” Here’s my take on some of the reasons. Jenas, as with many former professionals, doesn’t understand the passion of the typical football fan, the sort that as a kid plays for fun and as an adult bestows a god-like status on his heroes. From his pre-teenage years Jenas would have been placed in a dog-eat-dog world of highly competitive youth football. He was the best central midfielder for his age I have seen at NUFC (I didn’t, sadly, ever watch Tony Green) but Jenas went backwards after his first season with us. That must be down to his attitude. He can moan that he felt lost when SBR was dismissed but as a professional he should have had the self-discipline to rise above any personal disappointment he might have felt. Jenas and some other players (Dyer and Bellamy for example) let down the manager and reaped what they had sown, the arrival of the dreadful Sourness. The day he was appointed I gave my football-playing daughter 10 chances to guess the identity of our new manager, with the clue that he was a Premier League incumbent. She got nowhere near. Nobody could believe that choice then. Twelve years later and it still makes no sense. And neither do the reasons Jenas gives for leaving. The fantastic Champions League campaign in 2002-03 was something he never got close to again in his underachieving career. He had all the talents to be a “top, top footballer”, as the purple-nosed one liked to say, except one; determination.

    • TheFatController

      Yes, I did think on reading his comments ‘not sure I saw him improving markedly or winning much having jumped ship …?’

  • TheFatController

    I think The Times’ Henry Winter on BBC after west Ham made a valid point when he said that West Ham were worse off as at least at NUFC Rafa has a young team that he could build something with eventually.

    Yes, Rafa wants better players and rightly, but all top managers make out theyre not happy with their squad, for obvious reasons, they want more as they are winners.

    But to suggest Rafa is unhappy when he has a team of young players respecting his plans and giving a team effort with the fans’ backing I think is wrong. He can be mad at Ashley and still see the chance to progress the club in ways other than spending big fees – much tougher, but maybe a better challenge for him than being doubted by fans and board at Real, for example

    • Simon Ritter

      Most unusual for Winter to make a valid point; he’s the “expert” who told BBC listeners a young Andy Carroll needed to leave Newcastle United behind and join a big club to fulfil his potential. That one worked out well . . .

      • TheFatController

        Haha, I don’t think he was even showing any expertise here, it doesn’t take an expert to work out the average age of the current side is younger than most other PL teams by a good few years.

  • Chris J

    Jena’s got caught out batting for the other team, that’s why he left. Not saying its a bad thing but that’s what happened. He was very average at best in my opinion.

  • Mike

    bllx he left for more money and didnt set the world on fire after. Now he is an expert on NUFC. Get back into you hole your opinions are crp