The Blame Game …

With three games gone – two in the league plus last night’s dismal Carabo Cup result – and nothing to show for it, the blame game is in full swing.

Blame Ashley. Blame Charnley. Blame anyone. But what about the man who picks the team?

The only blame associated with Rafa Benitez is that which he’s attempting to deflect from his own shoulders since before the season kicked off – and it seems that many of the blinkered ‘In Rafa We Trust’ supporters are all too willing to believe him.

I’m no Ashley apologist but I too would wouldn’t be keen on loosening the purse strings to a manager whose buying record at the club is average at very best. For every Gayle, Ritchie and Clark there’s a Gamez, Laazar and Hanley. Bought for the Championship this trio of ‘Benitez Buys’ hardly managed a handful of appearances between them.

Of the other Rafa Benitez signings who went on to become regular starters, it would be true to say they hardly set the world alight with their performances.

Last season’s Championship winning campaign was for the most part, a series of uninspiring performances with the Newcastle manager’s negative tactics grinding out results when a more expansive attacking formation – especially at home – would surely have brought the same end result but with a flourish, rather than a sense of relief.

Even then it was apparent that Dwight Gayle would struggle as a lone striker at a higher level but the tactical genius we’re forever being reminded is in charge of our team, seems oblivious to this. Defending way too deep and hoofing long balls to the diminutive Gayle to chase isn’t a tactic – it’s just plain ridiculous.

Blaming a lack of signings, saying the players aren’t good enough for the Premier League, that the difference between winning and losing is not taking your chances  – when you’ve been out-fought and outplayed by a better team – is pure flannel and reminiscent of the constant excuses that Pardew and McClaren were reviled for.

Whether you’re a factory worker, a shop assistant or a bricklayer, if your line manager is forever making disparaging remarks about you and your workmates it certainly isn’t going to create a harmonious atmosphere. So why does Benitez feel it necessary to disrespect his players – many of them his own substandard signings – in this manner?

The goalkeeping situation is a prime example. Bringing in Matz Sels as his first choice before having to ship him out on loan – after proving to be an abject failure -then attempting to purchase yet another number one when there are three excellent keepers at the club, must surely leave Elliot, Darlow and Woodman feeling just a little bemused.

As for last night – here was an opportunity to play a near first choice eleven against a lower-league, although in-form Forest side. Play two up front, attack down the wings, get crosses into the box and with a bit of luck and a couple of goals ahead bring on some fringe players for a runout. Confidence booster for fans and players alike.

What actually happened…

We got ten changes from the previous game, a defence that have never played together before and the personnel selected as either (a) a dig at Ashley’s non-investment or (b) to put players in the shop window in an effort to shift a couple of them on before the transfer window closes.

And I almost forgot – after a dream start from Aleksandar Mitrovic’s goal in the third minute – we got another defeat too.

Instead of bleating on about a lack of signings, our manager should do the job he’s paid for. Set up a team that plays to the strengths of the players he has. Ditch this single striker approach – or use someone with the physicality to carry it out. Spend what money is available wisely.

The £12 million paid to Norwich for Murphy appears more of an investment in the future judging on his performances so far, but we’re in the here and now, and need someone to make a difference immediately. That tidy sum, plus the £5 million paid out for Joselu, could well have been better earmarked for an experienced forward or midfielder to slot straight into the first team – as would any cash earmarked for a keeper.

Rafa Benitez appears to have an affinity for the supporters, the city and the club. I do sincerely hope he can turn things around – but the blame game has to stop and the buck stops with him.

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



  • TheNutJob

    1 point i agree on, with the money used for Murphy & Joselu we should have bought a propa striker

    • Jimblag23

      £17m would buy Hernandez and pay for his wages.

  • TheFatController

    He didn’t say all the players weren’t good enough, he said the squad wasn’t – so you need 24 good players for the premiership is what he’s saying – I doubt shelvey feels he’s being criticised by the manager for example, I’m sure he agrees with his manager on the need for more quality

    Many signings last summer were bought as squad players to be back up in the event of injury. Would you say the same about Conte because Batshuayi didn’t play, or would you say well done for getting Diego costa firing them to the title? Same goes for Clark keeping Hanley out

    Murphy got in behind forest regularly last night, he was direct like no other player we have and got past their full back and wise man easily most times.

    Sels was a bad signing but let’s see if any PL aside bids for Darlow or Elliott any time soon ?

  • mentalman

    probably the best article i have seen on here in a long time

    • Milo79

      Agreed.

  • Clarko

    Providing the spending remains consistent between now and the rest of the window, Benitez would be at fault if Newcastle were to get relegated.

    • Guest 2

      Jeezus. Consistent? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaha!

      • Clarko

        I can’t debate you unless you provide an actual response instead of continuously posting these rather childish comments.

        • Guest 2

          The only ‘bate you are capable of doesn’t have de in front of it.

          • Clarko

            I’m not wasting any more time on you. Have fun 👍🏾

  • NUFCDan

    I think you overestimate the players we have. Take the 3 players who most fans would class as our best players – Shelvey, Ritchie and Gayle. All struggling for form and first team football at our Premier League relegation rivals the season before we signed them to get us promoted. We’ve got an incredibly poor team – Rafa worked miracles getting us promoted at the first time of asking. A season of struggle is inevitable, and its not surprising to me at all we are off to a poor start.

    • Fleckman hoop licker

      Why was it a “miracle” ?!!

      • Jimblag23

        As he said, our best players are other relegation candidates cast offs.

        • Fleckman hoop licker

          Go on then, if it was a miracle you’ll have no problem giving a fairly comprehensive list of last year’s championship squads that were superior to Newcastle’s that a miracle was indeed performed by Rafa Benitez.

          • TheFatController

            most relegated clubs have superior squads. Most don’t get promoted.

          • Fleckman hoop licker

            Hardly a miracle of the squad is superior then is it ?

          • TheFatController

            I didn’t say that, just pointing out that superior squads mean nothing when a club has no momentum.

            Bizarre that fans see Rafa as the problem. So we get a new manager and suddenly £35m spend and we’d be beating Spurs with ten men?

            Two defeats in the league and he’s got to go having just got us promoted and had the owner ruin club momentum and positivity? Listen to yourselves? No wonder the country laughs at us…

          • Fleckman hoop licker

            You’re using a straw man argument here, fans know who the problem is but I suspect that even if the obstacles laid by the real problem were removed, things wouldn’t be a great deal better.

          • Fleckman hoop licker

            And I should also say that caring what other fans think of us to the extent it influences my opinion would be pretty weak. But just for the record, one thing fans of other clubs are quick to point out is that we never win owt. And what depresses me about Newcastle supporters is how over the years they’ve grown to accept us throwing cup games. Unbelievable.

          • Jimblag23

            Try not to take language so literally.
            Are you able to decipher someone’s intention through context?

          • Fleckman hoop licker

            No.

        • Jezza

          Yes there is not a single player on our books who could get a transfer to a better team.

    • Clarko

      “Rafa worked miracles getting us promoted at the first time of asking”, that is a ludicrous statement.

      • NUFCDan

        Why? This was hardly the squad of experienced PL players and internationals that got us promoted under Hughton. It was an above average squad in the Championship that us got us promoted due to it being a particularity weak league last year. Now its woefully out of its depth in the PL. The fact our hopes are pinned on the likes of Yedelin, Atsu, Mitro, Perez and Mbemba despite not doing it the Championship last year is pretty terrible really.

        • Fleckman hoop licker

          Perez has been well and truly “benitezed”.

        • Clarko

          £57.38m, that’s why. Theoretically we could have bought the entire Brighton first team with that transfer budget in the summer 16/17 window. Newcastle had the strongest squad in the Championship, anything other than 1st place would have been a failure, any talk of a “miracles” is absolutley laughable.

          • NUFCDan

            £45m would have bought you Kyle Walker, would we have been expected to stroll the Championship fielding 10 no hopers and Kyle Walker? The money spent is irrelevant, all it did was get our squad up to a similar size and level of the teams around us after all of our best players leaving over the past few years and the fact out youth academy produces absolutely nothing.

          • Clarko

            You state, “The money spent is irrelevant”, again ludicrous, I can’t debate with stupidity. Not only that but you then give a reason as to why it is relevant, “all it did was get our squad up to a similar size and level of the teams around us”. If money is irrelevant in football, why do teams spend so much of it? (rhetorical)

            Let’s stop with the silliness, Newcastle spent £57.38m, that allowed Newcastle the possibility to build the best squad (quality and quantity) in the Championship, and I believed Newcastle did just that. If you have the best squad, you should finish first, by definition it is a failure if you don’t.

          • NUFCDan

            Money doesn’t guarantee success though. Our squad was so poor and so thin all we were doing by spending our transfer budget (we were hardly doing a City here) was getting our squad to a size and standard where we could compete. The fact we were promoted at the first time of asking (which not many newly relegated team do) is down to good management and buying (for the most part) the correct players to fill gaps left in the squad.

          • Clarko

            I never said “money guarantees success”.

            “Our squad was so poor and so thin all we were doing by spending our transfer budget (we were hardly doing a City here) was getting our squad to a size and standard where we could compete”. Wrong, 100% wrong. In 16/17 Newcastle brought in 12 players and got rid of 25 players.

            “The fact we were promoted at the first time of asking (which not many newly relegated team do) is down to good management and buying (for the most part) the correct players to fill gaps left in the squad”, by spending £57.38m and building the best squad in the league, where are all the “miracles”, because I don’t see any? Anything other than first place would have been a failure.

          • Guest 2

            And how much was spent (not by Rafa) on the side which got relegated?
            Your logic is a twisted as your creaky neck

    • Jezza

      Well it’s been very noticeable the none of our best players Shelvey, Ritchie and Gayle have been linked with any other clubs this summer. Nobody wants to sign even our best players. That is a clear indication of how weak our squad is now.

  • Leazes Ender

    Benitez isn’t known for great football spectaculars, he’s more of a results type guy…. set up not to lose rather than go for it…..he’s not getting those results…. nor will he with this squad provided for him from the bottom end of his lists.

    Charnley is Ashley’s guy despite the protestations of non-interference, it is nonsense to believe that this is a Rafa squad…. it is abysmal, Rafa will leave because of it.

    I notice that five of your seven articles are having a bit of a dig at Rafa, he’s been hoisted onto this pedestal and now its a coconut shy….

    A crying shame because he was the only hope really!

    • TheFatController

      Yes, plenty of displaced anger. Rafa is the soft target now Ashley has proved bullet proof, what a weak bunch, picking on the easier target. Almost on a par with bullying. He’s not perfect but he’s not to blame. MacLaren and Carr left a squad bereft of spirit, talent and confidence and now that legacy is all Rafa’s fault if he can’t get the 100+ decisions needed to put it right spot on. Who would have got us promoted last season of not Rafa? Short memories …

      When we have a manager whose out of his depth but dedicates the odd good win to Ashley they’ll be placated perhaps…?

      • steve

        Literally anyone would have got us promoted last season, and probably with less drama.

        • TheFatController

          Can’t be proved . But Villa night disagree with that, I’d wager.

    • Guest 2

      Aye. There’s fatty on Sky telling all that Penfold reports to Charnley – so that would make him the boss? Yet he’s met and spoke with the guy once.

    • Fleckman hoop licker

      What hope ? The only hope is if mike Ashley leaves or has a bump on the head. Nowts going to change just because the manager has.

    • Brian Standen

      Heaven forbid I agree with you, but on this occasion you are 100% correct my friend

    • Kneebotherm8

      Two hopes,Bob hope and no hope under the Ashley regime.

  • Jimblag23

    Darlow and Elliot are not excellent keepers. Full stop.
    Rafa has mucked up this keeper situation. He should have scouted Sels more before assuming he could handle English football.
    Rafa keeps undermining all the keepers at the club and they look worse than they actually are, which I’ll repeat, isn’t great in the first place.

    I hope Rafa gets his way and brings in a solid experienced keeper.

    • Damon Horner

      Is free about Darlow and Elliot. Can’t understand why people rate them highly. I think Caballero would have shown them up a bit had he signed.

  • steve

    This article sums up my thoughts completely, a top manager should be able to get more out of a team than the sum of its parts but Rafa seems to be doing the opposite right now. Negative interviews, negative body language and negative line ups have the team looking nervous and playing within themselves.
    Add to that this total reliance on a 4-5-1 despite the fact we don’t have the players to fit the system and he has to shoulder a large part of the blame.

    • Guest 2

      Certainly agree that his adherence to 4-2-3-1 is mind numbingly boring and out of step with many PL sides who are now moving away from that formation.
      This club has followed it religiously since Pardew arrived though and through every one since.

      • Fleckman hoop licker

        It’s like the game has passed him by. Seriously, Benitez would’ve had Leicester’s premier league winning team in the bottom three and whinging about his squad.

        • Guest 2

          Think it was last week he was quoted as saying “The system is proven over years”. Confirms what he believes in that regard.

  • Fleckman hoop licker

    This article sums my thoughts exactly. Baffling why Newcastle fans receive criticism of Benitez as sacrilege. I’d add that Murphy, despite having an infinitely better strike rate last season was given a fraction of the game time that Mitrovic was. He appeared to prefer existing players to the ones he bought. Why bring in Atsu then play Goufran ? He must like Atsu, he’s bought the bloke, baffling.
    Throw in the fact he has one dreary tactic he seems incapable of deviating from and it’s not exactly inspiring is it ?
    Like the author I’m no Ashley apologist. However, Benitez droning on about “this is the premier league” after losing to a team who finished below is in last year’s championship (Huddersfield) is a bit of a joke isn’t it?

  • jack

    I wouldn’t say Gayle was one of our class players , his record in premiere is abysmal , but I agree we need to play two strikers and I would play mitrovich and joselu together ,we have to get rid of Diame too , but would have kept de jong , and we should forget about wasting money on goalkeeper ,we have three good ones already at club , and I agree that Rafa’s tactics are very negative , especially at home , we play far too deep which invites teams to attack , at home we should be the ones attacking not trying to hit them on the counter attack

    • Jimblag23

      How do you reckon Mitro would fair if we tried to turn him into our Felaini?

  • anyobrien

    100% this….. You have hit the nail on the head….. It’s a collective blame… Rafa has to take blame some of us signings have been a disaster and tactics? Don’t get me started I think people on hear no my thoughts on the lone striker against weaker opponents.

  • Desree

    2008 all over again. We will be in tears when Pardew comes back to serve up a 5 game winning run. Tell us all how brilliant he is and then get us relegated. But it aint his fault cos he didn’t sign the players.

    Rafa is gone. Ashley has broken the trust. Once that happens, a bloke like Rafa will leave. Reading this article won’t make him stay either.

    He has delivered on every promise.

    Just my opinion – the writer and supporters of this article. You all deserve Mike Ashley – snides.

    • TheFatController

      In fairness, 3 defeats will put any manager under pressure. You are right, but Rafa is experienced enough to know that 3 defeats will have every manager being lynched – Costa, Wenger, they all get it in the neck when they lose.

      For every Rafa there’s a Carver out there waiting for their chance. Maybe we’ll get what we deserve for lynching Rafa.

      I mean, Carver MacLaren Pardew never had 3 defeats and -4 goals across them… oh!

      • Desree

        Difference being they get to sign decent players. Rafa has been saddled with a pile of and a totally dysfunctional club. Gash reserves and no quality coming through the ranks.
        The size of his job is enormous. We hounded out SBR and we will hound out Rafa

    • anyobrien

      Rafa picked a pizz poor team he has to take responsibility for that… Why did Hanley get a five year contract he’s utter gssh

      • TheNutJob

        Rafa selects the players Penfold does the office work

        • anyobrien

          Aye and he picked shy t last night…. I don’t want rafa out but he’s not beyond criticism..

          • TheNutJob

            i agree i wanted somewhere near a full team out last night

          • Geordie-7676

            is it not a feasible option to just accept that maybe the selection was wrong and move on, without resorting to wild articles that basically say that Rafa needs to change NOW, because we all know better?

            What do people want? an apology? a plea for mercy? some grovelling maybe?

          • Fleckman hoop licker

            A team that tries to reach the next round? Bloody he’ll, I’d never heard of some of the players he played at Oxford.

          • anyobrien

            I think you miss the point… No one has asked for a apology just maybe he could of picked a stronger team and some of his signings have been a bit ropey…. Hopefully a win Saturday and a couple in things will be for the better

  • lukegte

    I agree absolutely. Would be fantastic to get a good cup run and he just let it slip by. If he is using the result as a demonstration to the powers that be that the squad needs investment, then it’s forgivable. So long as it’s effective…

  • goalseeker

    So It is Benitez to blame? Strange as he gave Charnley a list of class players before the transfer window then Charnley found out their clubs wanted more that £10 million and the player wanted more than $40 thou a week they were way out of his thinking (sorry to use the word thinking where Charnley is concerned.) So he dithered and dithered and fiddled his thumbs until those players went elsewhere to clubs who would pay PL 2017 prices instead of PL 1990 prices. Then he nearly lost Murphy a player who has skill and really wanted to come to Newcastle. Alright he needs some coaching he is not the complete PL player but they all cost way beyond what Charnely wants to spend. Yes, Rafa names players but Charnely does the negotiating and establishes the contract the manager is not involved with that and most managers have said that whichever club they are involved with. The difference between those managers and Rafa is they do not have Charnley. You are looking for one man to blame- Charnley. He is Ash’s man and he keeps throwing mediocre players that do not cost a lot at Rafa and says you are a good coach then coach him to be a Pl superstar that we can sell at a profit for my best friend ASH. We will say different things to the newspapers of course and in turn they will not ask Mike awkward or thrusting questions ‘cos we will threaten to throw them out of the press room. Look elsewhere for the blame Neil look and examine Charnley since he was given the job. A job too big for him yet again Ash gives powerful jobs to idiots.

    • Martin Rooney

      He picked the team and has identified tosh to buy, come one don’t be blind

      • Toon88

        [email protected] off you aids cun t

        • Geordiegiants

          He is clearly an imbred

        • Martin Rooney

          He bought them fact, einstein.

        • Jimblag23

          I didn’t know Shakespeare went on the Mag.

  • Shipcote Willy

    Yeah let’s slag off Rafa, after all we have all these quality managers queuing up for the job or would you prefer Pardew or Carver back. It’s amazing how many fans know better than the manager. Pathetic article

    • Fleckman hoop licker

      What difference does it make who is manager ?

      • Martin Rooney

        None they’ll moan if he hasn’t won anything or wasn’t a god somewhere else isn’t KK or AS, and if it is one of them they’ll moan when they lose three games in a row.

        • anyobrien

          I’ve Sat in the east stand for 35 years seen us win nowt so moan?… Hardly its just the way Newcastle is a circus.

        • Fleckman hoop licker

          The club hasn’t won owt for 60 odd years domestically, Benitez I the latest manager to send out a team he wouldn’t pick for a league game. It’s quite simple, do you think there’s more or less chance of winning a trophy with this policy?

    • anyobrien

      No one knows better it’s just they have opinions…. It may be different from others last time I looked we lived in a democratic society that let you express your opinion…. That Alreet with you?

      • Shipcote Willy

        Slagging off the manager after three games is pathetic. Direct your criticism to the bloke upstairs

        • Fleckman hoop licker

          You think Ashley doesn’t get his fair share of criticism?!!

          • Geordiegiants

            Yeah but rafa doesnt deserve any, you lot are fu cked up if you think he should shoulder any of the blame.

          • Fleckman hoop licker

            He deserves criticism for having one and only one tactic.
            He deserves criticism for picking weakened teams in the cup.
            His brand of football is tedious to say the least. I’d overlook the last one if it meant me seeing us win owt but see point two for evidence of that not happening.

          • Geordiegiants

            Every single club in the country plays a weakened team in the league cup early stages.

          • Geordiegiants

            He doesn’t only have one tactic, he only has one option.

        • anyobrien

          No one is slagging the manager off just offering there perspective on events and believe me I have aimed my frustration on fatty many times. Before, during and after games.

    • Geordiegiants

      That is why he is one of the best managers in the world and we go to work for a pittance in comparison. He like every human being makes mistakes here and there, but the bigger picture is, he is a winner. These are very obviously Mackems.

  • Brian Standen

    Just a question for everyone. If Rafa did walk or was pushed, can anyone give a name of a suitable replacement?
    Someone who won’t be a YES man!
    I’m struggling……
    Yes Rafa is not everyone’s cup of tea but he is without doubt our best hope of not following Sunderland into oblivion!
    And yes I guess in Rafa I trust!

    • TheNutJob

      only a yes man would take the job

    • Shipcote Willy

      Spot on Brian I wonder who the manager is that the moaners want or expect Ashley to appoint.?
      Ashley is a master of deflection and it seems that his PR campaign using a tame media is working on the fans.

      • Guest 2

        Master? If he’s deceived anyone at all then they must be devoid of all grey matter.

        • Shipcote Willy

          They are. Blame Penfold, blame Rafa, but oblivious to the big picture.

      • Fleckman hoop licker

        Are you serious? There’s nobody would love to dance in the grace of Mike Ashley more than me but let’s just imagine for one second he was a decent sort, does he play one up top like it’s the only tactic that ever existed ? Benitez picked the team at Oxford, he picked the team last night. If he wanted to make a statement about the size of his squad, maybe he should’ve sent his strongest team out in the cup….just for a change?

        • Shipcote Willy

          Every manager played reserves in this cup including the team we played last night. His job is to keep the club up. Keeping us up and having a run in the cup with this squad?

          • Fleckman hoop licker

            Ffs do you want the club to try and win owt or not ? Why is finishing fourth off bottom so important?

          • Damon Horner

            For me retaining Premier League status is as important because if we win nothing again this year, we stand a better chance if we are in the Premier League in the following seasons.

        • Geordiegiants

          We dont have 2 quality strikers to play up front, our squad is built from the back and built on solid foundations, the only way is to try and knick a goal here and there.

          • anyobrien

            Brilliant…. We can’t lose

          • Geordiegiants

            We can if we keep it tight and play to our strengths, instead of pretending we have a team full of flair minded attacking players.

        • Desree

          Benitez played two strikers up top at Oxford.

    • Guest 2

      It would be another prehistoric white englishman thats for sure.

      • Jezza

        A prehistoric white haired englishman to be precise.

    • Martin Rooney

      Dyche

      • Brian Standen

        He would not work under Ashley

  • NUFCLX

    I actually thought it would be 5 or 6 games into the season before this pony started but as usual some of the so called Toon supporters love to have a go. This is probably the same supporters who shouted for Sir Bobby to be sacked and now lament what a great manager he was. Lets sack Rafa and then in 2 years time we can all say what a great manager he was and talk about how Ashley got rid of him. Some of our so called supporters are a disgrace to the Toon. I know it is all about opinions and I would love to see us play 2 up front but can you doom mongers tell me who u would get to replace Rafa.

    • Shipcote Willy

      Spot on. No manager is above criticism but the fickleness of some fans knows no bounds. I wonder who they expect to come in if Rafa leaves?

      • Fleckman hoop licker

        Someone who does exactly the same as Rafa but with a less impressive CV ?

      • Martin Rooney

        Sean Dyche

        • Jezza

          Appointing Sean Dyche to replace Rafa would be a huge backward step and in any case he will not come to NUFC nor will Ashley try for him. There is only one man going to take over from Rafa and we all know who that is. I’ll give you a clue, he’s got silver hair and has had the job before.

    • Peaky Magpie

      The return of Geordie John on the minimum wage,the best coach in the PL and always on the phone to Ashley,according to himself ???

  • Geordie-7676

    I despair sometimes i really do.

    We are 3 games into the season. We have had a bad start, and some disappointing results, of that there is no doubt.

    Spurs – last seasons runner-ups. We played well and had the game contained until the red card. With 10 men we were never going to win/draw. positives could still be taken.

    Huddersfield – Promoted (just like us) playing their first PL home match EVER. Neither team played well, they took their chance, we didn’t take ours (Perez skying over the bar prime example). 2 First team defensive injuries being plugged and missing playmaker.

    Forest – 4th/5th choice team on display by us, Forest reserve team put out. Not a good game, some bad defending on both sides, 2 lapses of concentration cost us dearly. Cup game after all – nice to be in it, but PL should be, and is priority this year.

    As always with this club, we are never far from drama, but come on man. The only games that matter this year, the PL games, we have 36 left to play. WE ARE NOT IN A CRISIS. Anyone who thinks it is time to start blaming anyone is just another one of those fickle result driven fans. If we win you jump up and down as a mad supporter, lose and you jump up and down demanding justice.

    Time is needed folks, time to gel, time to get the system right and time for results to start coming in. Of course it would be great if that had already happened, but it hasn’t. Give yer heeds a wobble!

  • Guest 2

    “(a) a dig at Ashley’s non-investment or (b) to put players in the shop window in an effort to shift a couple of them on before the transfer window closes.”
    Wasn’t he entirely entitled, and correct, to have done both? Or rather you would like to keep the likes of Saivet, signed by god knows who for god knows what reason?

  • TheNutJob

    the squads rubbish, with Rafa it has a chance of surviving in this league if he leaves we`re Doomed but Jabba`s to thick to see it from a football point of view

    • Martin Rooney

      so think he’s allowed him to spend £92m on players he wants for his team, plus he had a squad of players he could also use, like international strikers with goal every two game ratios, international keepers with the best ever premier league performances under his belt etc etc. Yeb those 18 players he’s signed we’ll they are top draw aren’t they.

      • Soldier

        more Micky that Martin

        • Martin Rooney

          Mee grandad

        • Geordiegiants

          more Mackem than Martin you mean

          • Martin Rooney

            That’s below the belt

    • Fleckman hoop licker

      So the club “survives” in the premier league this season, what then ? Hopefully Ashley sells or has a heart attack? Or wakes up a different man ? Or we survive next season?

  • Ben Sandell

    Every article posted by Neil is a crack at Rafa . Talk about giving a balanced view! Rafa certainly deserves a slice of blame for the start of the season but I`d like to point out we have only played 2 league games ! The first of which I thought we would have taken something had Shelvey not pressed the self destruct button. Typical of ourselves to start to pile the negativity after a short period of time

    • Guest 2

      Not sure what anyone is bitching about him for. Everyone knows Rafa’s style of play and his buying style. Regardless of who he gets, he always wants cover for as many positions as possible, therefore there’s always going to be duds among them. That’s at a normal club – never mind one with fatty at the helm and penfold as his right hand.
      I do think he needs to move on from the adherence at all times to the formation though. Times have changed and like all, he has to as well.

      • Ben Sandell

        Yeah I totally agree with the above . To play the formation Rafa prefers you need a natural number 10 and we don’t have that . Rafa has a proven track record and is backed by 95% of our fans . Nobody will agree with everything he does but if anybody thinks we could get a better candidate they are delusional . Our club when he took over was an utter mess! That cannot be fixed in 1-2 seasons. Its going to be a long road if he stays with a few Matt Sells along the way but he is by far our best chance of achieving anything .

      • Martin Rooney

        Bitching, paying to watch tosh and I’m bitching ?
        Read that again, ‘……. bitching about Rafa…………………….. i do think he needs to move…………………’ why ain’t that ya bitchin,
        Betty?

  • Martin Rooney

    Lafa Benitez, Lafa Benitez, Lafa Benitezzzz

    • Guest 2

      Take a day off. Don’t be a [email protected] all your life.

      • Martin Rooney

        Just joining in with the rest of you. Plus i put money into the club not like most of you lot and the owner of the site. Who never gets lambasted yet makes all his money from the existence of NUFC and puts nothing into the club, parasites tha lot o ya

    • Jezza

      Don’t worry. Your beloved Pardew will be back in charge of NUFC before long.

  • Arty Hume

    IMHO I believe Rafa is showing us all that the second string is out of its depth together with the first team. We have very little quality in the squad its been eroded away due to lack of investment over the years coupled with buying average players for big money. Its just bursting now and Rafa is getting the blame for past failings! Unless the club is sold it will implode and we will all suffer.

    • Cuh

      Do we need Man city’s squad to beat Nottingham Forest? Come on!

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Rafa came to Newcastle because he thought he could rebuild it, that was mistake one,
    Mistake 2 was believing the Fat Lad in the summer about funds available.
    once he realises that it`s going to be the same old, same old policies
    it`s Hasta la Vista to the Pig & his Minion Penfold

    • Jimblag23

      Rafa should have got everything in writing with lawyers involved.

      I hope Rafa spills the beans on the inner workings of the club when he leaves.

      • FatParosite

        Rafa will be paid off like all the others. Shut your mouth when you leave standard policy.

    • Martin Rooney

      Oh he has had funds, i don’t think we’ll find out he will be claiming he wasn’t given what was promised. Tell me which of the six signings he has made are the ones you thought we needed, i’d venture very few. So why did he not spend his money on some quality

      • Soldier

        Net spend of around 20 odd million won`t buy you one decent player these day`s. he`s plugging the gaps that`s all

        • Martin Rooney

          Net spend doesn’t impact the quality of player bought with the money net or gross, it is of course gross what was spent and largely he has spent it on gross players

      • Jezza

        Are you really saying that Rafa has had £100+ million at his disposal all summer but has chosen to scrape around the bargain basement for a rag tag bunch of untried youngsters, cast offs and Sunderland rejects rather than buy proven Premiership quality?

  • TheFatController

    I’m going to take a deep breath and remember this is what happens under Ashley. Everyone blames somebody because it’s always going belly up no matter what good fortune falls into the club’s lap. Then the fans start laying into each other.

    I’ll just keep my eye on the common denominator across this period.

    He may not know how to run a club, but he knows how easy divide and conquer is in football due to the fact every club will have an implosion – watch the message boards when Liverpool or Arsenal concede – dog’s abuse ensuesfor Klopp and Wenger. No wonder Ashley doesn’t budge, he just waits for us to implode like all Football fans do the world over..

    • Jimblag23

      Good point.

      • TheFatController

        Last week? Happy clappers
        This week? Rafa
        Next week?

        For sale – Graham Carr, Steve MacLaren, Moussa Sissoko , John Carver, Alan Pardew scapegoat postings from NUFC social media. Willing to swap the lot for a brand new set of Manquillo postings

        Also have a compete set of Paul Dummett postings 2016/17 to make way for the 2018 stock in his amnesty period.

        Shall we stick with chopping off Medusa’s head rather than the individual snakes ? A new snake just appears it seems, and it’s been a decade now…

        • Martin Rooney

          It’s your sort that are the snakes, hissing away, full of poison, and such poor vision that you fail to recognise it.Rafa’s style is a failure he plays not to lose forgetting that the game has moved on.

          • TheFatController

            I’d advise help but would it be heeded ?

          • Martin Rooney

            I don’t need the help, remember that god, Sir Bobby Robson, it was your whinging ilk that forced him out of the club. He took us from zero to champs league then dropped to 5th and was hounded out, around 5,000 fans stayed at the end of the season after booing the team off the pitch. 5TH 5TH. At the start of the next season 3 really poor refs decisions against him in the first 3 games and the fans booed him out of the club. Now he’s the hero we so tragically lost, the extremities of all you lots is completely outer space yaz are nuts man, get a grip. The one constant, an absolute abject failure to look at the facts with honesty and intelligence. You can’t be an newcastle fan, nothing you do supports the club.

          • TheFatController

            And all because I said stop focusing on the bit part players in all this – like managers and players – and instead focus on the owner who is where the buck ultimately stops.

            From there I have become the man that got Bobby Robson sacked.

            Your rant is harmless, but hilariously bizarre and left field. Keep it up, I enjoy the randomness …

          • Damon Horner

            It’s more the fans who make the point that the manager is out of touch with the current reality of the game that got Sir Bobby sacked.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      he just couldn`t give a Flying F, he`s not interested in the club

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Look at the big picture, away to Chelsea in the next round. we dodged the bullet there ok

    • Leazes Ender

      You looking for positives?

      • Geordiegiants

        You always find them!

  • Alan Pardew

    I think the formation thing is getting in the way of what we’ve got to do. That’s winning headers, running faster and showing a desire to win the game.

    • Soldier

      no wonder Palace sacked you, but stay by the phone if Rafa departs

      • maginyorkshire

        please no

        • Fleckman hoop licker

          I’m guessing the people who slag Fraudew off have at some stage leapt to his defence?

          • Geordiegiants

            Never he was a liar, the very opposite of what is getting leved at Rafa, he is speaking up telling the truth and these to ssers are going on like this.

          • Fleckman hoop licker

            Think you’re missing my point mate, people who criticised Fraudew back then were probably labelled “tossers” too.
            Now he’s gone he’s fair game.
            Anyway, it’s been a canny debate but I’m out now, be nice.

  • hetonmag

    Here we go it’s let’s bash Rafa time, let’s not forget he and he alone has tried to turn this club around after year’s of underinvestment by Ashley the club is a mess and he certainly isn’t a miracle worker. Yes he has got thing’s wrong but on a larger scale didn’t Fergy, personally I think if Rafa goes this club will implode and no I don’t think he’s God but what’s the alternative.

    • steve

      In what way has he tried to turn the club around? His short sighted buys to get out of the Championship have just left us with even more dead wood than the previous regime.

      • hetonmag

        Have you been asleep since he’s been here or can you not see past your nose end, judging by your comments you would rather have the previous idiots in charge of team selections.

        • Fleckman hoop licker

          Sending out weakened teams in the cups ? What’s the difference?

          • hetonmag

            Weakened by 10 years of neglect.

          • Fleckman hoop licker

            Sorry but Benitez has gone along with a culture of not trying in the cups.
            Depressing how some Newcastle supporters give passive acceptance to this. The irony is that almost universally, Newcastle fans state hat he uses the club for nowt else but to promote his tatty shops. So we get promoted and he wins. Does the club/team benefit in any way from being in the premier league?

          • hetonmag

            Quarter finals last year so that kicks your theory into touch.

        • steve

          Weakened team in the cup, poor signings, negative tactics, poor substitutions, what’s the difference?

  • Mxpx

    For me I don’t like Rafas defensive football although if we we’re winning I wouldn’t complain I don’t like him not turning to mitrovic as well he’s got more potential for goals than Gayle if we start whipping in crosses he’d bag a few and were ok for wingers too ! But this aside if Rafa is going to take on Ashley I’ll support him all day long

  • David2211

    People turning on Rafa after three games and we wonder why the rest of the country think we are deluded and an embarrassment.
    Benitez is the best thing to happen to this club in a long, long time. He’s one of the good guys and on OUR side. Do not direct negative energy at him ffs.

    • Damon Horner

      Anyone on the outside would consider this to be our fanbase wanting the manager sacked after three games despite winning the Championship the year before. Its not been great but the lack of patience is astounding.

      • Desree

        There will be an article tomorrow slagging off a TV pundit who has said the fans want Benitez out.

        Do you think these pundits have inside knowledge?

        Or do they get handed research based on comments taken from fans forums.

        By the way – David Prutton was right. Jamie Carragher was fair.

        The football isn’t always exciting. But Rafa and every other manager at NUFC gets saddled with players who have never played in the EPL and have terrible injury records.

        This squad is worse than the one we got relegated with.

        Rafa has not actually been given any money to spend.

        Unlike any previous manager at NUFC.

        I am convinced that none of the incoming players were Rafas intended targets. He wanted Townsend, he got Murphy.

        He wanted a striker who could guarantee 15 goals a season. He got a Stoke reject.

        He wanted a premier league quality keeper.

        He wanted premier league quality defenders. He got a sunderland reject and lejeune.

        Rafa has always churned the players and squad. It keeps players on their toes and elevates performance.

        It works when you are backed to sign Torres, Alonso and have Gerrard as your captain.

        Unfortunately Rafa is facing a unique situation.

        Rafa’s way usually works. Mike Ashleys way results in being a yoyo club with a toxic culture and toxic fanbase.

        There was a dream that was once NUFC – a club and town united.

        That dream was Rafa.

        • Damon Horner

          I agree. Rafa has had a lot to say lately but I understand why, it’s because he plans to get on with his job but allow anybody else to know a message similar to what you’ve said above.

        • Jezza

          All true. The only thing is we won’t even be a yoyo club any more because we won’t come back up from the second division again. We won’t go down with £90 million worth of players to sell to generate funds to build a promotion team next May like we did last year.

      • anyobrien

        Who has said sack him?

        • Damon Horner

          Well nobody has used those words but if you attack the manager for signings, selection, tactics and media behaviour then you’re doing it for a wider purpose and it seems it’s intended to influence fans into focusing on the negatives of the manager and you wouldn’t do that if you were content with him in his job.

          Negative articles produces exaggerated opinions and where nobody has said they want him sacked, perceptions are formed based on tone.

          • anyobrien

            It’s one article and I’m sure most fans can make the own mind up on rafa.

    • anyobrien

      Ffs no one is turning on him. They express an opinion about some of his decisions no one has come out and said sack him.

      • Damon Horner

        So if “nobody knows better” and this isn’t suggesting he should be replaced then this whole article is just an opinion that a man with 0/3 wins could do better?

  • briankilclinesfordfiesta

    Negative tactics? Check. Bad results? Check. Poor signings? Check. Shielded by the hatred towards Ashley? Check. For all the bad things RB is guilty of, he will come out of NUFC with his reputation intact because he will never carry the can for any future failure in the eyes of most fans.

    Last season was a functional one, not a pretty one. The fact is “we played really well today” was a sentence rarely said last year. The football has not been good.

    This year could see NUFC repeat one of the Mackems’ points “achievements.”

    • Jimblag23

      Who do you think would do a better job?

  • LA Toon

    An excellent insight to the issues we are facing. I wonder why contracts with players don’t include a clause stating that if they are sold on they agree to a wage structure of the club that wants to sign them. Also with most contracts in the real world, if you don’t perform the contract is terminated.

  • Geordiegiants

    I will come out and say it, although I am a staunch Rafa fan. His football is boring, there ive said it, but he is still the best manager that we have ever had at this club in my time. The first manager being Jackie Charlton, then a series of managers until Rafa. The person writing this article is a complete tool if he thinks we could get anyone better.

    • Fleckman hoop licker

      Another one of my pet hates, fans who lionise Benitez for his previous clubs rather than what he’s achieved here.

      • Geordiegiants

        So what is there to go off? When you go for a job do you not put a CV in to show your worth and value and what you are capable of? So far in one season he has got us promoted as champions, what more do you expect him to have done? At the end of this season if we stay up he has done what has been asked of him, if we go any higher he has gone above and beyond, what are you expecting

      • Geordiegiants

        What he has acheived here? Are you serious?

  • Damon Horner

    I do agree in some way about Rafa so far this season but I also would back him at the long game. This is probably a tad too hasty.

    • Geordiegiants

      exactly, go back a year and look at some of the comments from the idiots that think every thing is instant. they were slagging of his performances and tactics, then go to christmas the same idiots saying we wouldnt go up with the squad we had, need I say any more about these fu cking ti ts.

      • Damon Horner

        We ended up promoted with the second highest points total since we last went up. Performances weren’t convincing but in typical Rafa fashion end results were impressive.

        I think some fans have to consider what they want because they won’t get a fair owner lavishly throwing money at a popular manager to play entertaining football and also win trophies.

        If we want success, back the man with the track record, even if at times it feels like blind faith.

      • Damon Horner

        We ended up promoted with a points total beaten once since our last promotion.

        I think some fans need to consider what they want. If it is success then surely we need to be patient and keep the faith with the man with the track record. Even if it feels blind at times.

        We won’t get a loving/fair owner appointing a manager the fans love and throwing money at him to buy players who’s play attacking football and win a lot.

  • Razeen

    Well, to be honest, Rafa failed to prove that his previous signings were up to the mark. Sels, Lazaar, Gamez, Hanley failed to make any proper impressions, and hardly played during the Championship season. If he invested wisely, then, today, we would not need to ship out players, and play a wait game for further recruitment.

    • Damon Horner

      Every manager makes bad signings. It’s widely considered our four most influential players last year was Clark, Shelvey, Ritchie and Gayle, 3 players Rafa brought in, fair enough he signed a couple of duds but he also put together our main Championship winning influence.

  • Rob Brown

    Last night was an excellent chance to see how the lesser players would perform – and that’s what he did.
    Do you really think we want to be thrashing our first team players with extra games in a worthless cup when our only real aim is surely survival?

    And since when did we have 3 “excellent” keepers at the club? We had one rookie, a promising youngster and Rob Elliot in recovery.

    As for not being an Ashley apologist you’re doing a bloody good impression.

    One question – do you actually believe that we have enough good players at the moment to stay up??

    • Martin Rooney

      Yes, to work it out take first team of all those expected to be in the bottom half and judge player for player we should probably by 12th

  • Steve Pearce

    So go and pick a better team then. Oh I forgot – your’e not the Newcastle manager and time travel hasn’t been invented. So shut up and go and support the Makems…

  • GToon

    I think if we look at the first two games then I’m stuck to suggest who else he could have picked. With regard to tactics I think we’ll never know against Spurs due to Shelvey getting sent off but I think we certainly could have been more offensive against Huddersfield. If we had really gone at Spurs from the start we could easily have got hammered though.
    The bottom line is that he can only pick from what he has. Nearly every person on this site has said our squad needs some quality adding to it and nothing has changed. When we have EPL quality players sitting on the bench while Rafa plays defensively for ninety minutes then maybe we can question him. It’s also worth noting that it’s the creative players, the ones that are often more expensive, that we are lacking. I mean what would we think if we in the dressing room and Rafa announced to the team that they were really going to go for it and everying needs to go through Diame or Perez! At the moment we haven’t got the players we need.

    • Geordiegiants

      We dont have 1 single playere that I would be gutted if we sold him, Im not saying we dont have any decent players as we have Gayle,Shelvey and Ritchie that are decent, but what the queer fu ckers on here are saying is, its rafas fault our players are shyte quality.

      • GToon

        You are right. I wouldn’t care who we sell. The problem we face I reckon is that the whole team is a much of a muchness – very average basically. There are no stars and nobody really to drag up the standard of the others around them. There may be a few surprises this year though. I think Arrons could do well if he stays injury free. I think Shelvey could too if he gets his head sorted. I just hope Rafa is happy by September. One thing for sure though. The next time China come calling he won’t turn them down quite so quickly after this summers “enlightenment”.

      • Jimblag23

        Ritchie is the one player of hate to see us sell.
        I would have included Shelvey up until a few weeks ago.

        • Geordiegiants

          I would hate to see him sold, don’t get me wrong, all I’m saying is there are numerous wingers as good and better than him.

  • Gary

    Spot on last season was horrific to watch had we been a little.more adventurous we would of walked the league but because of his negative way of playing we nearly blew it. Love what hes done for club on uniting everyone what i see on the pitch doesnt wash with me. Playing one up top with no support at home to burton albion tells ya what he is about and aint gonna change. Sit back in this league and lump it to ya centre forward will not get ya 10 goals by xmas never mind 10 points!!

    • anyobrien

      Tend to agree with this.. We should of smashed some teams last season

  • Andy Mac

    I see people like Neil wandering through life thinking they know what’s going on. Votes Tory because the media tell him to. Believes Rafa is in charge because that’s his title.

    Sooner or later the blindfolds will be removed from the eyes of thousands of Geordie’s and they’ll eventually understand they’ve been fed bullshlt by the RW media, the Govt and even the BBC.
    Tories are not good for the health of our nation, the Banks/Financial Institutions are not good for the wealth of the nation and Fatman is a cnutt

    • Si

      So if Corbin gets in we will win the league -brilliant I’ll vote for him

      • Leazes Ender

        No but I wouldn’t rule out change in football ownership rules or tax avoidance for the super rich, or saving Health and education that in itself would be worth voting for.

        • J Michael

          What if saving Health means a mix of private and public investment, mirroring continental methods? Or do we place ideology ahead of people’s welfare?

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      A big BNP fan Andy?

  • MAGCYP

    Neil,

    My sentiments too.

    According to the Sky interview Ashley said that Benitez was in total control of all transfers with Charnley reporting to him. Presumably Benitez had secured a pot of money from Ashley. There is nobody to blame but Benitez.

    At the meeting or soon thereafter I would be astonished to learn if Benitez had not compared the money on the table with his own wish list of wanted players and had not questioned the discrepancy between the money on the table and the players values in his wish list.

    He should concentrate on coaching and cut out the whinging.

  • Cuh

    What baffles me is why some players never got a fair chance. Lazaar, Hanley, Gamez.

    Last night, we played a team who were largely unfamiliar with each other, as well as their level of opposition, so 2-2 at halftime wasn’t strange. Where we lost the game was in the failure to adapt tactically. I can’t see why Ritchie came on, honestly. I can’t see why Diame stayed on with Hayden and Saivet on. Why not our supersub Perez or Joselu joining Mitrovic up front? A more offensive set up while we were dominating the second period?

    • Jimblag23

      Hanley had a fair few chances but I’ll agree Lazaar and Gamez got no game time.

      • Geordiegiants

        It’s a strange one, but football is a strange game. Doumbia, Saviet, Rivière etc etc were all strange signings, it makes you wonder if the likes of Gamez and Lazaar were already arranged before Rafa came along.

        • Kneebotherm8

          Its strange but Doumbia scored goals before he joined us and he’s carried on scoring since he left. He never scored for us but then again he only played about 10 minutes for us. A very strange and pointless signing indeed.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            It wasn’t a strange signing on the basis of his goalscoring record, as you say, both before arriving and after (albeit in the Swiss league). The strange thing was the fact he didn’t get a sniff at NUFC.

        • Martin Rooney

          Riviere, strange, this was the guy keeping Falcao out of the team wasn’t it? At Monaco had a one in three goal scoring record including sub appearances

          • Geordiegiants

            Is that Falcao the Chelsea and Manure goal machine? Because especially for Chelsea he was a very strange signing himself.

  • Albert Stubbins

    I know nothing.

  • Desree

    In the last 10 years we have had two decent transfer windows 2011 and 2015.

    In the last 10 years we have had 9 coaches/managers. None of them had control over transfers.

    We now have a manager in control of transfers. We now have a manager with a track record of making some dud transfers but also great signings.

    Rafa should do the right thing and walk. I expected better from the readers of the Mag.

    Some of you have shown your true colours.

    It is pathetic really. 14 months ago you were begging him to stay.

    Most of you write articles or make snide comments about opposition fans.

    You act all high and mighty.

    • Geordiegiants

      Here here, they are a bunch of slinks calling Rafa.

  • neville_greevy

    Did we miss out on Ibrahimovich again?

  • Sadman

    Neil. Please go and suport simon grayson and the mackams.

  • Maggy

    There’s always one is na 1mischeives mackem I think

    • Paul Smith

      It’s true that the football has been terrible to watch though.. Even in the championship when we were winning almost every week, our performances were incredibly dull and uninspiring. I’m not saying I want the manager gone or anything though.. He’s the only manager we’ve had that i’ve actually liked and respected since Hughton.

  • J Michael

    An excellent article – drawing the normal and predictable “you must be a mackam” response from the easily led.
    There is more to football management than transfers. Rafa has to start managing the assets he has, coaching them, applying tactical nous, getting the line up right.
    Instead, he bleats and whines to the media, who lap it up. And so do the gullible fans, ever eager to hear anything with Ashley as the villain.
    When Rafa doesn’t get his own way – meaning an endless amount of money to waste on players – he becomes poison; a malign influence causing disruption and uncertainty.
    But the fans won’t listen because he trots out the bull**** that appeals to them and appeals to that obsession with buying players, in the same way chavs buy bling.
    The sensible course of action now is for Ashley to sack Benitez before Benitez causes any more strife. And before Benitez walks from the job at an awkward time.
    That is the sensible option. But football fans aren’t sensible. They can’t see beyond their prejudices.

  • StevieB

    I’ve said before , I’ve hated the 4-2-3-1 formation since I was bored to death watching us at craven cottage last August .
    You need excellent players to make it effective , i.e. Aguero playing in front of debruyne and silva etc