Tuesday morning has seen an ‘exclusive’, claiming that Mike Ashley is preparing to open talks with Rafa Benitez on a new extended contract.

The story comes from The Times and they state ‘Ashley has also made several overtures to Benitez in the past few weeks’.

However, the ‘exclusive’ has been instantly dismissed by many as a PR stunt, with Luke Edwards just one of those non-believers. He covers north east football for The Telegraph and says ‘The new contract story for Rafa Benitez was dismissed as a public relations move by his (Rafa’s) camp last week’.

Edwards going on to say ‘There has been no offer of a new deal yet’.

Others have pointed out that the Times story hasn’t come from the respected George Caulkin, their man in the north east. George is usually on the ball with any NUFC news but the newspaper’s exclusive has come from Deputy Football Correspondent, Matt Hughes, down in London. Some fans seeing this as the work of Mike Ashley PR goon Keith Bishop (pictured above with his boss) feeding the story to the London based journalist.

This latest tale follows on quickly from another Times exclusive, also by Matt Hughes…, claiming that Mike Ashley was keen to sell the club and prepared to drop the asking price.

The new contract story doesn’t exactly stand up as far as I can see, the last thing Rafa Benitez will be worried about is length of contract and possible pay rise.

He isn’t an Alan Pardew or John Carver who would happily be part of a PR farce claiming mythical eight year contracts, in return for a few extra quid.

Rafa is already one of the best paid in the Premier League and could walk into any number of other jobs if leaving Newcastle.

Instead of meaningless PR stunts, Mike Ashley should be keeping his promises to the manager when it comes to backing in the transfer market, rather than zero spend in January 2017 and only an £11.5m net spend this summer, whilst the likes of Brighton and Huddersfield (who have both beaten Newcastle…) backed their managers with respective net spends of £48m and £43m in this last transfer window.

The Times ‘Exclusive’:

‘Newcastle United are preparing to open talks with Rafa Benítez about a new contract in the hope of improving the manager’s relationship with owner Mike Ashley.

The Spaniard’s contract expires at the end of next season, but after a good start under Benítez on Newcastle’s return to the Premier League this season, the club are planning to initiate negotiations over a longer-term deal.

Ashley has also made several overtures to Benítez in the past few weeks.

Benítez’s response will be governed by what he hears from Ashley regarding his vision for the club during the negotiations, after what proved a difficult summer transfer window, in which the manager was frustrated by a lack of signings and the collapse of several proposed deals.

The 57-year-old even considered resigning at various points because of a lack of backing.’

Luke Edwards of The Telegraph:

“The new contract story for Rafa Benitez was dismissed as public relations move by his camp last week, so interesting it’s been leaked.

“There has been no offer of a new deal yet, no talks have taken place, not entirely sure he wants to sign it even if there were.

“However, there is some desire from the Newcastle United hierarchy to learn if Rafa would be interested in an extension, which will come in due course.”

  • Alex

    Sounds just like an abusive husband begging his wife to stay, having just given her the latest in a long line of black eyes.

    • Rich Lawson

      ”The Manager who walked into doors ”

    • Rich Lawson


  • HappyToons

    Or to sell the club he needs rafa as manager…we can only dream

    • Alex

      In the reverse way, so he could easily keep the club, he gave Pardew an 8-year contract.

  • Steve Pearce

    This is just a cheap diversion tactic to mask the progress of the sale. Obviously Rafa knew about the sale long before anyone else as his managership was a key component in the sales talk, so a contract extension would indicate that he will be here for the long haul. But this is ultimately meaningless as with a new owner that contract would be void. Yet more for you to think about Mr Shearer….

    • Alex

      The contract wouldn’t be ‘void’, but like all in football, it would be hollow and futile.

  • Kneebotherm8

    Quote from above :-
    Benítez’s response will be governed by what he hears from Ashley regarding his vision for the club during the negotiations.

    We’ve heard that one before and Rafa ain’t gonna be suckered by Ashley’s verbal promises again,he’s already been kicked in the proverbials once by Ashley on that score.

    • Jimblag23

      I don’t think hearing Ashley’s “vision” would help with anything, you need guarantees written on a legally binding contract.

  • Peaky Magpie

    Mike Ashley PR Stunt = Geordie rhyming slang for Mike Ashley is a f****** c*** !!!

  • Anita kick up the Hoop

    It’s easier to sell the club with a top class manager tied to a long term contract … that is all this is about

    • Down Under Mag

      Unless the incoming party wants their own man at the helm in which case it may put them off – not that I would know who the hell they could get to come here that is better than who we already have. I still can’t believe he is still here to be honest.

  • Carlo Ancelotti

    under current circumstances Newcastle have more chance of winning the premiership than Rafa signing a new deal

  • Leazes Ender

    Rafa is being duped by the hint of the club being put up for sale…. no spending due to imminent regime change….. we’ve heard it before.

    • Coble’s Return

      Rafa won’t be duped by Ashley. He came into the job with his eyes wide open and he will put up with what he feels he has to for as long as he wants to.
      I rate Benitez extremely highly – as much for his dignity and his loyalty as for his undeniable ability as a coach, but the future success of the club depends more upon the departure of Ashley than it does on Rafa staying. I am certain that Ashley’s capacity to undermine Rafa will exceed the manager’s determination to stay with promise after promise reneged upon. Without the proper backing of an honest owner, we can not hope to compete.

      • Carlo Ancelotti

        He`s been duped twice, once in January and again this summer

  • East Durham Mag

    The only stunt is MA he is a right Cupid Stunt. The man is a lying Shyster and does it all with a smirk.

  • Peter Stabler

    Rafa won’t be fooled, he knows not to believe any words but to learn from what fatty does. There’s a story about a shepherd boy and a wolf somewhere….

    • grantham mag

      The Shepherd boy has just passed away, lets hope the wolf is very soon behind him.