The Rafa Benitez West Brom press conference has taken place on Monday lunchtime.

The United boss not holding back in making clear just how big a challenge Newcastle face.

He said all the usual things about the players having to stick together, the fans to keep supporting the team, and so on.

However, he also went on the offensive in spelling out how far short he was left in the summer transfer market.

Raf Benitez saying that Mike Ashley’s budget meant Newcastle couldn’t afford to compete with even Huddersfield and Brighton on wages and transfer fees.

Whilst what poor old Joselu must have thought…

Rafa declaring…’If you want to sign a striker who will score 20 goals, you must pay £40m. If you sign an average striker, it is £15m, or £10m if they can kick it forward. We didn’t do it.’

The Newcastle manager still defiant though that things will turn out ok.

Though as he points out – ‘Nobody said it would be easy’.

Rafa Benitez Watford press conference:

“If you want to sign a striker who will score 20 goals, you must pay £40m.

“If you sign an average striker, it is £15m, or £10m if they can kick it forward.

“We didn’t do it. That’s the situation we’re in. We must stick together. I still have full confidence in our team.

“We have to compete against Huddersfield and Brighton but we couldn’t sign the players they signed or pay the wages that they paid.

“A message for our fans – stick together. You see what we have and the players are giving everything. They can manage if we stay calm.

“We have to support our team; to support our players. If they make the worst mistake in football history, we (still) stick together.

“West Brom have to work hard to win games – like us. They have some good players with experience and it will be tough, like every game in the Premier League.

“What is our target? To stay in the Premier League. Nobody said it would be easy. I have confidence. Sometimes you will win, sometimes you will lose.

“We have a difficult month. We have 14 points. It’s a good position but we are not happy – it could be better, it could be worse.

“We will be better in the second half of the season. We aim for 20 points in the first half of the season, so if we win some games in between, that will make things easier.

“The fans appreciate that this group of players really care about the shirt. We cannot forget that on 1st September, we were complaining that it will be a difficult season.

“The players are fine. Training well. We realise where we are and the players know the only way is to keep working harder and better.

“The main thing is to make the players understand how we were winning games. It’s what we have to do now – stick together and do what we were doing.

“We had half an hour against Manchester United where we were good. We had four chances in the first 30 minutes against Watford and we didn’t take them.”

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    If you look at seasons past we are more likely to nose dive than improve in the 2nd half of the season
    Viva la Rafalution

    • Leazes Ender

      United always always go to sleep in December and January…. that will put us well and truly into the relegation scrap which some of us were brilliant enough to foresee without Dumbledore’s mirror of Erised.

  • LA Toon

    OK I can see Rafas point of view, however why did he wait so long to bring on substitutes? This seems to happen too frequently when the game is over.

    • Dillon Tovak

      That’s true, it’s like we’re just waiting for something to happen. Something that has shown no signs of occurring.

    • Have you seen our bench? Who to bring? Who can make an impact?
      Risking Merino was foolish enough! Rafa is sport on with his subs, game after game, it’s the players who just can’t make an impact. I definitely see Perez and Merino starting against West Brom with Gayle as our only striker.
      We need to stop playing Shelvey and just have Merino and Hayden starting.
      Should probably consider risking Dummett(as Manquillo is really poor out of position)

      • mentalman

        Rafa always procrastinates over subs and as for an impact sub we have plentyif given enough time in a game to get going, he waited for the best part of 10mins after the third goal to make a change

        Mbemba and Gamez have performed well when given the opportunity, yet yedlin and manquillo play however badly they are performing.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    We signed Murphy for £12m and spent more than Brighton and Huddersfield Gross it was up to Rafa how he spent his £47m. Also our wage bill is well ahead of Brighton and Huddersfield with the average wage per player being £1.7m for Newcastle £1.3m Brighton and £1.0m Huddersfield per year. Plus we had a lot of players on big wages who never got near the first team so yes we can compete.

    • Paul Patterson

      We bought Lejeune, Atsu and Merino £25m, plus Murphy for £12m and Joselu for £5m. That takes us well in the £40m’s. If we hadn’t bought those we would be REALLY short of options. We would be struggling for a centre back and a full quota in midfield.
      This side needed £60m spending on it, (NOT including wages) that’s the fault of the owner not the manager. If Ashley isn’t prepared to spend that kind of money then fine, that’s his choice. But he’s never going to get his £300m+ if this club gets relegated. He should’ve thought about that in the summer.

      • Clarko

        That’s not the point, the point is that we did, could and can compete with Huddersfield and Brighton.

        In the summer Newcastle €42.30m, Brighton spent €47.60m and Huddersfield spent €44.40m, as @monksatonmagpies:disqus has stated Newcastle have a significantly higher weekly wage than Brighton and Huddersfield.

        • Paul Patterson

          Which explains why the club wanted rid of Mitrovic BEFORE a replacement was bought. If he doesn’t go, a cheaper option has to come in. And here we are . .

          • Clarko

            Again, you’re missing the point. This has nothing to do with Mitrovic leaving or the side needing £60m spent on it or Mike Ashley. This is about whether Newcastle were able to compete in the summer with Brighton and Huddersfield, we were able to compete financially and we did compete financially.

          • Paul Patterson

            Fair enough. I think there’s only Knockaert, Mounie and Mooy that I’d take from both teams. However we shall see where all three teams are by the end of the season. All three will end up about 12-16th. I don’t think either will go down.

        • Leazes Ender

          Monkseaton Magpies is your elder brother David Lee …….Mongo

          Why do you keep changing names?

      • Leazes Ender

        Benitez was fully prepared to fill black and white shirts with dross…… remember he has full control of transfers…. viva la Rafalution and all of that!….. failed to get targets and filled the ranks with journeymen so called because they’ll be out of the door come an impending takeover.

        Ashley positioned us at fifteenth for some unknown reason, there is unspent cash in the clubs accounts.

    • hetonmag

      Rafa wanted a GK a LB and a striker but your favourite owner wouldn’t pay the wages or stump up the cash what part of Rafa’s statement do you not believe, we got 3 player’s at a cost of 25m that amount in this day of inflated prices would probably get you a half decent striker.

    • Jimmy_toons

      Won’t the level of wages have something to do with some playeyers are large contracts when we were a premier league club in the season 2015/16 and the seasons before? Colback, Mitrovic, Mbemba, Elliot, Perez, Lascelles, Darlow, Dummett and so on, have bigger wages and contracts than the vast majority of players at Brighton and Huddersfield?

  • Leazes Ender

    Then why in the name of god did you put Joselu in a black and white shirt?

    Didn’t you have a few words with Charnley his pet monkey?

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      if he`s in a Black & White shirt tomorrow then we are in real trouble

    • Rich Lawson

      Any chance the monkey can have an away day trip to Hartlepool soon ?

  • Dillon Tovak

    What does that make Joselu then?
    Even in Rafas own words.

    • Leazes Ender


  • Antenociticus

    Maybe we should’ve kept Daryll Murphy?

    • Andy Mac

      TBF to Rafa he probably thought he could shift others off the books as well to bring in a decent striker. Fatman obviously felt differently ?

      • Carlo Ancelotti

        Benitez was expecting a number 9 & another attacking midfielder, but once again Ashley stepped in & stopped the funding, we now know why, he had every intention of getting a quick sale & most likely his intention was to pocket the cash in the bank

    • Jezza

      Daryl Murphy would have been better than Joselu but realistically what the club should have done was to spend the required sum to get in a decent striker or preferably two.

  • Carlo Ancelotti

    He`s trying to fit players into his system but when you have a team of inferior players then you must adjust the system to cater for their strengths, which are very limited at best.
    he`s tried 4-2-3-1 & 4-4-2 & neither has produced results although with Lascelles, Merino & Dummett set to return it does somewhat strengthen his hand.
    Joselu shouldn`t even be at this club never mind playing for it

    • Andy Mac

      Agreed. I know people say we shouldnt get on the Spanish striker’s back as it’ll only dent his confidence but what about the confidence of the rest of the squad who must know by now he’s a liability ?

  • Tino o

    If he continues to play Joselu it is certain relegation. He offers no threat whatsoever to opposing defences who therefore are allowed to take more risks and get at us more add in diame and were 2 men down

  • Alan Pardew

    They are usually tight games and it’s difficult at their place. I always feel they score, West Brom, when they are home, so you have got to get two or three goals if you are going to win.

  • Leicester Mag

    Astonishing there is even a debate as to whether we can compete with these giants of the game. How dare we ? Ashley the gift that keeps taking

  • TheNutJob

    Until Pards is confirmed as manager of West Brom Jezza will be on tablets to calm the nerves

  • TheNutJob

    glad to see that Clarko`s back (not)

  • TheNutJob

    News just in, Hippo Heeds odds on to manage Everton

    • Jezza

      Yes he’s probably already planning how he’s going to spend the multi million pay off when they sack him in 6 months time. Makes you sick doesn’t it.

  • toonterrier

    Maybe Rafa can concentrate on getting the players we have fit enough to last ninety minutes. They’ve looked worn out after half an hour in the last few games. Yes we need better players to replace some of the dross we have but as professional footballers they have to work harder and that’s in the hands of the coaching staff.

  • Phil Yare

    why did we bother buying joselu at all though? because by rafas calculations we got what we paid for…..and thats NOWT. if he got injured what would the difference be? we look like we are playing with 8 men anyway. we could have just played a cone as it has the same abilities as our leading marksman.

    since rafa has come in apart from merino we haven’t done one shrewd piece of business…………our record signing goalkeeper for example wasn’t even good enough for the championship!!!!!!!!!
    rafa’s magnificent reputation elsewhere is what has earned him his respect among us – not what hes done at newcastle, and whilst working under mike ashley must be a nightmare I expected better than whats been served up.

    to get anything out of a football match at the minute we need drastic changes, if the usual suspects are on that team sheet again and there’s no change tactically and to the formation then you may as well head down the bookies and put paul mersons 2-0 prediction to WBA down

    • HarryHype59

      Whilst I accept he is working to the Fatmans restrictive budget, Rafa has bought quantity over quality! Hanley, Lazaar, Sels, Diame , Manky, Hoss and Lejourne cost around £35m and are no better, (even worse) than players already here!

      • Phil Yare

        absolutely mate. we ended up with too many players really, all spectacularly average or below

  • Jezza

    I can’t think of a more damning indictment of Ashley’s tenure at NUFC than the fact that we can not compete with Brighton And Hove Albion in the transfer market. It’s not that long ago that Brighton were struggling to put a team out because they’d had to release most of their first team players from their contracts due to not being able to pay their wages. They were without a ground and had to play their home games at a non league team’s ground.

    Who could have imagined that little over a decade later Newcastle United in the Premiership, benefitting from the biggest ever television deal, with 40,000 season ticket holders and record transfer profits over the past 10 years would somehow not be able to compete in the transfer market with Brighton.