Forget Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Valencia, Chelsea and Liverpool…Rafa Benitez has discovered the true madness of a football club at Newcastle United.

Difficult to believe but exactly 365 days ago, when the Spaniard got up and opened his 56th birthday presents, Newcastle at that point still hadn’t won a game under him.

The 16 April 2016 saw the Newcastle players change that, a first half goal from Jamaal Lascelles and late ones from soon to be deserting rats Moussa Sissoko and Andros Townsend, saw United run out 3-0 winners over Swansea. The result sparking the beginning of some hope that survival might just be possible.

Almost the perfect circle when two days short of his 57th birthday, now Captain Jamaal Lascelles looked to have put Rafa and Newcastle one massive step into the Premier League with that goal against Leeds.

It sadly proved not to be as Chris Wood, who should have been marked by Jamaal Lascelles…, knocked in that last minute equaliser.

Surely though that is only delaying the inevitable as Newcastle stand eight points clear with four games remaining.

What a 12 months this has been though for Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United.

He started with a draw against the Mackems and defeats to Leicester, Norwich and Southampton, but just look at these stats from the last 365 days of Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United.

Rafa Benitez 16 April 2016 – 16 April 2017:

Played 55

Won 33

Drawn 11

Lost 11

Goals For 102

Goals Against 46

A brilliant return in anybody’s book.

Including the first four results this is the breakdown of how Rafa Benitez has performed at NUFC:

Premier League

P10 W3 D4 L3 GF16 GA12


P42 W26 D7 L9 GF75 GA36


P7 W4 D1 L2 GF15 GA6

Newcastle would make it only two of the last 18 relegated Premier League clubs to have bounced straight back to the top tier via automatic promotion.

A bit too much to expect that Rafa Benitez will match the stats above in the next 365 days but the Manager still at St James Park AND Premier League comfortable survival would be the perfect double in terms of the rebuilding job that needs to be done at Newcastle United.

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

  • Simon Ritter

    Why do you say Lascelles should have been marking Wood? Mbemba was closest to him for nearly all the 97 minutes I watched on Sky.

    • Geordiegiants

      Lascelles had a good game, people love to pick on the east target, he has been a bit shaky this season but hasn’t deserved the stick he has been getting. Dummett was getting it until he has proved everyone wrong with consistent solid performances. They just love to have a go at someone, it makes them feel better.
      Mitro on the other hand, has proven he is not up to it, and they love him because he walks on the pitch like he is going into the octagon, but if anything he cost us the game as he never got in to any goal scoring positions all match.

      • Jezza

        “Dummett was getting it until he has proved everyone wrong with consistent solid performances. They just love to have a go at someone, it makes them feel better. ”

        It’s nothing to do with feeling better. The way I see it, if someone is getting paid 40, 50, 60 grand a week to do something I would gladly do for nothing and they’re not up to the job or not making enough effort then they deserve all the stick they get.

        • Geordiegiants

          Don’t think Dummet even gets close to 20k never mind 40 or 60

          • Jezza

            I was just speaking in general terms and wasn’t referring to Dummett as such. I was really explaining why I would criticise players.

          • Geordiegiants

            We all have criticism of certain players, but some get a little to much to often. Lascelles is one of them, Dummett is another, they also give Colback it. Although they aren’t world class, Lascelles is better than any other centre half we have had in the last few years. Dummett and Colback put in a shift every game and try harder than 95% of players we have had over the last few years. It’s like people have forgotten that the last ten years have ever happened.

          • Scottpaige

            As far as Colback is concerned “putting in a shift” doesn’t make you a good footballer.

          • Geordiegiants

            It certainly doesn’t, and I’m not saying he is a world beater, but he has given more the cause than say a Ben Arfa, that the fans loved and had bundles of talent, but no heart.

          • Scottpaige

            Just wish he’d leave Hayden in there but can’t see it

          • Geordiegiants

            I think Raf would love to, but the demands of that position are different to say a centre half, where they can stay relatively fresh and play game in game out.

          • Scottpaige

            I agree. Just he offers so much more. We looked a different side with Hayden back in centre.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        Lascelles drops bollix in every game & costs us, the premiership strikers will eat him alive

        • Geordiegiants

          He didn’t do to bad last season, if anything he was our best player the last few games up there. I do think he has made a series of errors, but we have had a lot worse while in the premier and not got relegated.

        • Simon Ritter

          If what you say is correct, can you explain why a highly successful manager (Happy birthday, Mr Benitez) places such faith in Lascelles? Presumably because our manager knows less about football than yourself . . .

    • MichaelMaximusMoose


  • Leazes Ender

    There’s no reason why we shouldn’t bounce back after all we are a yo-yo club now.

  • Scottpaige

    Do us a favour Rafa stay until u hang up your managers suit……. people can moan and twist about this and that.

    But deep down they wouldn’t have it any other way after what we have put up with in recent years. Happy returns fella