This week has seen a rash of headlines ‘quoting’ Rafa Benitez as being ‘happy’ now at Newcastle.

Well, there is ‘happy’ and then there is…’happy’.

When you read what the United boss has actually said, he is happy about the effort of his players, that’s it.

Rafa Benitez puts it into context, saying ‘you have to be pragmatic’, then adding that ‘this is the group of players that we have and we have to try and improve them’.

The context the manager is giving, is that he is having to make the best of a bad job, having been badly let down in both the January and summer windows this year by Mike Ashley.

His message was the same back at the start of February, showing his anger at the lack of investment in the squad but then declaring that he just had to get on with the job in hand, working with what he had.

The team obviously are working/playing for Rafa but he can’t go on pulling rabbits out of hats, at some time (soon, hopefully) better players, especially in the attacking positions have to arrive at St James Park.

Another thing that the manager has to be happy with, is the number of points (10 from seven games) that his team have accumulated so far.

Against West Ham the three points were definitely deserved, there was nothing in it when Newcastle edged it against Swansea, whilst United should have been out of sight in the first half against Stoke, only to then almost throw it away after the break when the Potters had a series of chances.

The point against Liverpool was invaluable but perfectly presented the current strengths and weaknesses.

The defence is solid and playing very well together, even with a makeshift left-back – Mbemba on this occasion.

Ritchie, Merino and Shelvey all look capable of holding their own in the top tier – but in the other three forward positions it is where Newcastle are struggling, especially through the middle.

Joselu tries but he had wasted that glorious chance until the Liverpool defender kicked it off him to get the point.

Against Stoke everybody laughed afterwards about the three sitters Joselu missed, only because the team still won.

In very difficult tight Premier League matches, Newcastle may only get one massive chance in the whole game, like that Liverpool one, and failing to take it could well be the difference between relegation trouble or not.

Rafa Benitez is clearly very happy with the fans and the attitude of (most of) the players but until things change in the running of the club, it will surely wear even his patience out.

Instead of all the daft PR stunts and using the media in some kind of war of words with his manager, Mike Ashley has to either sell (by far the biggest preference!) or change his ways (you live in hope…).

Give Rafa a realistic budget and let him get on with it, allow him to pick his transfer targets and then get the deals done, as was promised to the manager (and fans) last May.

To have a manager during a transfer window repeatedly saying that he hopes the owner will ‘keep his promises’ is just about as bad as it gets surely, in terms of the message it sends out, particularly when in the end, Ashley clearly didn’t keep the promises he’d made about the summer transfer window.

When Newcastle sign a new obvious first choice striker and number 10, we’ll know at last things have changed and we can all be ‘happy’ that things are moving on, whether that is capable of happening under Mike Ashley remains to be seen.

Rafa Benitez:

“You have to be pragmatic and I know that this is the group of players that we have and we have to try and improve them.

“We are working with them on the pitch – they are working really well.

“We can see some improvements but I still think that we can do better.

“You see how they approach every training session, every game, the commitment of the game and the team spirit.

“You have to be happy because that is what you expect from your players.

“It doesn’t matter what the level of the player, you have to work hard for the team and they’re doing that.”

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  • TheNutJob

    I think he`s far from happy, as for the likes of Joselu wor kid thinks he`s useless as do i

  • Martin

    Mbemba didn’t play LB vs Liverpool?

    • BenMagpie

      This is the Mag…..never spoil a good story by telling the truth……

  • Dutch

    The Mag must be struggling today to come up with factual media information as the latest update is soooo boring. Try something better MAG.

  • tonytoon

    I can’t stand these negative articles which don’t say anything factual and only reflect the writer’s gloomy outlook. This site had been a little better recently but this is harking back to its worst pessimistic days.

    • Toonrobbybobson


    • Damon Horner

      Some of our fans just crave drama and it’s reflected in the writing sometimes. It’s not perfect, but it’s going well, that can be said about most clubs!

  • Damon Horner

    Giving how the club is run, I reckon we’ll have a realistic budget going forward, don’t you worry…
    For a fanbase that’s meant to respect effort we sure complain a lot about transfer budgets and reputations despite what it indirectly says about those in the club that are grafting.

  • Wor Monga

    There’s nothing quite like an international break to spark the Mag’s predictors of gloom and misery ahead into life…2 weeks without seeing the lads and Rafa’s
    not happy about this and that…and relegation could be just over the horizon…give ower…for a start no team that is as bonded together, and working their t!ts off for each other, and as organised (like Rafa has got them now) will (or has) ever be relegated from any league…it’s not gonna happen…

    The crowd can see that and with us behind them the way we are now, we will be very, very hard for most teams to hold at home, and very difficult for most teams to create anything against us away… Joselu, and Ayoze will come good together, up front with the right coaching and with the supply line of Ritchie, Shelvey and Atsu getting to grips and growing in confidence…

    Howay the Lads…Rafa’s here to stay, and the tight’rstbogeyman is on his way!!!

  • steve pearce

    Howay – at least its not another load of boring Graham Porter shyte….

  • Thefootballerwhocouldfly

    Rafa is not happy…..
    If only Ashley could realise the potential of this club and back our manager.
    Rafa will keep us up and be honourably loyal to his contract for his players and the fans.
    It’s highly unlikely the club will be sold as this allows Ashley to advertise his product.

    • Fred

      He is getting more than his money’s worth that’s for sure. If he wastnt he’d have sold up by now.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    The mag website George from the Times and Luke Edwards from the Telegraph hate Newcastle United and like nothing better than causing trouble nothing new it s happened for years the Tory press hate us.

    • Fred

      We could always vote for ‘Our Jeremy’ to nationalise the toon, make it free for everyone at the point of use, borrow more money to buy Ashley out and then borrow more money to buy a new team of top internationals, borrow more money to pay their wages, and then tax the overpaid players 90% to help pay for it all???

      • Mark Spark

        Instead lets keep the Tories in and borrow lots of money to give to the rich people and big companies.You are pathetic,Want to know about tories?ask anybody in the public sector.Doctors,nurses,police,careworkers,local authority

        • Fred

          Wake up mark.

          If you wanted to know anything about drugs ask a drug addict?

          If you wanted to know anything about gambling ask a gambler?

          Where would we be with that logic?