Things are now getting very messy with Rafa Benitez and Mike Ashley.

The Newcastle manager chose to keep his counsel throughout the summer, despite his transfer targets not being signed after he had personally ensured deals just needed to be signed off by Mike Ashley and his minions.

It was only last month, when the squad were in Ireland for their pre-season training camp, that Rafa Benitez felt he had to make clear what the situation was with Newcastle United and this summer transfer market.

Rafa Benitez – 17 July 2017:

“We are working very hard and trying to get as close as possible to some signings.

“When I had the meeting with Mike Ashley (in May) I was confident that after that meeting we have the money available and the wages.

“Everything is in place to move forward.

“Hopefully, Mike Ashley can keep his word and we can do what we want to do.”

These past four weeks have then seen Rafa increasingly return to this subject, to make clear, often in a subtle way…sometimes not, that Ashley’s promises had not been kept as yet. The United boss making clear that transfers he had set up, such as free agent Caballero and loan deal Tammy Abraham, had failed due to the club hierarchy.

Rafa has stated he is desperate for another quality striker and a first choice new number one experienced keeper, amongst other essential signings needed, but we reach the season kick off today and still those Ashley promises haven’t been kept.

On Friday at his pre-Spurs press conference, Rafa Benitez made clear he isn’t going to let it drop whilst this transfer window is still open, repeating yet again that he is being tasked to do a job at the club with both hands tied behind his back, as Ashley and his minions undermine him.

Following Rafa’s Friday update, Mike Ashley and his PR people timed the release  of quotes which once again were clearly aimed at undermining the manager’s position.

The quotes clearly trying to make it appear that Rafa Benitez and indeed the fans, are expecting the impossible, that it is totally unreasonable what is being  asked of Mike Ashley when it comes to expectations of supporting Rafa and his squad financially.

Mike Ashley interviewed and saying he can’t just hand Rafa £150m, that he can’t finance £200m Neymar level deals.

The reality of course is that Newcastle have a net spend of just £17m this summer, way below the likes of even Huddersfield’s that currently have a net spend more than twice (£38m) that of Newcastle.

Rafa was expecting to sign free agent Willy Caballero and loan player Tammy Abraham, not outbid PSG for Neymar.

The whole thing stinks.

Good for Rafa Benitez that he hasn’t taken Mike Ashley’s conniving ways lying down, instead the United boss has come out fighting, laying out what is the reality.

Whilst Ashley wants to make out that Rafa and the fans are being so unrealistic, Benitez has calmly answered back, saying ‘We were not demanding crazy things’.

Exposing Mike Ashley for what he is and the dismal way he runs Newcastle United, Rafa added ‘We were demanding to do things in the right way…’ just as he and his coaching team have operated at ‘all the other clubs’ where he has managed in the past, ‘with a professional staff all working together’.

The only real positive in all of this is that Rafa Benitez is prepared to stick it out because of the fans, his family and players who have come to Newcastle because he persuaded them to.

Rafa Benitez says ‘This summer I was expecting other things’ and sums up what we are all feeling.

It is just a ridiculous situation that Newcastle United were lucky enough to have a manager like Rafa Benitez approach them after their latest not good enough yes man, Steve McClaren, had been sacked after helping to put the team/club in a disastrous state.

This summer is sadly the final proof and the latest Mike Ashley interview rubber stamps that, the NUFC owner is determined not to run the club in a fit and proper way and isn’t even interested in trying to support and keep a world class manager who has fallen into his lap.

Rafa Benitez 12 August 2017:

“We were not demanding crazy things.

“We were demanding to do things in the right way…like we did with Liverpool, with Chelsea and all the other clubs (I have managed).

“With a professional staff all working together.

“This summer I was expecting other things, but okay we don’t have those things, so now we have to move forward and I will do my best.

“Am I happy with what was going on in the summer? No, I think that we can improve and we can compete and do the right things.’

“What we have at Newcastle, which is different to other Premier League clubs, is the city.

“We have a city behind us – 52,000 every game, a good stadium and everybody is there.

“But what we could do, to save some money, we didn’t do it and now we are in a worse position.

“But still, I have confidence that we can compete. One thing we have and which I said last year and in the end I was right: we will compete until the end.’

“I had two or three players, who came here because of me, they wanted to come here because of me and I couldn’t let them down.

“As you know, my family is in England and I decided to come to a massive club, with potential.”

  • Brian Standen

    Tammy Abraham wanted 120k a week! I’m pleased we did not get him , just another greedy UNPROVEN player !

    • Martin Rooney

      Exactly people are upset missing out on a player who can’t tie Gayle’s boots. Isn’t he supposed to be looking to improve our squad not Chelsea’s youth team

      • Kneebotherm8

        He scored as many goals as Gayle last year for Bristol City,if Rafa wanted him he should have been signed.

    • Soldier

      you got that in writing ?

      • Brian Standen

        No of course not but it was no great secret, I would further argue he is worth less than half that in wages anyway!

        We are going to hear more Ashley lies today, can’t compete, no money in the pot, yet as pointed out in a comment above there is half a billion sloshing about which he uses when it suits him, NUFC simply does not suit Ashley and never has!
        As long as Rafa is here we have hope, if he walks that I’m afraid will be that!
        Today however is all about football and I firmly believe a ramped up SJP can help us get a result against Spurs!
        Mixed emotions all round with the politics that always surround NUFC!

      • anyobrien

        It was reported just the other day his wages were an excess of 120k and that chelsea demanded he starts.

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          Official figure they are paying his full salary ie £50,000 a week

        • Pelican

          Not likely is it. Loic Remy (currently) & Ba did not even earn that, and they were senior players in the first team squad.

    • Kneebotherm8

      He’s as proven as Dwight Gayle in the championship.

  • Zin

    Ashley did this to Keegan, Shearer and now Rafa.

    • Leicester Mag

      Indeed Fat hog day over and over again

  • Leicester Mag

    Sadly this looks set on a collision course. Almost a carbon copy of the Keegan saga. What then? I’m sure Ashley won’t sack Rafa he’ll simply not stand in his way when frustrated Rafa walks. I’d like to be wrong, history says otherwise. At Newcastle self harming seems unavoidable. Never fathom why this has to be so.

    • Leazes Ender

      Oh yes!

  • TheFatController

    There are two ways people can go when at NUFC, I’m sure everyone will recognize these patterns and can match up every successful and unsuccessful employee at any level of the club over the years;-

    1 those that recognize the importance of having the support onside, always recognizing its strengths whilst cajoling it away from pessimism and being judgemental in the heat of matches, understanding but then diffusing knee jerk reactions or any signs of growing discontent by pointing out positives and working together for a common goal

    2 those that easily feel victims in life and quickly take personally the highly passionate views and emotions of the supporters,unable to accept fair criticism and never letting go unfair criticism (criticisms that really just ‘go with the job’of anyone in football – just ask Arsene Wenger)

    Now, when we see the Ashley interview tonight, will he come across like the Keegans, rob lees, Ferdinands, supermacs, Bartons, Solanos, Benitezs, being full of praise for the unique supporters, or will he play victim to yet another aspect of his empire that dare to not see everything in life as he does …?

    Sports Direct employees, politicians, nufc supporters / legends, they just don’t get Mike and his ways. Funny that…

  • Leazes Ender

    Today we are going to be treated to a rare interview by our esteemed rotund owner, he will go before Sky cameras with his favoured friend and Sky Journalist reporter to Lie his head off to the audience.

    He will say stuff like ‘all of my wealth is tied up in shares’ which is a downright porkie…

    United’s parent Company is MASH holdings ltd. and it has over £523m in reddies sloshing about. Ashley uses this account when he wants to take over failing businesses.

    Ashley doesn’t say much to anyone, yet he chose to do an interview with Sky before speaking to his manager.

    Another season has been wiped from the face of history……


    Twirl your scarves and wave your flags, Ashleys dosh is in brown paper bags. as he buys up bits of the High Street like squares on a Monopoly Board.

    There are lies, and there are Ashley lies…..

    …. he doesn’t sweat much for a fat lad.

    • TheNutJob

      he`s got a couple of big mansions, takes a lot of wallpaper. the guys as bent as a dogs hind leg

  • TheNutJob

    today`s the day then, the real players arrive in town & will sort the men from the boys, no second class opposition like pre season
    i`d take a draw now

  • anyobrien

    To leazes ender, soldier, Leicester mag and mickey mouse try and enjoy your day at the match today?
    Forget the politics and back the team.

    • Leazes Ender

      I’ve got to kick Standens heed kin first.

      • anyobrien


        • Leazes Ender

          He’s invited me to a scrap High Noon in Sgt Peppers.

          • Brian Standen

            Speak sanity – your words and I quote were……. you wanted to see me under the SBR statue for a WORD!
            I told you exactly where I will be if you wanted that word.
            Nothing you say or do will make me change my beer plans!
            Of course you have unfair advantage- hiding behind an alias and sunglasses!
            Not even you will rain on our parade today – I will take great pleasure in rubbing your nose in it WHEN we beat Spurs todsy!

          • TheFatController

            Is that him behind the sunglasses. I always thought it was Imelda Marcos ?

          • GToon

            The one with all the shoes! Hahaha

          • GToon

            Brian! Relax, it’s all just a bit of a laugh. You probably have more heated discussions with your family about NUFC than people on here. Hope you enjoy the game.

          • Brian Standen

            I’m always chilled , but your right !

          • hetonmag

            It isn’t like you Brian to get involved with him, anyway enjoy the game and let’s all hope for a result. And start writing about your away days it beats the doom that’s associated with this forum please.

          • Brian Standen

            Your right. But I can debate with anyone, matters not cos I’m in and all quiet

      • Brian Standen

        Look forward to it. Told you where I will be! And I have a first name – unlike you!

        • Damon Horner

          Be careful mate. You can see how dangerous he can be with a keyboard!

    • TheFatController

      What should be remembered is that the higher up the league Rafa gets us, the more valuable the club to investors, which means the higher the bids, which means the sooner Ashley can walk away with a profit

      No investors came near us last year – not surprisingly. Secure in the PL is when we are most saleable.

      Losing and struggling keep Ashley here longer. Back the team…

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        Fatso`s made the club Toxic & a laughing stock

      • Guest 2

        Yet he allegedly dissed a 400 million offer in Dubai back in 2008, proving position means nothing to him.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      I always back the team, but i don`t stand by & condone what Fatty`s doing like so many happy clappers.

      • nevfur

        Not everyone if anyone still going agrees with Ashley just like everyone not going isn’t just a gobs***e

        • Geordiegiants

          Yeah but everyone that goes finances his way of running Newcastle.

          • nevfur

            True but they did the same with the much maligned Shepherd, McKeag and Seymour junior. Until a feasible fan ownership scheme comes along, probably long after I’m gone, the alternatives are limited if you are born black n white. The happy claps will remain for the manager, players and club and not for the owners we are constantly stuck with

    • Leicester Mag

      Despite living near Leicester I kept my season ticket for close to 20 years after moving away. Even after that sentiment has meant attending many away games since. Until Ashley leaves or starts to run the club as a football club again I won’t step foot in St James Park. Sad as that makes me I feel. Unfettered he will kill this club.

    • Brian Standen

      well said

  • John

    This is all very undermining and creating a lot of negative feeling from Ashley I hope the result today is good or else we really will be in the midst of a sh-itstorm.

  • wheyayeman

    What have we done to have this clown crushing the heart out of this now souless club. Rafa is a total hero – he’s been screwed in exactly the same way Keegan was but he wants to see Ashley out, sadly that most likely won’t happen. I remember when Ashley arrived he said he would be prepared to put some of his own money into the club every season obviously that was just bullsh#t. In any case the sums simply do not add up, we are in the top 25 wealthiest clubs on the planet and we can’t sign off on loan deals ?!!! We need to find a united way of forcing him out or forcing him to sell. Set a friggin price Ashley ! I’m sure there’s a billionaire with a heart and a vision to take this club back to the Champions League.

  • Wor Lass

    “The United boss making clear that transfers he had set up, such as free agent Caballero and loan deal Tammy Abraham, had failed due to the club hierarchy.” I don`t think it`s clear at all. Abraham (and Chelsea) in particular was making ridiculous financial demands and wanted guarantees of starting.It looks to me like HE chose Swansea rather than us for hiss own reasons.

    • Leazes Ender

      His own reason were ….. he’d met Charnley.

      • Geordiegiants

        More than likely part of the reason.

      • Wor Lass

        I like my “deliberate” mistake (not) – hiss own reasons as in “boo, hiss”.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      he was subbed yesterday

    • Guest 2

      Hierarchy. And yesterday fatty was telling Sky that Penfold reports to Rafa. Yeah, right.

  • Geordiegiants

    I personally am not that bothered that we don’t have a billionaire benefactor. I just want to see the club run properly. If it was ran in a professional way, so that all commercial streams are geared towards the club, and every effort is made to improve the club, from board room to playing staff, we have the foundations of a top ten side easily. With Rafa here we could win a trophy here and there. I don’t think I’m alone in expecting at least the minimum, which has nothing to do with challenging City in financial terms.

    • Guest 2

      “I personally am not that bothered that we don’t have a billionaire benefactor”
      Err, what? He’s worth 2.1 billion at least! What we have is the worst of both worlds. Won’t supply his own cash and utterly failed to build NUFC commercially – indeed he hasn’t even bothered, preferring to benefit SD instead.

      • Geordiegiants

        Yeah but he isn’t a benefactor is he!

        • Guest 2

          Benny-Fatter rather. Quite a few posters believe his ‘loans’ prove his benefactor status.

          • Geordiegiants

            Benny Hill factor more like. Comedy gold for the Mackems, unfortunately us living it everyday don’t see the funny side.

    • Toonrobbybobson

      Agreed but that involves an owner running things properly without milking free advertising for a decade via sports direct which cripples the club.

      Ashleys interview is PR manufacturing at its best. Skysports should be ashamed of themselves for rolling over and not challenging him.

    • Zin

      Well said mate, I would rather have a skint owner giving his all for the club than this parasite using the club as a advertising vehicle

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Match day 1,
    the boys will fight & the tactics will be right. can endeavour overcome quality
    Lets hope so !

    • Leazes Ender

      Have you put a bet on?

      • MichaelMaximusMoose


  • Toonrobbybobson

    It may be wishful thinking but Rafa and our boys could be fired up today.

  • Albert Stubbins

    Expect another forty mill getting spent before end of window. Ashley And Rafa have played a blinder.

    • GToon

      That’s the only time I’ve laughed all day mate!!!

      • Albert Stubbins

        You heard it here first. Its a master stroke to avoid paying top dollar. Mark my Word😋

  • Ian

    Well Ashley thought he was probably buying spurs instead brought Newcastle and try and turn it into
    Newcockycastle he will destroy this club

  • mactoon

    I’ll stress this again. Ashley put a transfer budget figure in front of Rafa and he was happy with it. He was told he could spend it on one player or many player so deals were put in place and the names handed to Charnley who was simply unable to get the deals done. Only one person to blame for this mess in my opinion. Charnley

  • Toon Army AZ

    It’s weird that Ashley won’t meet face-to-face with Rafa to work this out like a real man. His one-sided interview with Sky is very Trumpian. Should we expect Ashley to take to Twitter next?

  • Mark G Walker

    We mustn’t lose site of the fact its very difficult to persuade players (wife’s, girlfriends etc..) to make the move to the north east. Its more appealing for average to above average players to go “under the radar” playing for the likes of Bournemouth or Watford every week. Had Newcastle been based in the north west or the south east i believe Rafa would have had 3 or 4 more key signings by now irrespective of the transfer budget..