Like many football fans I spent most of 31st August glued to Sky Sports news for updates on the final day of this most recent of transfer windows.
I started the day with hope of at least two new faces through the doors at St James Park.
Rafa himself had been quoted as saying he would even hope for three of four – but realistically expected two new faces.
This was after all a team on the rise, back from The Championship at the first time of asking and as Champions, with a world class Manager running every football related detail at the club. Rafa kept his side of the bargain moving on players and making space in the squad, as well as on the wage bill.
I watched expecting news of arrivals, instead it was the same old story. Excitement and expectation turning into disappointment. But should it really be a surprise?
I started to look at every transfer window in the Ashley era to date, for this purpose I have listed the windows for the past five years – 11 transfer windows.
Following a time where Newcastle United had just beaten Chelsea to a 5th place finish in the Premier League, at the same time Bournemouth had just finished 11th in League One, with Southampton 2nd, Leicester 9th, Watford 11th, Burnley 13th and Crystal Palace 17th in The Championship.
These are all clubs who have spent more than we have in recent windows, these are all teams who know they cannot compete with Man City, Chelsea, Man United etc… However, they know what to do to survive in the Premier League and back their Manager to do so.
Bournemouth sign a defender for £20m, Southampton hang onto a defender with a £50m price tag, Leicester hang onto a star winger despite his desire to move on, Watford spend £18m on a striker, Burnley spend £15m on a striker, Crystal Palace sign a defender for £25m…
We’ve made mistakes; Fraser Forster allowed to leave for £2m, not strengthening in summer 2012.
Cabella, Riviere, Thauvin – long contracts for average French players.
we have also some business to be proud of; £30m for Sissoko, £3m for Best, £12m for Debuchy.
My overall thoughts are that in 5 years a positive net spend of £74 million tells its own story, only made worse by the fact Steve McClaren spent £75,000,000 across his two windows and Rafa has still made a profit on his transfer dealings of £10,000,000 across his two windows…..
WHAT COULD RAFA BENITEZ DO WITH A £75,000,000 NET TRANSFER BUDGET OVER TWO PREMIER LEAGUE WINDOWS????
So I hear you saying you can’t compete Mr Ashley, I hear you saying that you are not a wealthy man… but this business of yours, which I affectionately know as Newcastle United, needs to back Rafa Benitez like it did Steve McClaren!
Ashley transfer window summer 2012 (Net spend £1.7m)
Vurnon Anita (6.7m)
Peter Lovenkrands (free), Fraser Forster (2.0m), Alan Smith (free), Leon Best (3.0m), Danny Guthrie (free)
Ashley transfer window January 2013 (Net spend £11.7m)
Mathieu Debuchy (5.0m), Yoan Gouffran (2.0m), Mapou Yanga Mbwia (6.7m), Saido Haidara (2.5m), Moussa Sissoko (2.0m)
Demba Ba (7.5m)
Ashley transfer window summer 2013 (Net spend -£0.7m)
Loic Remy (loan)
Danny Simpson (free), Steve Harper (free), James Perch (0.7m)
Ashley transfer window January 2014 (Net spend -£18.0m)
Luuk de Jong (loan)
Yohan Cabaye (18.0m)
Ashley transfer window summer 2014 (Net spend £23.0m)
Jamaal Lascelles (4.0m), Karl Darlow (4.0m), Manu Riviere (6.0m), Siem De Jong (6.0m), Jack Colback (free), Remy Cabella (12.0m), Ayoze Perez (3.0m)
Dan Gosling (free), Jamaal Lascelles (loan), Mapou Yanga Mbwia (loan), Hatem Ben Arfa (loan), Karl Darlow (loan), Mathieu Debuchy (12.0m), Shola Ameobi (free)
Ashley transfer window January 2015 (Net spend -£8.0m)
David Santon (3.0m), Mapou Yanga-Mbwia (5.0m), Hatem Ben Arfa (free)
Ashley transfer window summer 2015 (Net spend £46m)
Gigi Wijnaldum (14.5m), Aleksander Mitrovic (13.0m), Chancel Mbemba (7.0m), Florian Thauvin (12.0m)
Remy Cabella (loan), Mike Williamson (0.5m), Jonas Guttierez (free), Ryan Taylor (free)
Ashley transfer window January 2016 (Net spend £29m)
Seydou Doumbia (loan), Andros Townsend (12.0m), Jonjo Shelvey (12.0m), Henri Saivet (5.0m)
Florian Thauvin (loan)
Ashley transfer window summer 2016 (Net spend – £29.3m)
Matz Sels (5.0m), Dwight Gayle (10.0m), Matt Ritchie (12.0m), Jesus Gamez (free), Isaac Hayden (4.0m), Grant Hanley (5.5m), Mo Diame (5.0m), Ciaran Clark (5.0m), DeAndre Yedlin (5.0m), Daryl Murphy (3.0m), Achraf Lazaar (3.0m), Christian Atsu (loan)
Florian Thauvin (loan), Gabriel Obertan (free), Andros Townsend (13.0m), Fabricio Coloccini (free), Steven Taylor (free), Papiss Cisse (5.0m), Manu Riviere (loan), Remy Cabella (6.3m), Moussa Sissoko (30.0m), Gini Wijnaldum (25.0m), Siem De Jong (loan), Daryl Janmaat (7.5m)
Ashley transfer window January 2017 (Net spend £0)
Ashley transfer window summer 2017 (Net spend £18.9m)
Christian Atsu (6.2m), Florian Lejeune (8.7m), Jacob Murphy (12.0m), Javier Manquillo (4.5m), Mikel Merino (loan), Joselu (5.0m)
Tim Krul (loan), Achraaf Lazaar (loan), Grant Hanley (3.5m), Siem De Jong (3.0m), Manu Riviere (free), Daryl Murphy (2.0m), Vurnon Anita (free), Yoan Gouffran (free), Florian Thauvin (9.0m)
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])