Rafa Benitez knows where his strengths lie at St James Park.

There maybe be a certain somebody holding him back as he tries to turn around Newcastle United but Rafa declared after hammering…the Hammers, ‘I think I have some friends in the stands’.

The support for the manager was evident throughout the match and as Newcastle stretched away to a comfortable win which could have been five or six, the United boss heard his name chanted from the stands.

The commitment of Rafa and the fans was matched by the team today and the manager summed it up: ‘We won with everyone trying so hard’.

Rafa Benitez picked out Matt Ritchie for special praise and I would live to know how far he ran this afternoon, the manager saying about the winger ‘the way he works is an example for the others’.

Who knows what lies ahead but if there is this kind of commitment every week, then things could turn out not so bad, though you have to factor in just how poor the visitors were today.

Rafa Benitez post-match:

“We won with everyone trying so hard.

“The fans were crucial last year and they have to be crucial this year, they are trying to help.

“I think I have some friends in the stands.

“I said before that Joselu needed to be fit. He did well, it was a great effort.

Matt Ritchie is an important player and the way he works is an example for the others.

“We will try and bring in players that will give us something different…we know these players.”

“They know exactly what we are talking about in terms of targets – players going out because we have too many, and hopefully we can do this.

“Nothing changed after the first two games, or  the first three games, and nothing has changed now.

“We have a clear idea of what we want to do and we will try to do it.

“I don’t know if we can do everything…but we will try to.

“Normally, whenever you win you are happy.

“In the way we won here and the performances of the players, the connection between players and fans, it makes you very happy!

“It is always nice to win, especially when it is at home.

“Three goals and a clean sheet. Team effort and a lot of good individual performances – really positive.

“The team worked very hard and the fans appreciated that.

“They were behind the players and they can make the difference.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 3 West Ham 0

Goals:

Newcastle: Joselu 36, Clark 72, Mitrovic 86

Possession was West Ham 63% Newcastle 37%

Total shots were  West Ham 8 Newcastle 16

Shots on target were West Ham  3 Newcastle 8

Corners were  West Ham 5 Newcastle 7

Referee: Neil Swarbrick

Newcastle United:

Elliot, Manquillo, Lascelles, Clark, Mbemba, Ritchie (Murphy 88), Hayden (Diame 82), Merino, Atsu, Perez, Joselu (Mitrovic 72)

Unused Subs:

Woodman, Aarons, Gamez, Saivet

Crowd: 52,093

(Read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the win over West Ham HERE)

(To read what Slaven Bilic had to say after the match go HERE)

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



  • Steve Pearce

    Your “Friends in the stands” and indeed beyond are there because they love you Rafa. It’s as simple as that. You are one of the best managers we have ever had and no matter what obstacles the owner’s lack of investment throw up, you surmount them and produce performances like this afternoon’s. It’s a great shame that we cannot find a new owner with such dignity, pride and passion – but we will one day I am sure and then together you will conquer all who come before you.

  • Kneebotherm8

    There’s 4 facets to a successful football club.
    1. The manager
    2. The team
    3. The fans
    4. The owner
    It’s a pity we couldn’t get number 4 on board,if we could then this club could really go places.

    • GToon

      Probably the most perfect statement of our clubs potential you could make.

  • TheNutJob

    It`s a crying shame the Fat Lad doesn`t back Rafa all the way

  • Grahame Johnson

    Today our fans had a proper old school moment, 3 parts of the ground singing different songs at the same time a proper goose bump moment as block v are finding out block u sings as well, my mates are, 50,56,62,61,52,43,and my son 24 today I even did the embarrassing dad dance we sang our hearts out, as my son said I got a bit excited today. The support today from start to finish may just help Rafa to stay, we know what he copes with and is our best manager in ages as it was sang in large and noisy spells TOON-UNITED

    • Little Pedro

      Know what you mean Graham, Gallowgate was deafening this afternoon, could not hear any other stand, just quality , liked the toon/united chant ,went on for about 20 minutes at one point, thought Mbemba /Clark /Lacelles won just about everything in the air , Atso was outstanding as was Ritchie.

      • Grahame Johnson

        I sit in block u just near the singing section I’m proud of the lads and lasses who moved there they are a credit to our history and are making their notch along side sections from the 70s,80s,etc. Today a few under 14s who sit around us well and truly found their voice TOON-UNITED will become this seasons rallying call (I hope)

        • Desree

          I am getting goosebumps reading this. Amazing support. Confirmation that the grubs who come on here sniding Rafa are not supporters.

    • Brian Standen

      Absolutely brilliant comment, and to think some fools on here were blaming Rafa last week! The guy gets NUFC, and our fans get him! Proper old style support todsy!

  • Kneebotherm8

    Some friends in the stands,Rafa? that’s a slight understatement.

  • anyobrien

    I think I’ll keep away more often great result and performance from what I’ve read and heard.
    Why can’t fatty see what he could have with a bit more investment the idiot.. Ktf

  • Desree

    Rafa is just a great human being. I love how much the guy cares about our club.

  • Toonrobbybobson

    The fatman really doesnt know what he has under his nose. He’ll regret it when he breaks it up.

    But what a game. Im proud of our fans so fsr this season. They understand and are being patient. They realise how much Rafa is having to contend with and staying with the team through thick and thin supporting them the best way by positive chanting. Great to see some of the old characteristics of our great fans come through.

    Thought they players showed unity today instead of the mercenaries that West Ham claerly are. We are all a family at the toon minus the ownership.

    After so much under slating before theyve even settled in the signings Rafa has made and proving a point. Merino clearly has something yet was slated for being chucked into the deepend after Shelveys stupidity. He proved a point today and with more game time can only get better. I could rattle all the names off today they did us proud.

    A happy Geordie! Love seeing it all left out on the field.

    • Damon Horner

      Ritchie dispossessed Rice and after that it was new signing playing in “new signing” who squared to new signing and then goal.

      I was worried about Merino not being physically ready but today he held his own against a physical side.

    • Wor Lass

      Good post. I noticed that even Lazaar has commented about the atmosphere in the dressing room and the relationship between all the players, saying that they are all “brothers” together.

  • Toonrobbybobson

    By the way. Pundits are too stupid to realise this isnt the toon team of previous where they were coached by the under qualified and fielded players with no heart and soul…

  • Damon Horner

    Rafa has been unhappy lately and very understandably but both the efforts of the players and fans might help in giving him a renewed perspective.

    I know West Ham were poor today but I’m pleased the players proved a bit they’re not the soft touch that even some of our fans assumed they’d be.

  • Leazes Ender

    Rafa doesn’t seem to know what Charnley is capable of….. Ashley knows exactly what he’s capable of…. thats why the incompetent fool is still there.