It isn’t breaking news that Rafa Benitez was badly undermined by Mike Ashley in the summer.

Being blocked when trying to sign players in January, the United boss made his clear his anger when the window closed and nobody had signed.

Then it was a similar story in the summer, signings that Rafa had lined up weren’t pursued by Ashley and his minions, the manager then left to try and make budget signings to plug the gaps. Whilst promoted clubs Brighton and Huddersfield had net spends of over £40m each, Newcastle’s was a very limiting £11.5m.

After both of these last two windows, after making clear his unhappiness, Rafa Benitez then quickly snapped into ‘let’s make the best of what we have got’ mode.

However, after defeat to Bournemouth, for the first time since the summer window closed, we heard the Newcastle manager refer back to the scale of the problems he faced back then:

“You can talk about players at Bournemouth or Burnley that we couldn’t sign because we couldn’t afford the fee or their wages.”

Now Rafa Benitez has added to those comments, making clear how weak Newcastle were left in one particular position.

The Newcastle boss brought in Achraf Lazaar to try and replace Paul Dummett in summer 2016, only for it to prove a total disaster, Lazaar not convincing Rafa to give him even a single Championship start.

This summer, a new left-back was widely reported to be near the top of the manager’s wish list, yet nobody was signed as budget constraints crippled the squad rebuilding.

Paul Dummett was injured only a few minutes into the season and was quickly diagnosed to be set for a minimum three months out. Yet with three weeks of the window still remaining, the club refused to back the manager in bringing in another left-back.

Even on deadline day, a loan move for Southampton’s third choice left-back, Matt Targett, was blocked by the Ashley hierarchy because of the size of the loan fee the Saints were asking for.

The net result has been Newcastle using four different fill-ins so far – with Ciaran Clark, Jesus Gamez, Chancel Mbemba, and Javier Manquillo, all playing there.

None of them left-backs and three of them not even left-footed.

Paul Dummett is now in the final stages of his comeback and Rafa Benitez has made clear he will bring him back in ASAP.

The manager saying ‘People don’t realise how important as a player he (Dummett) is, until you lose the player..he’s a left-back, who is left-footed…he is not bad with his left foot’.

On the other hand, Javier Manquillo has really struggled and got progressively worse, especially in recent games, Rafa Benitez saying ‘Manquillo is not a left-back…he is right-footed and should play on the other side’.

Rafa Benitez:

“I was talking with my staff about Paul Dummett.

“People don’t realise how important as a player he is, until you lose the player.

“He was doing well last season – he’s a left-back, who is left-footed and who has always done well for us.

“He is someone who knows his job – he is not bad in the air, he is not bad with his left foot.

“People say that ‘He needs to go to the byline and make crosses’ –  it doesn’t matter, he can make passes, he can defend, he can help at set-pieces.

“He is a player who will give you something different, something that we don’t have already.

“Manquillo is not a left-back.

“He is working as one and doing a really good job because he is right-footed and should play on the other side.

“You have to realise the situation we are in…

“We were thinking about bringing him in, he would learn little by little and maybe be on the bench but we had to play him straight away.”



  • Steve Pearce

    Its just as well that we will have new owners next month and millions to right the wrongs of The Fat Stinking Bag Of Southern Pus’s years of penury. We just have to hold on to our top ten spot until then which given December’s fixtures could not be easy.

    Toon Toon Amanda Staveley’s Black And White Army!

    • Paul Patterson

      If only magic wands like that existed.

      • Steve Pearce

        I assure you this is no magic wand.

        There has been a wall of silence issuing from Newcastle United since it appeared that Amanda Staveley is the only prospective buyer for our club. This indicated the deal is now in progress and it is necessarily being carried out in privacy. There have been no fake news stories of “links” to other parties and it is being conducted to be completed by Christmas. Of course transfer money will be a part of this and Rafa will be preparing a list of players that we need to finally build a team that will be composed of competent and able players to fill the gaps he has identified. So I would expect a formal announcement early next month and by the beginning of January there will be early activity in the transfer window – which is no magic but is the due business of a new owner who wishes to make a sizable investment.

        • Gallowgate Dave

          Is there anything tangible that is driving this optimism of the takeover?

          • Steve Pearce

            D’oh – read my reply…

          • Gallowgate Dave

            I have. You’re certainly presenting your “facts” very authoritatively. It’s still not clear where you’ve derived them from though? I haven’t read all your posts so I was just wondering out loud if you have a genuine inside knowledge or if you’re just a crackpot.

          • Paul Patterson

            I hope he’s right, but I would advise caution. Takeovers don’t just happen over a couple or three months. His comments have ranged from it’s definitely going to happen (and in January) and that Rafa will be going out and buying 100m pound plus worth of players (in January). These sort of things rarely pan out like that. This isn’t Football Manager we’re playing . .

          • Gallowgate Dave

            I pray he’s right but I don’t believe a word that passes Ashley’s lips so if and until any takeover is completed there’s no point getting excited. I’ve read a few of Steve Pearce’s posts and was just wondering if he had some kind of genuine inside scoop or whether he’s just a bit mental.

          • Paul Patterson

            Plus, with £100m MINIMUM as Tv revenue EVERY season, I wouldn’t put it past Ashley to say to a prospective buyer at the last minute ‘Give me £500m or no deal’ and then sit back and let the money roll in, regardless of whatever criticism goes against him.

          • Gallowgate Dave

            I’m still inclined to believe that as his ambition doesn’t match Rafa’s he is resigned to losing him at some point and he’s both trying to delay the inevitable and also wants to try to ride out the inevitable storm when Rafa does eventually walk by having appeared to put the club up for sale, but in reality pricing us out of any takeover so he can tell us he tried, no-one wanted to buy us and we’re stuck with him.

          • HarryHype59

            The £100m TV cash only exists whilst we are in the EPL? Without investment this team will be in relegation battle this season!

            Fatty could play hardball, but then find himself trying to flog a team playing in the Championship!

        • Paul Patterson

          Fair enough, but you need to stop talking as if it’s a done deal. It’s far from that and if it doesn’t happen, don’t go mental if we are stuck with the players we have for the rest of the season.

        • HarryHype59

          I hope your optimism is justified! However, this is Newcastle under Ashley! Things never go smoothly under the fat lad!

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    well you have Mbemba & Gamez both better fooballers than Manky.

    • Guest 2

      Gamez looked quite decent when he came on. Getting a bit leggy I suppose at 31 but surely his experience is why he was bought?

    • StevieB

      Yeah I’d love Benítez to explain his “thing” with Mbemba, he had 1 bad game v wolves last season (along with the other 10 players that day) and he was never seen again that year, he gets in again this year , plays excellent while out of position at left back , then Benitez freezes him out again and plays a completely sub standard left back (manquillo) in his place …….very strange

  • Damon Horner

    Lazaar was never bought to replace Dummett, only in the minds of some fans.

    However he is another player who got better during absence from the team

    • HarryHype59

      If he is no better than Dummettt, why was he bought? The same argument applies to Sels (£6m) Hanley (£6m) Diame (£5m) Murphy (£12m) Joselu (£5m) and Manquillo (£4m)!

      Rafa has spent over £40m on players who are no better and in some cases worse, than those already at the club!

      • Damon Horner

        Rafa last season bought to bulk a Championship squad, rightly or wrongly (Hanley, Diame).

        Sels himself could still be a good goalkeeper, he is still relatively young (Mitrovic argument).

        Other three are a few games into the season mate, lets wait and see but the budget didn’t allow for massive upgrades in quality. Murphy in addition still has time on his side.

        Lazaar was a different type of player to Dummett, he was more like the Yedlin on the left, I still think he might have even been bought for left wing to phase Gouff out.

        I see what you’re saying though about Rafa’s dealings with transfers but that’s always been the way with him, despite that Liverpool fans still want him back.

        • HarryHype59

          I know out of the box thinking isn’t encouraged with certain sections of our supporters! However, evidence indicates Rafa’s success rate on players is around 50%. In January it is essential he upgrades the goal scoring capabilities of the team! Bringing in more of the same will result in yet another relegation battle!

          • Damon Horner

            What’s an acceptable transfer rate? What was Alex Ferguson’s? It’s a stat that doesn’t mean much because your as good as your best signings. If we sign the next Messi in January and climb to 4th would you care if he also bought 5 more duds?

            Without doubt though we need to be sure there is enough goals in the league but all this is proving is Rafa isn’t the most savvy in terms of transfers, which was always known.

          • HarryHype59

            The comparison with Fergie isn’t valid! He had numerous flops but was trying to maintain Man U as an elite club in European football! He was trying to make an excellent side better.

            Rafa is trying to assemble a team who can avoid relegation this season! I accept he is handicapped by the avarice of the owner! However, he compounds the problem by spending £12 on a player who was in League one with Adam Armstrong two seasons ago! That player has failed to make an impact!

          • Damon Horner

            That’s what it’s about. We shouldn’t have spent £12mil on Murphy. I agree with that if it turns out to be the difference between survival and relegation, he could well be a brilliant player in future but it means nothing IF we go down.

            There are numerous examples by the way of players playing in lower divisions then following up with a PL impact. Just saying its not a complete rule that we bought a player with no quality. Harry Kane scored 5 goals in 18 games two seasons before his Spurs debut.

          • HarryHype59

            Spurs had the luxury of having a good side so could develop players for the future! NUFC new player who can make an immediate impact I honestly hope I am wrong and Murphy turns out to be a good player. However, I have huge reservations paying such a large amount for a rookie!

          • Damon Horner

            Both at 18 had League 1 development and both played in the Championship the following season (Murphy for Norwich). If we signed Kane at that point for a relative amount of money we’d have been mystified as well but he has justified that and more because from this point on, he took the chance he got at Spurs, it’s a big moment for Murphy.

            I’m not sticking up for the signing, I just think the fee takes relevance if we’re either relegated this year (should have been redistributed elsewhere, which is your argument) or he doesn’t play beyond a poor standard until then he is a young lad and it’s too early to be too critical.

          • HarryHype59

            With the first eleven weak in a number of key positions, Murphy at £12m looks a luxury that we can’t afford!

          • StevieB

            I have to agree , it’s not looking good for Murphy at the minute , he looks like a boy in a mans game

          • HarryHype59

            I wasn’t expecting the finished article due to his youth ! However to say he has been disappointing in an understatement!

            For a reputed £12m fee he looks poor!

  • Leazes Ender

    I hope HMRC find stuff on Charnley and they throw away the key.

    • HarryHype59

      Like the takeover, it has gone very quiet on that issue!

      • StevieB

        They’ve signed “non disclosure” contracts …..the clue on why nothing is being said isnin there somewhere 🙄

        • HarryHype59

          Obviously Sherlock!!!

          I am referring to the supposed Christmas time dead
          line favoured by the Fatman!

  • HarryHype59

    Whilst fatty penny pinched this summer, Rafa compounded the problem by spending £12m on Murphy! He could have bought a “proper” left back, or put the money towards getting a better forward than Hoss!

    • Paul Patterson

      He most probably thought he was getting more than he got . .

      • HarryHype59

        That would indicate Rafa’s judgement was flawed when he signed him!

    • hetonmag

      Let it go man your never ending persecution of Murphy is embarrassing.

      • HarryHype59

        Aye I’ve been wrong about him! Atsu is injured so this wonder player will be an automatic replacement! Oh wait he won’t as despite costing £12m he has lost his confidence!

        BTW do you want to buy my car off me?

        • hetonmag

          Probably lost his confidence through idiots like you not giving the kid a fair crack of the whip, no I don’t want to buy your car off you it’s probably a dud like the owner.

          • HarryHype59

            The refusal to see facts is an amusing trait in some of our dimmer supporters! For £12m Murphy has been extremely disappointing! I know he is young but I expected him to be displacing Atsu this season!

            Atsu is injured so now we will see if a player signed for a large fee (for us) can offer any value! So far he has been dire! The stats support my view!

    • Lhc

      Correct! 12 mil Murphy 5 joselu 17 mil on a decent striker imo or you say a left back (kieran Gibbs)

  • gallowgate26

    Manquillo has done okay, he’s not a natural LB or going to attack down the wing like Kyle Walker but he is good enough to be a squad player. I think some have been overly critical of him.