After playing Champions League football for Newcastle and regular finishes in the top four, Jermaine Jenas says that it is ‘difficult’ for him to look at his old club, as they are now.

The player turned pundit is full of praise for Rafa Benitez and the squad that got the club instantly out of the Championship BUT he says ‘it almost makes me sick’ that Mike Ashley has them refused to give the manager the necessary backing this summer.

Looking at the situation as it stands, Jermaine Jenas has a warning if Ashley continues to refuse to back Rafa Benitez: ‘Right now, Newcastle are amongst the bottom three teams’.

He says that whilst the market might be ‘crazy’, it is clear that Mike Ashley could and should still be doing a lot more to back his manager.

Like all realistic Newcastle fans, more money needs to be spent not with ideas of getting top finish, but simply to have a realistic chance of not being in a season-long relegation battle.

Jermaine Jenas saying that with the instant promotion and a manager like Rafa in charge ‘It makes no sense to not go for it and protect your status.’

Jermaine Jenas talking to Goal:

“I am 100% with Rafa (in terms of needing more quality signings).

“It is difficult for me because when I was playing for Newcastle United, they were third in the league and playing Champions League football, consistently finishing the in top four.

“Yeah they won the Championship and finished last season on a high but it almost makes me sick, that the players and manager put their heart and soul into the league and then they are not backed to improve.

“The market is crazy and they can’t afford to go too big on signings but as far as I am concerned, with the team that they have got now, will be in a relegation battle at the end of the season.

“Is that good enough for a club at the size of Newcastle? No, as far as I am concerned.

“So I am 100% behind Rafa Benitez. He has done his job, got them back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.

“You have banked god knows how many millions for being in the Premier League, or you will bank it over the next few years, now invest it and back me as a manager.

“I am with him all the way. It makes no sense to not go for it and protect your status.

“Not only that, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at what they have got and say it is not enough. I suppose Newcastle fans and even Rafa are probably only asking for signings to give them a better chance.

“Right now, they are amongst the bottom three teams.

“He wants a chance to survive and that’s all he’s asking for. If they don’t get it, they could lose their most important person and that’s Rafa Benitez.

“I don’t think they have got enough goals – Mitrovic has had his season in the league below and didn’t see enough from him. Maybe they didn’t play to his strengths or maybe it was just his ability, I don’t see him getting double figures.

“They have Dwight Gayle, a proven goalscorer for them but the problem with Gayle is that he has to play in a two, then you are restricted with how you play.

“He is better with someone next to him in the Premier League but they won’t have a lot of possession in games.

“They have Ayoze Perez as well but there’s not enough there for me. Every year when I am talking about football in the last couple of seasons, looking at Sunderland, Villa and others. The relegated team’s biggest problem is always a lack of ability to score goals.

You can grind out results but if you can’t score goals, you won’t stay up.

“They even failed to loan Tammy Abraham. As a Newcastle United fan or manager or player, you expect a player to jump to play at Newcastle. He has gone to Swansea and you hope that’s a situation that doesn’t come back to bite you in the rear end.”

  • TwinFire

    That lad does seem quite astute. Maybe its Bobby’s influence on him, they did share a birthday too. I agree with him, but i cant help but think there is the ‘gel’ factor that could easily sink the other teams. I think Rafa can get our team working as a sum greater than its parts, whereas others will be less.

    The manager cant score the goals mind – we really need Gayle and Joselu to become prolific in front of goal, or we may indeed be shafted.

  • TheNutJob

    In the premiership you must have a good striker or 2, the smogs had a brilliant defensive record but they were doomed through lack of goals.
    Rafa needs to bin 4-2-3-1 it only works if you have top class players & i don`t see any at the Toon, we go 1 down & it`s curtains

    • Jezza

      Excellent point. Middlesborough had something like the 6th best defensive record in the Premiership last season but still went down because they couldn’t score goals.

      • Danimal

        Just checked – 10th best. Still better than you’d expect for a relegated team. The two things, scoring and conceding, are not mutually exclusive of course. On a similar note (I think) we had the best home record points-wise outside the top 8 or 9 when we were relegated in 2016.

    • HarryHype59

      You make a good point. I think lack of goals could get us relegated just like Boro last season. Rafa needs to be far more flexible re tactics.

  • Leicester Mag

    The earth is flat / the moon made of cheese. All is fine and we’ll be ok to go with what we’ve got. I’m sadly favouring the former rather than the latter as being closer to reality. EVERY pundit good or bad can spot the problem. Yet many fans still live in faith / denial, choose your perspective. We have a Championship team and even the likes of Brighton and Huddesfield have stolen a significant march on us. It’s not doom mongering to recognise the realities of the situation. If we survive it won’t be pretty either I can’t remember a more functional team so lacking flair, is this Newcastle? Sadly it is while we remain a billboard for Direct Sh&*e.

    • TheNutJob

      just read an article that we`re after Stevan Jovetic, guess who`s also after him, Brighton

      • 1957

        A decent player, not a prolific scorer, victim of the Man City squad system. I doubt he is really on our radar he will be far too expensive for our limited budget

        • Jezza

          Yes I agree. He will go to Brighton as they are far more ambitious than us. This is perhaps the ultimate damning indictment of how far Ashley has dragged NUFC down. Who would have imagined 15 years ago when Newcastle were in the Champions League and Brighton were bottom of the fourth division, had no ground and were on the brink of going out of business that the day would soon come when we could not compete with Brighton in the transfer market.

          • Clarko

            Newcastle: £38.07m spent, 6 players, £6.35m average per player.

            Brighton: £39.60m spent, 7 players, £5.66m average per player.

            The above suggests we can compete with Brighton in the transfer market.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            Not if they sign Jovetic for a reputed £12m

          • Clarko

            If, buts and maybes don’t really count as fact. Right now, we are comfortably competing with the “bottom half teams”.

          • Danimal

            We’re propping most of them up so far. If our glorious leader decides to rename us ‘Ashley United’ we will be 4th bottom, above Brighton on alphabetical order. And the £1 naming rights will come in handy. So plenty of cause for optimism.

          • Clarko

            By “so far” you mean after a single game, right? Plenty of cause for pessimism.

          • Danimal

            You’re happy with that are you?

          • Clarko

            I’m happy to find the statement made by @disqus_FoE5s3yqcG:disqus regarding Newcastle not being able to “compete with Brighton in the transfer market”, is false.

  • Rev

    Can’t disagree with the lad, if we are not prem. quality and Rafa’ is job is to survive with what we’ve got plus develop a few untested players into the next Sissoko then we are probably not going to get out of the bottom four all season, particularly if injuries kick in. Add to that we only have one formation and prem. teams should have a bit more quality and be able score against us more often than not knowing that we can’t / won’t change the way we play and will either collapse or hope for a goal on the break if we go one down … then its going to be a long season. At some point we are surely going to have to play Joselu and Mitro if Gayle is crocked. Personally wouldnt mind seeing that

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    That is the biggest contribution Jermaine Jenas has ever given to Newcastle united !

    • Burt Humperdink

      He was good when he first came to be fair to him.

  • Essex_Toon

    While I agree with Jermain that we need more signings to be more solid in the Prem, I don’t believe that we’ll finish in the bottom three with the current squad. More like a bottom half finish.

    A top half spot is what we should be aiming for, and we’d need more bodies to achieve it.

    I stand by the belief that we shouldn’t be overpaying for players. Rafa is cleverer than that.

    • Leazes Ender

      Have you got fairies and a magic unicorn at the bottom of your garden?

      • Essex_Toon

        What makes you think I have such fantastical creatures in my garden?

        So do you think we’ll finish in the bottom three with a squad that comfortably won promotion from the championship, and with the third most decorated manager in the country at the helm?

        Do you think we should be overspending on players like in the “good old days” and end up accruing hundreds of millions of pounds of debt?

        • Mark Davies

          Course he does but he doesnt even go mate. Hence I call him settee ender.

          I also wonder if we were taken over and had stupid money spent if the likes of settee would magically want to go again.

          He is an odd one

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            is he, I’ve never noticed that before

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          Everybody has fairies in their garden

          • Essex_Toon

            I have one unicorn, and that’s it! :)

        • Jezza

          Well let’s be truthfully blunt. Of the other 19 teams in the Premiership, only two finished below us last season and both those clubs have strengthened their squads more effectively than we have in the summer. On those grounds common logic dictates that the possibility of us finishing in the bottom three is not that outlandish.

          • Clarko

            Newcastle: £38.07m spent, 6 players, £6.35m average per player.

            Brighton: £39.60m spent, 7 players, £5.66m average per player.

            Huddersfield: £38.79m, 10 players, £3.88m average per player


          • Essex_Toon

            They only strengthened their squads because they had virtually no premier league experience. Surely you remember our results against them at the back end of last season? We managed results when we had key players out with injury.

            I’ll concede that our prem exp players aren’t blessed with outstanding pedigree, but we still have more experience than them. Most of what the other promoted teams have bought this summer hasn’t been from the premier league anyway. I’m not convinced by many of the comings and goings of this window.

            Ultimately we still have a far superior manager than most of the leagues teams, and Rafa has endured tougher situations than just “not having much money to spend”.

            Sorry for trying to positive. We are back in the premier league after all.

          • Danimal

            Well we will find out very soon won’t we? As we are playing against one of them, including the goal scoring striker their manager asked for and was given.

          • Jezza

            Yes of course I remember our wins over Brighton and Huddersfield. The point you’re missing is that both those teams are now stronger than when we beat them last season but I don’t believe we are.

          • HarryHype59

            Have we a far superior manager? Houghton and Wagner achieved promotion with high on zero outlay. Rafa spent £50m.

        • Danimal

          The decorated manager can’t play for us. Although having seen Rob MacDonald, Billy Whitehurst and Shefki Kuqi, I’m not sure. Were the “good old days” when we had a team worth watching, a club that punched its weight (regularly 2nd highest turnover and attendance in the Premier League – note the correlation between large support base and the ability to compete with similar clubs, unlike now, when we are cowering in terror at the powerhouses of Watford and Bournemouth), a manager and owners who used to keep buying better players for each position? Did we overspend on Cole, Beardsley, Ginola, Ferdinand, Shearer etc? I don’t know what’s in your garden but I think we could finish: bottom three; cast adrift at the bottom like the Mackems last season; or scraping through with 38-42-ish points.

        • HarryHype59

          Newcastle have never had “hundreds of millions of debt”
          The debt Ashley inherited was mainly on the development of SJP which was a crumbling pre WW1 stadium not fit for purpose. The club still has £129m worth of debt under Ashley which puts us in the top four of debt for English football.

          See Jermaine Jenas’s article on how Newcastle used to be a top four club!

    • HarryHype59

      Define over paying!

  • HarryHype59

    “Consistently finishing in the top four”

    It seems like a long time ago

    Those were the days pre Jabba!