A journalist close to Rafa Benitez has warned of a disaster waiting to happen at Newcastle United.

John Richardson has covered football for the national newspapers for 30 years and is also for his sins, a Newcastle fan.

Earlier this year he gave a number of warnings as Mike Ashley failed to back his manager.

Rafa Benitez was blocked from making any signings in January and made his displeasure known, then did the same when he lined up a number of early summer signings such as Tammy Abraham, only for once again the club fail to sign them.

Only six days before the season kicked off, John Richardson revealed that he’d had a long chat with Rafa Benitez after the pre-season match with Preston and the United boss had revealed his concerns about the lack of backing in the transfer market.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has told the St James’ Park hierarchy to back him in the January transfer window, or risk a second relegation in three years.

Richardson saying that Rafa ‘was at breaking point’ and ‘ready to walk, adding that the manager ‘can’t believe Mitrovic is still there’, the implication being that the Newcastle hierarchy hadn’t been willing to sell him at a realistic price, adding to Benitez’ problems in trying to bring in players that he wants.

John Richardson has proved spot on in what he related about Rafa’s low opinion of Mitrovic, even though Newcastle have increasingly struggled up front, yesterday at Old Trafford was only the third time he had got on the pitch in the Premier League this season, the 19 minutes against Man Utd making it only 49 in total all season.

When the summer transfer window closed and only an £11.5m net transfer spend (compared with £40m+ for both Brighton and Huddersfield), Richardson repeated his warning ‘Can’t say you weren’t warned. Rafa Benitez disgusted at the lack of transfer action. He will leave when it’s right to do so on his terms’.

The January transfer window opens six weeks tomorrow and once again John Richardson has given a further warning that Rafa Benitez can’t be pushed any further.

Writing in The Mirror and via his own Twitter account, he has spelled out that Newcastle United are in a precarious position.

John Richardson writing in The Mirror:

‘The Spaniard is still fuming at the lack of support in the summer ­window, which saw him scrambling in the bargain basement for players such as £5million Joselu from Stoke.

There is considerable interest from a number of parties (in buying Newcastle), but it seems ­unlikely that any final deal will be ­formalised before the critical January window.

That would leave Ashley still in control of the transfer funds and, with a sale imminent, ­reluctant to splash the cash.

But Benitez, who has drawn up a list of possible signings, has warned that a lack of quality coming through the Tyneside door would leave the Geordies vulnerable to relegation.

A drop into the Championship would also cost Ashley, if no sale had been clinched before then, as the club would be worth less than in the highly lucrative Premier League.’

It was always a tough set of fixtures coming up with 11 games in 44 days starting with yesterday’s match at Old Trafford.

With three defeats in a row, yesterday made clear that whilst some players such as Shelvey and Gayle suggested they will be able to make a positive impact in the months ahead, we were once again reminded that we have a serious number of players who aren’t anywhere near that level.

If Newcastle did get dragged into a relegation scrap by the end of December, then difficult to see how the club would be valued quite as highly by a potential buyer, if there is a chance of the drop.

As John Richardson points out, there is a real worry amongst fans (and allegedly Rafa Benitez) about what happens with transfers in January if Ashley is still in control.

A sale really can’t come quick enough and the possibility of one not happening at all, just doesn’t bear thinking about.

John Richardson via Twitter – 18 November 2017:

“Not saying Rafa will walk.

“He will though have his say on what he perceives as managing on the back of broken promises.

“He knows the difference a decent striker would make.

“This is what happens when you are not backed in the transfer market.

“A predictable defeat for Newcastle United.

“Rest assured, Rafa Benitez will not put up with a repeat in January.”

The Mag – 1 September (after summer transfer window closes):

John Richardson:

“Can’t say you weren’t warned. Rafa Benitez disgusted at the lack of transfer action. He will leave when it’s right to do so on his terms.”

The Mag – 7 August 2017:

Sports correspondent (and Newcastle fan) John Richardson:

“Been saying all summer that Rafa Benitez has become increasingly frustrated at Newcastle United over the transfer policy. He is now at breaking point.

“Ready to walk…unless he brings in the players he wants.

“Spoke to him at length after the recent Preston friendly.

“Rafa can’t believe Mitro is still there.”

Fan asks ‘You think he still wants to sell his only fit striker before we can even buy a replacement?!’

“Not at the moment no but he doesn’t fancy him at all.”



  • Steve Pearce

    This is why our entire future rests on the buy out!

    • Horses Heed

      Dream on, it aint gonna happen…

      • Shields Mag

        I am beginning to think this is all Pie-in-the-sky from the Pie man!!

        • Jezza

          I knew from day one that it was all pie in the sky.

    • X,WHY,Y MAN.

      I think we will see Ashley’s real intentions towards selling up in January if we are near the bottom.
      If there is an increased rise in the budget with loads of money suddenly available when it should have been there in the summer, Then it will look like he’s trying to protect his investment and his real objective was to get through the season without spending with a “Rafa Will Save Us Mentality” !

  • magpiefifer

    If Ashley is still around on 31 January we will not have bought the players needed for Prem League survival!

    • Leazes Ender

      He’s dead.

      • Geordiegiants

        I wished.

      • magpiefifer

        If only!

    • Jezza

      Unfortunately Ashley will most definitely still be here and there will be no new signings in January.

  • Steve Smith

    It’s not news. Even Rafa said as much ore match yesterday.

    We’re not going to have any decent level if funds in the January window.

  • Paul Patterson

    Once again Mike Ashley’s short term view ends up hampering things (and even himself) longer term. The man is an idiot.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    There is no news here as we already know Rafa was unhappy with the transfer activity since September.
    The situation still remains the same as it did from day one of the season, We have to try and stay in this division.
    It will not be easy and everyone should have been under no illusion that this club will be struggling at the wrong end of the table.

    As per usual the media agitators at Newcastle are at it again after the Manchester Utd defeat.
    Things like : “If You Shop In The Bargain Basement…”, Only add fuel to the fire and are in no way helpful to the cause.
    Did anyone honestly think that Newcastle were going to beat Man Utd with the current gulf between the clubs ?
    Yes it can happen on occasion but it was always a vain hope with the quality they have at their disposal.

  • HTL

    ‘He will leave when it’s right to do so on his terms’ and unfortunately the more he is frustrated with being unable to bring in the targets he has chosen, It will only hasten his resolve to depart.

    It will be interesting to see in January how he reacts if there is still a lack of funds for the right new players.
    As there is still no concrete evidence of a potential sale of the club, looks like we are stuck with Mr A and his strange ideas on player recruitment in the premiership.
    Well done to the lads for the effort they put in yesterday, and it was good to see Rafa starting the team on the front foot, HTL

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      Twenty five million wasted on players not good enough when he could have signed a class striker he has made his bed and must lie in it. Burnley would give their eye teeth to spend fifty million and look where they are in the league.

      • in-the-crazy-corner

        the same not good enough players that played at the weekend? we need squad depth to provide cover. Don’t Burnley have an established premier league team/squad, and not a newly promoted championship squad that needs strengthening to survive? its small minded attitudes like yours that nearly put us in the 3rd division when ossie was denied the resources needed and forced to play 2nd rate players and kids that were not ready.

  • James

    Our whole future relies on the takeover, we all hate you Ashley and you also hate us so get out and accept whatever they are offering

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      You might hate Ashley but I do not he has spent £47m on players this season a figure Burnley could only dream off but they are well above us in the league wonder why perhaps wasting twenty five million on players who are not good enough. If I was Ashley I would say why have you wasted my money again.

  • Even without takeover we will sell a few players like Diame and Mitro in January and still have funds to get 2-3 new bodies in to at least escape relegation.
    If Merino and Lascelles played yesterday, Manchester wouldn’t have been so lucky.
    I was glad to see Shelvey slowly getting better and Murphy actually looks half-decent(apart from his horrible cameos recently)

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    We spent £47m on players what did Burnley spend half of what we did and they are doing well it’s just not on saying Ashley has spent no money when Burnley keep doing it every week with a lower wage bill and gross spend this season.

  • MadMag83

    Rafa to Everton then.