We are quickly approaching the time of year when Mike Ashley swoops in on his helicopter to Newcastle United’s training ground and meets the club’s main men.

Ashley normally meeting the Manager and players with high level talks reportedly set to follow.

Whether or not he flies into the training ground, the speculation as to what will happen between owner and manager has started especially early this time.

It has been widely reported that Rafa Benitez will meet Mike Ashley in the coming week to discuss plans post-promotion.

Much discussion amongst Newcastle fans as to what the outcome will be and the media are also waiting with interest.

These are two very different opinions that were given by journalists speaking on Sky Sports this (Sunday) morning.

Rob Draper of The Mail on Sunday:

“I am not convinced Rafa Benitez will stay.

“A lot depends on this week.

“The problem is Rafa is not going to want to go in the Premier League and get turned over by Jose Mourinho with a sub-standard side. They have done really well to get up but you look at the side and think they need nine or 10 signings.

“I would love him to stay and for Newcastle to thrive for the north east.

 “It would be great, but this is two quite intransigent people going into talks, one of whom doesn’t like spending lots of money and one who likes to spend in the transfer market. I find it difficult to predict a really good outcome.

Rafa Benitez is going to want to choose the players and they are going to want a lot of good quality players.

“I am not sure if Mike Ashley is ready for that, maybe he is. This is his moment if he wants to endear himself to people at the club and go for it.”

Jason Burt of the Daily Telegraph:

“He wants to sow that seed of doubt because it strengthens his own hand and his post-match comments the other night were pretty predictable.

“He is quite a political manager. He is in a very strong position. Newcastle have been very good for Rafa Benitez but he has been very good for Newcastle.

“He has done a very good job. He needs to have the right level of investment and control, that’s the sort of manager he is.

“It would be such a shame if he left because I think it’s been a really good story with the way he has reshaped the team and got them back up, it’s all heading in the right direction.

“To be fair to Mike Ashley he can’t just give him an open cheque book, neither should he, they have to control it, but hopefully they give him what he wants. I expect him to stay, there will be negotiations and that’s part of it.”

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    The problem is Fatso couldn`t give a Flying F about football or the Geordies
    If the Gimp Carr`s still around in the summer Rafa will say Adios to the 3 Amigo`s
    Ashley, Penfold & Carr

    • nufcslf

      Could sadly be very true. I’m sure I wouldn’t be lying to say, ” Cashely would have been found in a bad way in a dumpster located in the Quayside from the Toon I left behind in 1980 by now”…..Pathetic what this fat get has gotten and gets away with. Makes me cringe some 4 and half thousand miles away and glad it is not completely in my face. Don’t think it will take very long after the Barnsley match and maybe one discussion for Rafa to make a decision. Time will tell.

  • Polarboy

    I think the least Rafa would accept is 70 million, which in today’s market isn’t all that much. The thing is with the transfer surplus and the massive hike in television rights revenue we could easily afford the 100 million that’s being bandied about. Will Ashley think better of just pocketing most of it himself, that’s always the question. I’ve seen some people include parachute payments in our budget, but as far as I’m aware if you go up first time of asking you don’t get the full amount, or perhaps any of it.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      the money isn`t the only main problem, Rafa want`s control of the transfers & as long as Carr`s there he won`t be

      • Polarboy

        The transfers since Rafa’s been here have been very different from the usual Carr players. In the absence of any other evidence I have to take that to mean Rafa at least has more say than previous Ashley managers. Would we have bought Ritchie for 10, 11 million and bought mostly British players, one of whom was 33 at the time, if Ashley through Carr was still holding the reins, very doubtful.

        We’d likely have bought yet another young French winger for 6,7 million because Carr saw resale value. Carr is an old man who will very likely have to answer some sticky questions off the tax man in the near future, Rafa will manoeuvrer him out of the way totally eventually.

        • Albert Stubbins

          i agree with you to a degree- it seems from all the evidence available that Rafa still consults with Carr but he has final say on suggested purchases whereas before Pardew had no choice- Graham Carr still has a major role in scouting but now it is no longer compulsory in addition Rafa also has his own choices- i.e Murphy- no way would murphy have been a Carr suggestion because of age and re sale value so it seems to point to Rafa having the final say which is as good as we can reasonably expect.

    • nevfur

      Of course you get the parachute money or else you would get nowt

      • Polarboy

        I checked the rules, if you’re promoted after one season you forfeit any further payment. We probably got about 25 million last season, and would have been due another two payments over the next two seasons had we remained in the championship.

        • nevfur

          Yes of course we don’t get parachute payments for seasons we are back in the PL where we will get PL money just as we did last season whereas this season we get the first season parachute payment. It’s not hard. We don’t get rewarded for promotion by being paid nothing at all

          • Polarboy

            I clearly said in my first comment that we wouldn’t get the full amount, as in we’d still get some. Your comment in reply to that suggested you thought we’d get all of it.

          • nevfur

            Obviously all of this years. The parachute payments last 3 years so we just get the first year

          • nevfur

            You did also add “or any of it” in reference to the parachute payments. My point is that we get the first seasons payment for this year then next year it’s nowt to worry about as it doesn’t apply due to us being back on the PL gravy train

  • Leazes Ender

    Why talk to Jason Burt and not Luke Edwards?

    Luke had Ashley sussed in his first interview…. I still can’t believe there are people out there still saying….”Maybe Ashley has changed”

    I’ll believe it when we see the new openness (sic) manifest itself with a mission statement by the club!

    Until then the mission is ‘Tenth place’, and string Rafa for as long as possible and get our media to blame him for walking out.

  • Jezza

    On the evdience of 20 previous transfer windows under Ashley I genuinely don’t expect NUFC to make any net spend in the summer. It’s almost certain be yet another transfer window of “no capital outlay”.

    I really don’t believe Ashley cares if Rafa leaves. Rafa has accomplished that one crucial task of getting Ashley’s huge free advertising machine back on the Premiership gravy train and has therefore served his purpose as far as Ashley is concerned.

    Ashley has also got the perfect replacement for Rafa waiting in the wings. A manager who will do the job for a quarter of Rafa’s salary, will accept all Ashley’s conditions without question and who has already got a track record of keeping Newcastle United in the Premiership with no money to spend and all his best players sold from under him.

    The one huge flaw in this plan is of course that Pardew will not keep us up this time.

    • Malcolm Robinson


      • Jezza

        People only resort to offensive language when they have got nothing valid to contribute to a discussion. That one word reply says far more about you than it does about me or the comment I made.

    • Kneebotherm8

      Could history repeat itself in Pardew coming in for our very popular manager Rafa, just as he did for our last very popular manager Chris Hughton?(they’ve all been stooges since him,until Rafa). Ashley doesn’t buy the fans popularity ticket,he’ll do whatever is the best financial option for his business enterprise.

    • 1957

      Sorry I can’t see Pardew, coming back to the club if Benitez leaves, there is a much more suitable candidate, local boy, experienced in continental leagues, best coach in the PL two years ago, gets on well with Lee (Charnley and Ryder) and he knew / worked for / worked with Sir Bob…step forward Geordie John.

      • Jezza

        Well the thing is with Ashley running the club you can never rule anything out. He did bring back Kinnear for a second spell so anything is possible.

    • Damon Horner

      genuinely, Ashley knows the real riches are in the Champions League places (hence in his tv appearance two years ago he counts 4th as a trophy), a position typified by Arsenal and Man Utd and they’re now sitting outside of the top four which may have shown him it is not as impenetrable as it once was, he has Rafa in charge, a man who has mixed it in that area of the league and even won that competition once. There is a possibility those riches could appeal to him and as Ashley is a gambler, might take a chance and make it happen and if he does, who is available that would be better than Rafa to make it happen?

      • Jezza

        I just can’t see it myself. Ashley is well aware that the net financial rewards for finishing fourth bottom of the Premiership are as good as those for playing in the Champions League once you knock off the required colossal spend to get into the Champions League. Where spending money on NUFC is concerned Ashley has got a long history of erring on the side of caution. Remember this is the man who pulled out of a deal to sign Delle Ali for the sake of 300 grand. I think it’s much more likely he’ll gamble that Pardew as manager with no money to spend will keep us on the Premiership gravy train after all it worked before.

        • bobbi fleckman

          I agree with you that no owner will break the bank for champions league places, the reward for the risk is not commiserate. However, your Delete Ali story is bunkem

          • Jezza

            Well my understanding is that a fee of £3.5 million had been agreed with MK Dons and the player was very keen to sign for Newcastle but there was an additional 300 grand to be paid somewhere along the line, possibly an agent’s slice of the pie or something like that. NUFC refused to foot the bill for the extra 300 grand and as a result the transfer deal fell through.

          • bobbi fleckman

            No, it was a Carr lead and went OK but the agent was always working to create competition for him which is the agents job. To an extent, NUFC refused to be played in a Dutch auction but once a London side was in the running, we were behind the curve.

            For those who like to put Carr into the line of fire, he had Deli Ali as a ‘buy’ before anyone else.

          • Jezza

            Yet for all his endless scouting in France and his supposed knowledge and expertise in French football he completely missed players like Kante and Mahrez who were available for peanuts and went on to play a huge role in 500/1 outsiders Leicester City winning the league.

  • Alex

    “…..can’t just give Rafa Benitez an open cheque book…..”

    Let’s nail this once and for all – NONE of us expect that.

    We’re a huge club, pull in 52,000 each home game, take thousands to away games, provide TV with a better spectacle than most clubs, have a more than reasonable European record, have a great history in the English game, have attracted many world stars to the club, can generate (if allowed) some of the best commercial income streams in the EPL, and ,very likely, the only Premier league club north of a line drawn from Liverpool to Manchester to Leicester.

    All we expect is no more scrimping and bargain-bucket signings, and spending to be commensurate with this status.

    • Andy Mac

      Commercially our income has nose dived since Fatman took over. Its so far behind the likes of Spuds and the RBD’s now yet we were trading on equal terms less than 12 years ago ?

      Shirt sponsorship should realise a lot more than that dodgy deal with loan sharks, our stadium advertising equally needs to be revamped and, of course, we need to take back control of all our clothing/sports goods from the Fatman and his blood sucking, parasitic marketing operation

      • bobbi fleckman

        There seems to be a running misunderstanding wrt commercial income. The wonga deal was 6th biggest in the EPL, we miss out on perimeter advertising income is still there even without Sports Direct paying, to put in context, similar clubs like Everton enjoy £4m income compared to our £2m so we forgoe £2m. Retailing income is outsourced, so the money we get is all profit, in contrast the retailing side made a loss in one of the years prior to MA taking over. It makes sense to use SD’s cheaper infrastructure to deliver the internet and b&m sales rather than try to create your own retail network.

        Similarly, food etc in a match day is outsourced. Again, the club did not do well with its catering arm, in part, this was due to the ground’s proximity to the town where supporters like myself would eat and drink in town before heading to the game at 10 mins to kick off, compare that to the out if town ground’s like at Man City where the pre-game drinking is centered around the stadium and generates income.

        The point being is that although commercial income appears lower, it’s all income rather than a risky venture outside the club’s core business.

        • Andy Mac

          The Loan Shark deal was worth £6m a year. I’m looking at a list of shirt sponsors in 2013 and NUFC’s deal is 7th in the list just above Villa’s £5m. (Cant link stuff on ths site any more since they changed to this system)

          I’m also looking at a Deloiites listing of the highest earners in football for 2013 and total revenue for NUFC was £93m with commercial revenue contributing £17m.

          Yet in Deloittes 2007 report (the year the Fatman took over) turnover was £85.9m with commercial revenue nearing the £28m mark.

          You can bend the truth for as long as you want Mr Fleckman but the fact is nobody’s listening to your sychophantic drivel.

          • bobbi fleckman

            6th / 7th just above Villa & Everton is about right wouldn’t you say? We’re that size of club, Villa, Everton and ourselves are similar in size.

            What you are missing is that revenue is not profit. If the club sell £5m of beer in a year but it costs £5m to deliver it, revenue is £5m but profit is nil. If the club sell the licence to sell beer to Sodexo for £1m, it’s revenue may only be £1m but profit is £1m, which is better? The figures are just for illustration but you see the point. We make more profit outsourcing the licence to provide catering, shirt sales etc than trying to do it ourselves even though revenue is lower.

  • Allan Barron

    A Leopard doesn’t change its spots and that goes for Ashley, We will no doubt revert back to his penny pinching ways.
    I can see our Brilliant and much loved manager Rafa Walking away in disgust.
    And we will be heading only in one direction .
    The Best we can hope for is for Ashley to sell the club as soon as possible before he destroys us altogether.

    • Polarboy

      We just have to hope he isn’t actually insane, because the if he goes back to his old ways that will be the definition. We can say for certain that he wants to remain in the Premier League, and if he goes back to his old model we’ll get relegated for a third time in his tenure.

  • Allan Barron

    God help us if we loose Rafa and end up with that poser of a manager who left for C.P and what a wonderful job he did for them bloody clueless idiot with no backbone.A blooming plate of jelly would have more idea about tactics.
    And he’s still there in his lofty position Carr and what an unmitigated disaster he is at finding us players, what a joke.

  • Andy Mac

    Bottom line is we’ll turnover around £70-80m with the parachute payment, the season’s income (gate receipts and TV money) plus the transfer surplus so we’re not looking for stuff down the side of the sofa quite yet ?

    Avoiding the usual question of whose fault it was that we went down last season, surely when a businessman runs an operation that has a bad trading year he sucks it up and aims to do better next time ?

    So we’re short of income this year but what is guaranteed is that we’ll increase turnover by at least 100% next season so where’s the problem ? Speculate to accumulate or just sell the club to someone who knows what they’re doing ?

  • Johno

    If Rafa goes MA will be sorry – and Rafa he’ll get a top job the next day……. Boss man and manager….

  • Toon Army AZ

    Underinvest and get relegated to the Championship poor house. It has already happened twice under the Ashley regime. Doing the same thing for a third time and expecting a different result is the very definition of insanity! Surely he realizes this. He didn’t get rich by being stupid… did he?