Mike Ashley owns 100% of Newcastle and can run it in any way he likes…and he does.

It doesn’t make it right though.

The latest episode in the Rafa Benitez and Mike Ashley stand-off/cold war came this weekend.

Two weeks earlier the owner was at St James Park for the Spurs match but declined to meet his manager despite not having spoken to Rafa for over three months, when an end of season meeting was held and both sides were all so positive about the summer/season ahead, having ‘agreed’ on their approach to the summer transfer window.

Three months later (two weeks after Ashley blanked Rafa at the Spurs game), Newcastle beat West Ham 3-0 and the manager gets unexpected guests, though the club’s owner is not amongst them, instead he sends a delegation of minions to pay a visit.

This was the exclusive.

The Mirror – 27 August 2017:

‘Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez WILL stop his transfer grumblings after talks with MD Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley lawyer

Rafa Benitez has agreed to “shut up and get on with his job” after clear-the-air talks with Newcastle chiefs.

After a series of transfer window moans, Toon boss Benitez was visited by managing director Lee Charnley and Justin Barnes — a lawyer working for Magpies owner Mike Ashley — after Saturday’s win over West Ham.

PR man Keith Bishop was also present amid concern at the European Cup winner’s comments about his transfer budget.

So far, Newcastle have splashed out around £40million in this summer’s transfer window on six players, but missed out on four early deals Benitez wanted done, leading to tension.

On Friday afternoon, Benitez claimed Newcastle was no longer a “long-term” project.

And all summer he has hinted at unhappiness at the speed of business being done.

Owner Ashley is believed to have asked Benitez to stop his unsettling comments and to “get on with his job”.

Disillusioned striker Dwight Gayle could be sold this week for up to £20m, to raise further funds for a late recruitment push.

Talks were held at St James’s Park immediately after the win over West Ham, and an amicable way forward worked out between all parties.’

The Mirror is of course the club’s ‘official media partner’ and unlike most of that newspaper’s feeble transfer exclusives, this exclusive was written by The Mirror’s man in the north east, Simon Bird.

So bottom line is, we can take this to be true (in my humble opinion), that the meeting did take place.

What exactly was said on both sides would be very interesting to know but we can only go on the Mirror’s piece.

What I take from their reporting is that it is anything but sympathetic to Rafa Benitez and leans heavily towards the Mike Ashley PR side of things.

Saying ‘Rafa Benitez will stop his transfer grumblings’ and will ‘shut up and get on with his job’. Even the mention of money spent as being ‘around £40m’ sees a bias to rounding things up, the figure generally reported in the media is around £36m has been spent so far – but only a net spend of around £23m or so after sales of Thauvin, Mbabu and Murphy are taken into account.

Maybe though the biggest thing that stands out for me, is that Simon Bird doesn’t make any comment at all as to how ridiculous this whole overall scenario was – these three stooges marching in to see Rafa Benitez.

Giving Simon Bird the benefit of the doubt, maybe like so many others he just doesn’t see how shambolic the club is these days, so sees these kind of happenings as simply ‘normal’ for Newcastle United under Mike Ashley.

Just to spell it out, at normal clubs, if there were issues to be sorted then a manager would usually be asked to come along to a board meeting, where issues could be talked about, common ground found, and an agreed strategy on going forward.

Normal clubs having at least one board of directors (some have two – one deciding the overall club strategy and budgets etc – and the other running the club/making decisions with regular meetings each month or whenever), made up of the most experienced and talented people to help guide the club and support the manager in his football decisions.

At Newcastle United we also have a board, which (don’t laugh) is made up of Lee Charnley and Bobby Moncur (pictured above with Ashley).

The Mirror say Rafa Benitez met with ‘Toon chiefs’, so why wasn’t one of the two club directors there? Next thing people will be saying that it is a board in name only. I would love to see the minutes of the board meetings…

All normal clubs also have a team of the best professional people employed and tasked to run the club on a day to day basis, Newcastle have Lee Charnley – who when figures were released in Newcastle’s last Premier League season, was revealed to be  the lowest paid PL Managing Director by a country mile, other MDs getting 20 times what Charnley gets. You pay peanuts you get…

So according to The Mirror, on Saturday Rafa met with these three Mike Ashley stooges – Lee Charnley, Justin Barnes and Keith Bishop.

Exactly what are the roles of these other two at Newcastle United?

Once again, Ashley can do whatever he wants as it is ‘his’ club but it doesn’t add up to the right way to go about things and you have to wonder why the media covering Newcastle United don’t question the joke that is the way the club is run.

Justin Barnes first was named in a Telegraph exclusive (see below) in terms of involvement at Newcastle United.

Back in June the newspaper claimed Barnes, a fixer within Ashley’s retail empire inner circle, had been brought in above Lee Charnley and any financial decisions, beyond presumably how many paper clips Charnley wanted to buy, had to be agreed by Justin Barnes.

Coming up to 11 weeks later and obviously Barnes is still there pulling strings on behalf of Mike Ashley but fans are told nothing and no critical analysis from most of the media.

As for Keith Bishop, he is Ashley’s man for coordinating the club owner’s PR. No doubt managing the relationships with people such as David Craig and Sky Sports, enabling that farce of an ‘interview’ to be broadcast, working to a script and no proper questions asked about Ashley’s mismanagement of the club.

The whole charade clearly part of the PR battle against Rafa Benitez (Ashley’s manager!!!), attempting to portray the owner in the best possible light (next up, how Donald Trump is really nice to children and kittens…).

No wonder Rafa Benitez feels such an affinity to the players and fans of Newcastle United but contempt for Mike Ashley and his minions.

He has worked at all kinds of clubs (Real Madrid, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli) where inner politics leave the manager performing a constant balancing act of how to handle his side of things BUT nothing could have prepared Rafa for the joke that is Newcastle United.

Obviously, like any other normal Newcastle fan who has a brain, I am desperate for Rafa Benitez to stay at the club, he is our only hope.

People who believed that things were going to be different, the club ran in a whole different way, have had those illusions shattered. Yes Rafa Benitez was allowed to spend over £50m last summer – but only so Mike Ashley could ensure Sports Direct and the rest of his retail empire would once again be getting worldwide free promotion, plus of course the return of Premier League TV riches…plus Rafa made the club £40m transfer profit in the process.

Nothing has changed.

Ashley and his minions continue to try to undermine any decent manager (Hughton, Keegan) that accidentally is employed.

No wonder the owner’s preference is for somebody like Carver, JFK, Pardew or McClaren to be given the title of manager/head coach, so desperate to take the job under any circumstances, not given any responsibility apart from picking the team, putting out whatever PR message Ashley wants, having no say on transfers and most importantly, keeping their gobs shut at all other times unless prompted to by Keith Bishop or one of the other goons who have no official public role at NUFC but who clearly pull the strings on behalf of the owner.

The Mirror say that Rafa Benitez has agreed to be silenced, I wouldn’t be too sure about that.

The Mag – 15 June 2017:

Interesting revelation on Thursday night, with news that Mike Ashley has drafted in somebody at Newcastle United who Lee Charnley has to answer to.

As reported by the Telegraph, Ashley has brought Justin Barnes into St James Park and they say that now Lee Charnley has to run any financial decisions past him.

One of the major reasons for this move is said to be that Mike Ashley has given Barnes the task of trying to persuade potential investors to buy a stake in the club.

The Telegraph say that Ashley believes it unlikely anyone will meet his £400m valuation of the club and so the next best thing would be if Justin Barnes can do deals with people who are willing to buy a part of the football club.

Barnes is a trademark lawyer and was originally in charge of Sports Direct’s brands, which included Dunlop and Slazenger, when the retailer floated in 2007 and was one of five directors who shared a £25m bonus back then.

He stopped being an employee of Sports Direct and other companies linked to them in 2008 – but has continued to work for Mike Ashley (in a kind of Number 10 role…). The Telegraph claim that Justin Barnes isn’t being directly employed by Newcastle United, simply working for Ashley.

Seemingly used by Ashley to try and close/arrange various major business deals, Barnes was reported to have led Ashley’s team that worked on a proposed bid for BHS last year – though Ashley did not bid for BHS in the end.

Justin Barnes was also involved with Sports Direct’s decision to put USC into administration and to then buy the chain back back minus its debts after stripping its assets.

He has also represented Ashley in his dispute with Rangers FC and in June 2016 became a director of Rangers Retail Ltd when Ashley and other Sports Direct representatives resigned from that company.

As usual, with Newcastle United you always feel that the club is only seen by Mike Ashley as a small cog in the overall workings of his empire – best seen maybe by the year on year massive free promotion job NUFC does for Ashley’s retail empire, with no revenue going into the football club.

What the end result of Mike Ashley bringing in Justin Barnes to St James Park will be, remains to be seen.

  • Steve Smith

    With any luck Barnes is there to update Rafa on the sale of the club.

  • toonterrier

    Looks like fatty is trying to force Rafa out. KK episode mark 2. Wouldn’t blame him if he walked and then took his case to the courts. Top class manager and a third rate owner. Where would this club be with the right backing. The only way is down.

  • TheFatController

    You only have to look at Aston Villa, norwich and Sunderland at the weekend to gauge the job Rafa has done at the Club.

    A lot of talk (rightly) is about how we can’t seem to compete with PL clubs below the top 7, but we’d be absolutely cut adrift had someone lesser than Rafa replaced MacLaren.

    But Ashley has learnt form his mistakes. He told us so himself. So when Rafa goes and we become like sunderland and norwich ….

  • Hughie_Gallacher

    I really doubt Rafa will allow himself to be told what to do by Ashley’s twopence halfpenny lackeys.

  • steve

    So now that the Mirror publish a story which agrees with your agenda it suddenly becomes trustworthy?

    • Leazes Ender

      Simon Bird was the only Journalist in the United pack to buy shares in SD in order to question Ashley at the AGM….. yes he’s on our side.

  • Rich Lawson

    Pathetic,this is not how you run a football club,the owner and manager should have regular meetings on a 1-1 basis,not over the phone either.My take on the solicitor being present would be to remind Rafa there is a £5mil penalty clause if he walks

  • TwinFire

    Well, at least we all had Saturday and Sunday to enjoy – that winning premier league feeling! It was awesome. Credit to the team and Rafa, as well as the fans backing. Even the sun was out on a bank holiday!

    May have been a dream though as reality has just come crashing back down. We are now in a position were Rafa could leave any day. What a shambles. If Rafa does leave, only if he leaves because of this nonsense owner, then that stadium needs to be empty every game thereafter. I truly hope that never comes to pass as it would make me sick, but this owner simply wont stop ruining this club and its the only way to get rid of him.

    • lukegte

      An empty stadium would be a beautiful thing to see on Sky. I find it a little tedious seeing people with zero understanding say “you’ve got to get behind the lads”. Na. You’ve got to take a step back, analyse the situation and get behind the club as a whole. Fact is, it’ll always be like this with Mike in charge. As it stands NUFC exists solely as a money making part of his business empire. A means for him to advertise his business for free. An empty shell of a football club. And the way he uses the general media depiction of us, the fans, as deluded, clamorous and insatiable is despicable. If it gets him out, a temporarily empty stadium is a small price to pay. I’d even be content if it meant another relegation.

      • Phildene

        Couldn’t agree more mate and well said

  • Guest 2

    Bishop and Barnes – both SD employees.

    “Barnes has since been instrumental in a number of contentious Sports Direct deals — overseeing the collapse of its fashion subsidiary USC in 2015; leading an attempt to buy BHS from Dominic Chappell last year, and joining the board of Rangers’ merchandising business during Ashley’s tussle for control of the Scottish football club. He set up Barlin Delivery, a company owned by Ashley’s brother John. Barlin is estimated to make £300,000-a-year profit from Sports Direct’s online orders — even though it simply uses couriers to handle parcels.”

    • Leazes Ender

      He seems to invent executive jobs for his family which cost him more money… there is also his son in law looking after properties…..

      Its a good job he doesn’t have to report back to shareholders…. except for SD shareholders that is…..

  • Steve Pearce

    I’d like to have two of my “minions” pay Mike Ashley a visit – but one is gibbering in a secure unit after spontaneously decapitating people with his teeth and the other is roaming the Roman Wall in full legionary’s kit telling terrified tourists that he his Hadrian and they’d all better sod off his wall…

    • Hughie_Gallacher

      I fear that would be too conciliatory. I have fantasized for years about getting him involved in an extended session of power drinking. Whilst he is unconscious, I would dress him in a West Ham shirt and take him down to the Den for a home game, where we would leave him to the tender mercies of the Millwall lions.

      • Rich Lawson

        Brilliant,but you’d have to bet on him waking up and buying them all a drink before flogging them shirts !

        • Hughie_Gallacher

          True. I would just be interested in saving my sorry ass, while he would have his eye on a business opportunity.

          Only one of the many ways Pudgy and I differ.

  • Thefootballerwhocouldfly

    Ashley deliberately undermines Rafa. For what purpose….? To lower the expectations of fans, ‘push’ Rafa out. (Beardsley to be our next’Yes’ manager) ?! and make further profit from the club. An ambitious 17th place beckons.
    Careful what you wish for Christmas Mike…..the fans see you for what your are.

    • Leazes Ender

      He’s pushing Rafa out by the sound of things.

      • Jezza

        I think Ashley has been looking for a way to force Rafa out ever since 22nd December last year.

        • Jimblag23

          Cos he didn’t get a xmas card?

          • Jezza

            No because that was the day that Ashley’s perfect man for the job suddenly became available.

  • Desree

    Why was Lee Charnley there?

    • Guest 2

      Why were Barnes and Bishop? They aren’t club employees nor Directors!

      • Geordie-7676

        ‘Consultants’ are not required to be directly employed.

        • Guest 2

          How can another company’s employees also be consultants?

          • Geordie-7676

            How can they not?

          • Guest 2

            Was a question – requiring an answer not another question.

            More SD nonsense with internal NUFC business.

          • Geordie-7676

            Fair enough, i took it as more of a satirical question than an actual one.

            Consultants are 99% of the time outsourced, its the whole point to have a subjective view.

            The fact that they work with Ashley elsewhere is completely irrelevant. They are commissioned to act on behalf of his interests

            I am a security consultant. When i work with my client’s i don’t become a direct employee…..I work for my company, on behalf of the client.

            It is very rare that you will find a consultant directly employed with a company to work as a consultant.

          • Leazes Ender

            Are you David or Kevin?

          • Guest 2

            I presume you act in the client’s interest therefore, not your company’s? The client also presents a contract of work.

            How can two of his long standing SD buddies be acting in anything but the best interests of Ashley, instead of NUFC? Ashley remains the client, not the club.

          • Geordie-7676

            I work in the client’s interest of course, which directly reflects my companies interests (reputation, standard of service etc). The contract of works is applicable to my company, not myself specifically.

            I don’t want to sound like i am supporting Ashley in any of this, because i most definitely am not, but, by acting in Ashley’s best interests, hypothetically, that directly affects the interests of the club. It just so happens that his opinion of the clubs best interests and ours are very different.

            He is going about in completely the wrong way, but again, hypothetically, it is a very common practice that is utilised by many, and more often than not it works to the organisations benefit.

          • Guest 2

            Well mate, I certainly won’t argue that anything he does is solely in order to benefit himself.

          • Geordie-7676

            True….what i think is important to remember though is not to pick and choose when it suits us as to his best interests.

            If he ploughed a ton of money in to the club and we won the league, in regards to his best interests it would be no different to what it is now. The only difference is the positive affect it would have on us.

          • Guest 2

            What exactly is there to pick from?

            If he did what you suggested of course it would be different to now – for him and us.

            More revenue from prize money, tv, euro competition, raising of brand awareness and most likely greater commercial opportunities. You know, all the things he keeps saying he is interested in but never does anything about.

            We on the other hand would have all we seek. A football club and team which tries to be the best it can, on and of the field.

          • Geordie-7676

            Unfortunately mate, i don’t think he will ever have the same aspirations as us. I suppose the only saving grace is the club will be around long after he has gone.

            I personally think that the only reason he has restricted Rafa in the transfer window is because the club is firmly in the shop window, and he is trying to protect his current investment.

            If your trying to sell your car and you know that your tyres are running a bit low on tread, but it will still pass its MOT, you dont throw the new tyres on if you cant guarantee your going to be able to add that cost to the price your selling at.

            He wants 250-300 million for the club…..if he spends a additional 50 this window he isnt going to be able to increase the asking price to 350.

            I think he will be away before the end of next year. I just hope we are still in the PL at that point.

          • Guest 2

            I agree with you there. That said, the belief he is putting anything of his own in is no longer relevant.
            The last ‘loans’ made to the club where through the parent company, not him personally. He didn’t mind 33 million extra either when 18 of it went straight back to him.
            I doubt any investor will be found as I just fail to believe anyone would want to work with the bloke, especially with him still in majority.
            If a sale happens I think we’ll wake up one day to the news, out the blue.

          • Geordie-7676

            I heard (not through a very credible source, but does have ties to the inner workings of the club) that when looking for the new sponsors, there were better options financially available, but Ashley chose to stick to the Chinese market as he thinks that is his best bet to find a full buyer.

            He wants out, that much is clear. Like you, i think he would struggle to find anyone willing to work with him.

        • Leazes Ender

          Neither are ‘heavies’….. they’re not consulting are they, I can’t imagine Rafa needs their help for anything.

          • Geordie-7676

            I completely agree. If anyone asked though that would probably be his answer to why they were involved.

            Trust me, i am not defending it or saying its right, far from it, just answering the actual question.

      • Biggs Darklighter

        This is the main point, The club is a headless chicken.

    • East Durham Mag

      In case anyone fancied a cup of tea.

    • Biggs Darklighter

      To put the kettle on, and jot down some notes

  • Alan Pardew

    I am hoping the owner is starting to get a little bit more respect. I don’t think we are ever going to win everybody over for Mike and Derek and maybe even myself, but at least you can logically look at it and say we are in a much better position than most Premier League clubs in terms of our financial position.

    • East Durham Mag

      How does he deserve anything other than contempt?

  • Paul Patterson

    Rafa, if you choose to leave you will have our wholehearted support and best wishes. You deserve far better than this shower..

  • Guest 2

    The story makes no sense at all. Who is it meant to appeal to or resonate with? Clearly not supporters – and any possible investor/s must be horrified by more examples of Ashley’s business style and his goons behaviour.
    Could you imagine sinking 150/200 million into a partnership with fatty? Hahaha! Nah, I don’t think anyone would be that stupid.

    • Leazes Ender

      Who was the PR stunt aimed at?…. Benitez…… Ashley looks like a coward and is using media and henchmen to push him out….. you don’t need a ‘trophy manager’ to run this squad.

      • Barney

        Maybe its a fake exclusive by Mirror I guess..just to sell copies by or restarting the negativity stint that was surrounding the club

        • Leazes Ender

          What did Ashley hire these people for in the first place?

      • Guest 2

        Still doesn’t make sense. Rafa knows he has the support on side and therefore this story means nowt to us.

        In fact it just gets our backs up further and confirms it’s business as usual from fatty. Unless as you say, it’s designed to p him off so he walks or gets the Hammers to buy out his clause.

        For sure, Ashley would rip their hands off for 6 mil.

        • Leazes Ender

          Rafa has fans on-side…… but remember what Ashleys hobby is…… annoying the fans.

  • Ram kishore

    No one wants to unsettle the club by selling Gayle.. Mirror gave another fake exclusive just like many of what chronicle says..chronicle is way better I guess

    • Jimblag23

      I’d sell Gayle for £20m no problem.
      As long as its reinvested. Who’s trying to buy him?

  • Phildene

    Sorry but I don’t believe a word of this. Yes there may have been a meeting of some kind but I doubt very much would anyone talk to Rafa about this or in this unprofessional way. Simon Bird is known for stirring it up and should not be the journo who does our articles. He’s the one who said Kennedy had signed,the same with Charlie Austin a while back. He talks rubbish and is plainly instigating the transfer matter. Ignore it.

    • Guest 2

      Bird was always chasing down Ashley in the past. He’s either sold out or the Mirror is up to shenanigans.

      • Phildene

        Mirror up to shenanigans probs right Guest 2 and how does Simon Bird know about this, was he actually there? Sh3te stirring as usual when we’ve had a good result.

        • Guest 2

          Doubt he was there – which means Bishop gave this version.

  • East Durham Mag

    I hope it’s fake news. I can’t imagine Rafa allowing anyone to speak to him in that manner. However I can readily believe that the Fat Oaf could and would stoop to any level to achieve his agenda. Let’s face it he surrounds himself with flunkies and ar$e lickers and seemingly will not tolerate any dissent.

    • Guest 2

      Surrounds himself with people who are as atrocious as he is. Like Hitler, flanked by Goebbels and Himmler!

      • Peaky Magpie

        Spot on there,and king puppet Moncur has gone right down in my estimations.

  • The press again enjoying stirring the cauldron.

    • Leazes Ender

      I wish we had some enquiring journalists to blow the lid off the cauldron.

      • Thefootballerwhocouldfly

        Luke Edwards?

        • Leazes Ender

          Great guy, so is Simon Bird

      • hetonmag

        Second that.

      • East Durham Mag

        Ashley will only be interviewed by sympathetic journalists or interviewers like David Craig who will not ask uncomfortable questions.

  • GToon

    If a meeting did take place then anything other than an apology to Rafa and more funds being released would be asking for trouble. If Rafa does leave then I think there could be quite a lot of unrest at SJP…….

    • Guest 2

      Probably the thought of the Hammers forking out 6 mil for Rafa has fatty drooling.

      • Wor Lass

        That`s a good point – quite likely the actual meeting was assuring Rafa that money will be available this week but to save face they get a piece written saying they`ve sorted him out.

        • Biggs Darklighter

          I think it’s more likely they are trying to sell Rafa to the hammers

  • Wor Lass

    Rafa`s not shy of using his old mates in the press to run stories having a go at Ashley. What he needs to realise is that Ashley thrives on that sort of stuff and also won`t change tack – unless it`s to become even more intransigent. There`s nothing he loves more than a bit of controversy and legal argy-bargy and he`s got more money than Rafa to keep it going. Rafa`s best bet now is to either walk away and sue for constructive dismissal or knuckle down to the job in hand (which he does all the time) for the sake of the fans, the players and his own pride. As far as Gayle`s concerned, if we could get £20 million for him tomorrow I`d take it. He`s only going to be available now and again.

    • Leazes Ender

      Do you think Ashley needs a ‘trophy manager’?

      • MichaelMaximusMoose


        • Jezza

          Ashley would much prefer a puppet to a trophy manager.

      • Wor Lass

        I`d love to give Ashley what he needs but, sadly, I`ll never get the chance.

        • Biggs Darklighter

          I’d love to see him stood in the middle of the pitch and a pitch invasion of 50,000 ensue. The tyrant would be mince.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Bet Rafa was Bricking it, Not !

  • Peaky Magpie

    Love to know what Moncur is saying to Lardy on the photo up top ? And more worryingly where’s his left hand ???

  • Leicester Mag

    So. World class former Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid manager, champions league winner agrees he’s been a naughty boy after telling off from three corporate clowns? Pathetic attempt yet again to undermine. As for the role of the Mirror this is sharp becoming as much a dispicable rag as the Sun.

    • Biggs Darklighter

      The mirror is miles below the Sun in terms of integrity. Anyone buying the mirror is a simpleton.

  • magpiefifer

    If there is any truth in this ‘meeting’ it will probably be the beginning of the end of Rafa as NUFC manager.
    Ashley is a creature of habit,and that is to get rid of managers/coaches who are more popular with the fans than the odious shopkeeper – Keegan,Hughton,Shearer and Benitez.
    It’ll be interesting to see what happens up until Thursday night – and beyond!

    • nevfur

      Jimmy Saville would be more popular than Ashley.

      • Biggs Darklighter

        I’d rather have a mackem than Ashley

  • Toonsmudge

    Stick a tenner on Fat Sam being next manager. Clearly the fat controller wants rid of Rafa, I can’t see it any other way.

    • Jezza

      It won’t be Fat Sham, it’ll be another manager who has previously had the job under Ashley.

      • Soldier


        • Jimblag23

          I’d actually prefer pards to hippo face.
          Grim though it would be.

    • 1957

      My thoughts too. The fact Ashley made a point of saying he removed Big Sham too soon in his interview sounded like preparing the ground to me. Sham may have stated his time as a club manager was over but given the opportunity, he’d be back here in a shot.

      • Biggs Darklighter

        That was the worst football I have ever witnessed at st James. Fat Sam’s brand of football was even worse than Charver’s

  • Soldier

    So he wants Rafa to keep quiet, what`s Ashley going to do sack him.
    Rafa`s got the upper hand in the PR stakes

    • magpiefifer

      Ashley will be hoping that another club (West Ham?) will come in for Rafa and cross the megalomaniac’s hand with many pieces of silver – and avoid a big pay-off!
      Sound familiar!?

  • Mal

    An interesting piece on .com which draws attention to a similar occasion when KK was manager and a meeting took place with a similar outcome. KK resigned a few weeks later. Hopefully history won’t repeat itself.

    • Biggs Darklighter

      It is heading in that direction. It is as if Ashley is at Newcastle to deliberately prevent us being successful.

  • Kneebotherm8

    Eveything will be a lot clearer by Friday morning.

    • Biggs Darklighter

      Everything has been quite clear for ten years. Net spend on transfers is £0 and net contribution by sports direct for advertising is around -£30 million.

      • Kneebotherm8

        Totally agree about the last 10 disgraceful years,but things will be a lot clearer for Rafa on Friday morning. He’s already been [email protected] upon in the last transfer window,will the same happen in this one (probably yes)? If he is, then it doesn’t bode well for his future commitment to the club.

  • Desree

    We will know if it is true when after no further signings are made (and Gayle is sold) rafa utters

    “We couldn’t get them signings across the line”

    • Biggs Darklighter

      It is more likely this ‘sale of gale’ story is to stop us supporters ‘moaning’ at lack of signings. It is a pro-Ashley move to lower supporters expectations.

  • Andy Mac

    I’m not sure if anyone has mentioned we should be supporting Rafa against the Dark Side right now. I know many dont have the stomach for a fight but Fatman needs to know that if Rafa goes he’s next.

    No more fans in the ground, no more funds from PL football no more anything. If Rafa goes we should all go.