Rafa Benitez conducted yet another press conference on Friday afternoon, where he had to field numerous questions on signings, or rather the lack of them.

The January transfer window ends on Wednesday and still we only have the inexperienced Kenedy who has arrived, that is only on a short-term loan and he has only ever started four Premier League matches in his career so far, with only 90 minutes of league football in the last 21 months.

Yes there is still time for Mike Ashley to ‘back’ Rafa Benitez but you do have to question why it has been left so late, if indeed anything of substance is to happen.

Whilst Mike Ashley’s PR people were leaking to the press that Newcastle were making moves to sign a ‘£20m striker’, their relegation rivals have just been getting on and actually signing players.

Both Brighton (£14m Locadia) and Huddersfield (£12m Pritchard) have once again broken their transfer records with deals this month, Huddersfield also bringing in Terence Kongolo in on loan from Monaco.

Stoke have also now brought in two players, whilst Crystal Palace have done the same this week. Southampton have completed a deal for around £20m to bring attacking player Guido Carrillo to St Mary’s, whilst West Ham have brought in Joao Mario on loan, a midfielder who cost Inter Milan £35m only 18 months ago.

As a promoted club the situation was particularly important in the Summer for Newcastle, yet Mike Ashley refused to properly back the manager, as Huddersfield and Brighton had net spends far higher than NUFC.

So for Rafa Benitez, after doing a remarkable job of keeping Newcastle relatively competitive in the first half of the season with what is basically a Championship team, he wanted to leave nobody under any illusions about what had to happen this month.

This is what Rafa Benitez had to say on 22 December 2017:

“I have confidence that Mike Ashley will deliver what we need to stay in the Premier League before January 20, to be sure that we have time to work with the new players.

“I don’t know the budget that I have, so we don’t know how much we can spend…

“…we have to do things as quickly as possible.

“I have the belief and the confidence in Mike Ashley, that by January 15 or 20, we have to be there with everything done.”

The bottom line is that Rafa Benitez has already been let down by Mike Ashley, yet again, it is now only a question of how badly he has been undermined by the owner.

When the January transfer window opened, there were still 17 Premier League games remaining, by next Sunday night (4 February) there will only be 12 matches for Rafa Benitez to save us from relegation.

If any play is bought in (or on loan) in the next few days there is no way he will be involved on Wednesday night against Burnley, whilst I think the best you could hope for Palace away next Sunday is that any such signing would potentially make the bench.

Rafa didn’t just pluck those dates of 15 January and 20 January out of the air. As we all know, he is a very methodical manager who uses tried and tested ways of doing things thanks to his vast experience. He will always be planning ahead and assessing the best way of doing things, what is possible and what is not.

In the Summer Mike Ashley made very clear that he was unhappy with Rafa Benitez going public and criticising the lack of action of transfers.

If we still hold out hope of decent transfer action this month from Mike Ashley, it is hard not to believe that Ashley has deliberately punished Benitez by making him sweat, after Rafa had the audacity to give him those deadlines of when signings had to be made by.

The thing is as well, matches such as these next two against Burnley and Palace are massive for Newcastle, Burnley because it is such a winnable game with their results having fallen off a cliff (two points from last 18) after reaching relative safety so early, whilst Palace are a big relegation rival and at least avoiding defeat is essential to avoid them potentially pulling themselves out of it.

Imagine unleashing a new record transfer striker (and other buys…) against those two, with the new players having had the benefit of two or three weeks settling in and gradually getting game time?

It would have given everybody a huge lift, rather than the position we are now left with.

As always, Rafa Benitez having to make the best of a bad job.

I saw there was a poll on The Mag asking Newcastle fans if they though a signing would come in for £15m or more this month, a massive 83% saying they didn’t think it would happen.

I was one of that 83%, lets hope we are all proved wrong and very belatedly Rafa gets some assistance from the Fat Controller.

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  • ghostrider

    If Rafa had done proper dealing in the summer for the players he needed instead of what he wanted, then he wouldn’t be panicking about getting players over the line in january transfer window that reeks of panic buying of petulant wantaways to useless cast off’s to massive wage bill trimmings of clubs.

    He spent a long long time with his lawyer sorting out his contract to apparently include everything but the kitchen sink in getting what he wanted and clauses if he doesn’t, so if he’s being messed around then leave. Walk away and have a massive pay day.
    The fans won’t hold him in contempt…it will be Ashley as per usual, so Rafa has no excuses.

    I don’t buy into loyalty and all the rest of it.
    He either buys what he needs and not what he wants and then uses what he needs to the benefit of the club.

    If He’s not getting what was promised and it’s in his contract as promises then walk away.

    • FatParosite

      I don’t think for a minute that Rafa has any such caveats in his contract.

      • ghostrider

        He took a long long time sorting it out after he relegated us, so what was he doing if not setting everything up in his favour?

        • Simon Rhodes

          He relegated us LOL how much did the fat slug pay you to make that statement.

          • ghostrider

            Nobody has to pay me. Who was our manager for the last 10 games of the season we were relegated?

          • Simon Rhodes

            It didn’t matter who came in we were doomed but he did a bloody good job of nearly saving us. If you think Rafa relegated us I think the men in white coats need to visit your house and sharpish.

          • ghostrider

            10 games to go and we were doomed with that squad? Not a chance.
            We were doomed the minute Rafa walked in and forced the players to come in on their day off, no matter where they were at the time.
            He had a quarter of a season to save us and he failed.
            He failed because he tried the hard line approach to players that were soft touches under McClaren but who were plenty good enough to get us out of the mire.

          • Simon Rhodes

            Can you tell me just how far your head is up The Fat Slugs AR5E

          • ghostrider

            As far as you want to think. After all, it is your pictured scene.

          • Kneebotherm8

            Brought them in on their day off????…………eh?……….what a shame for them………..your arguments against Benitez get more comical by the minute…….what those highly paid individuals required was a good shaking up and that’s what they got with Rafa……

          • Paul Patterson

            @disqus_oN0s7JfTpu:disqus
            Correct. He came in after two awful defeats, his first game was against Champions elect, he wasn’t afforded the Bournemouth game the week before (which was lost) and a free week that Mcdiv decided to use to take the players abroad and he also wasn’t allowed a transfer window to get players in.
            He stopped the rot of defeats against the unwashed down the road, we drew at home to Man City and away at Liverpool and beat Swansea and Palace at home.
            We went down by two points. If he had been given another two weeks we would have been safe.
            Anyone that thinks otherwise is a buffoon.

          • Danimal

            Would that be the ten games that yielded 13 points? The kind of form that would get you somewhere between 8th and 12th place most seasons.

          • ghostrider

            10 games at 13 points in a 40 game season would get you 42 points.
            The season is 38 games long and that’s still relegation form by a team that was assembled to be far from it.

            Rafa took 5 games to get a win.
            Rafa messed up.
            Rafa is messing up again and will relegate us because Ashley and co refuse to sack him when he should be sacked for negligence.

          • Danimal

            Brilliant. 13 x 4 = 42? Did you do that on a Monkseaton abacus? Or did Bobbi count it for you with his famous beans?

          • Damon Horner

            He’s had a shocker!

          • ghostrider

            Nah, just a mistake and you’re well entitled to pick up on it and have a good dig at me over it. Fair play.
            My thoughts don’t change on Rafa though.

          • Danimal

            Fair enough! Fingers crossed we somehow scrape together 17 or 18 points from the next 14 games, that might do it.

          • ghostrider

            For that to happen Rafa has to balance this team out. He cannot just play ultra cautious all the time in the hope we somehow keep the opposition out whilst maybe sneaking a goal.
            It’s criminal when he does it at home but irritating as hell when in some games away he actually sets out a good counter attacking stall.

          • Danimal

            Eight points from the last six games (two of which were Man City). That kind of ratio should be fine. It’s always disappointing to drop points at home but in our position it really doesn’t matter where we get the points as long as we get enough. I’m also not sure about this cautious thing. We should have been a goal or two up by half time against Bournemouth and Swansea. I can understand being more cautious later in games because one point is better than none.

          • ghostrider

            If we had a go like we do in half of the first half’s of games for the entire game then we will gain more than enough points to comfortably escape the drop.
            Being over cautious like Rafa has us doing, is relegation tightrope walking.
            Rafa needs to use the players at his disposal to take the game to the opposition and also have a plan B which he rarely does have.

            Defending for your lives for second half’s of games is playing Russian Roulette in my honest opinion and generally we suffer the consequences.

          • Kneebotherm8

            Are you mathematician of the year?…..13 points every 10 games equates to 52 points in a 40 game season you dimwit……

          • ghostrider

            Aye, I made a mistake. Like daminal, have a good dig. Crank it right up if you can be bothered. I deserve it for rushing in.

          • Kneebotherm8

            Not just a small mistake though…..it absolutely blows your argument out of the water…..your figures when corrected prove absolutely what all on here know…….RAFA WOULD HAVE HAD US IN MID TABLE if he’d had 38 games instead of 10…….

          • ghostrider

            Well we won’t ever find that bit out.
            “Could have” is a better thought.
            10 games and 1 point behind Sunderland taking the last relegation place, plus a game in hand.
            Rafa failed.

          • Kneebotherm8

            Shot yersel in the foot…….the figures speak for themselves……unless you’re doing the maths….

          • ghostrider

            Yep. The point still stands in what I said though.

          • Kneebotherm8

            What?……your point that we’d have had 42 points all season based on him achieving 13 points in 10 games..

          • ghostrider

            Nahhh that wasn’t my point.
            My point was Rafa getting less points than Sunderland that season and relegating us with a much better team to work with.
            That’s my point.

          • Kneebotherm8

            To quote you:-
            10 games at 13 points in a 40 game season would get you 42 points.
            The season is 38 games long and that’s still relegation form by a team that was assembled to be far from it.

            That’s your point……..you tried to translate the points to a seasons total.

            So actually Rafa’s points ratio in his 10 games translated over the season would have kept us up mid table……….no problem whatsoever.

          • ghostrider

            He had 10 games and failed.
            he had a game in hand on Sunderland who were only 1 point higher…..and failed with a much better team.

          • Kneebotherm8

            If we were a much better team then how come Sunderland were above us after 25 games when Benitez got the job??…………nowt adds up with you man….

          • ghostrider

            That’s the entire point.
            Sunderland were ahead of us because the players under McClaren were being mollycoddled and took the peas out of McClaren.
            Too soft you see.
            Tucking litle brats into comfort blankets as if they do no wrong then let loose a manager to drag those blankets off those brats and demand immediate action will only get you so far.

            Ashley splashed out very well on those players and the fans were well happy until McClaren allowed them to go to the dogs.
            If Rafa has come in without this big I am attitude in dragging those players away from their day off, I genuinely think we could have avoided relegation.

            In truth it was probably better that we did get relegated because I actually had an exciting season with a feel good factor.
            I’d happily take it again rather than try to be cannon fodder for the elite teams, like Rafa has us set up for 90% of the time.

          • thewildchimp

            Well, to be honest, Rafa came in, stabilized the team defensively (as much as possible with Taylor and Coloccini, until he inevitably dropped them) and gave us a chance. However, he made some serious blunders, the biggest being playing Cisse instead of Mitro. It was so stupefying that I still can’t really understand what went through his head…

            It’s hard to blame him, considering the little time he had.
            For our current situation, however, he owns a great portion of blame. People pity him because he is depraved of funds but I respect the man and say that he can do much, much better with the current squad. The problem is that he has his eyes set on the Champions League and lets his personal preferences play part where mustn’t be any room for them.

          • hetonmag

            Shut up and go and post on the Manure website.

          • ghostrider

            I’ll leave that up to you seeing as you’re mentioning it.

        • Peter Stabler

          So you blame Rafa for the last relegation, everyones entitled to an opinion but you also slag him for getting the best terms of contract he can with the Fat Oaf, that is daft. Fatty is a proven liar.

          • ghostrider

            I blame McClaren and Rafa Benitez for relegating us.

        • Bowlsey

          Rafa relegated us did he? I’ve heard it all now.

          • ghostrider

            Who was in charge for the last 10 games?
            Where were we when he took over?
            Absolutely he relegated us.

          • Bowlsey

            Giving Rafa ten games to save us after the utter debacle that had gone before and the rock bottom confidence/couldn’t give a toss attitude that permeated the squad, was akin to asking him to slam the stable door closed six months after the horse had bolted.

          • ghostrider

            So why did he take the job?
            He took the job because he knew we have a decent team.
            He also knew that 5/6 million pay cheque made sense to him regardless.
            A no lose situation.
            Keep us up and he’s a hero.
            Relegate us and he gets to be a championship manager on 5/6 million a year.
            Bring us back up with massive investment and he’s a hero.

            The man couldn’t lose.
            If he came in and we were bottom and adrift by 6 points or so then I wouldn’t put any blame on him.
            The fact is, he came in when we were well capable of getting out.
            He failed.

          • Bowlsey

            I imagine he took the job believing, naively, that Ashley had genuine ambitions for the club and that he would back him financially to get Newcastle back to where it belongs. In a nutshell, he was lied to, just like Ashley lies to us season in season out. Rafa’s mistake was not doing his homework on what kind of owner we have and what kind of man he really is. I guarantee Rafa wouldn’t have touched us with a ten foot barge pole had he knew what he was letting himself in for. You can argue that he’s paid a lot and should just put up and shut up and get on with it but let’s not forget that Rafa could be paid just as much, if not more, at any number of clubs around the world. Want my honest opinion? He was moved by how much we celebrated his arrival and the love we show for him and decided to stay to try to help us. He probably thinks “These poor sods. They wave flags with my face, chant my name and turn up to watch us struggle every week. Bless ’em. I’ll stick it out for their sakes a bit longer.”

          • ghostrider

            Let’s be honest. Rafa and every other manager has seen how this club has performed. It’s no secret to him as to how everyone’s been making all kinds of theories on what’s happened in house and what not.

            He’s came because 5/6 million said it was viable for him to do so.
            It’s money that no other club was going to give him at the time.

            He couldn’t really lose.
            I want the bloke out.

          • Pozz Mozz

            Hey asswipe
            Don’t you have any sense of decency spewing lies and hatred every goddamned day?

          • ghostrider

            At least tell me and everyone else what it is I’m lying about and who I’m hating.
            As it stands, it seems like you are that person.

          • ghostrider

            So why did he come then?

          • Paul Patterson

            We had just been beaten off Chelsea (5-1) and Bournemouth (1-3) we were in the relegation zone in 19th place.
            Care to use facts in your buffoonery?

          • ghostrider

            When McClaren was sacked we were on 24 points and 1 point behind Sunderland on 25…but we had a game in hand.
            Our team was far in excess of Sunderlands team in talent and expense.
            Add a new manager to that and we should, at the very very least have relegated Sunderland.
            Had Rafa Benitez came into the club with a better attitude than calling players in who were all over the place on their day off was his first mistake that basically was the straw that broke the camels back.

            I liken it to Shearer coming in with less games to go and taking the immediate hard line approach.

            It’s easy to say the damage was already done but I do not agree with this at all.
            The damage should have been averted with a different approach.
            A world class manager like Rafa is supposed to be coming in and getting hold of the most expensively assembled relegation threatened team in the premier league and he blows it with 10 games to save it.

            Blown it in favour of a mediocre Sunderland team that Allardyce managed to get to perform for him.

            Yeah I’d say Rafa has to take his share of the blame. Not all, obviously….but a share of it, considering the players he had to work with.

          • Jezza

            Ignore him, marra. He is a wind up merchant who has been trolling this site for years under various different ID’s. He also posts as Oooh bobbi fleckman, Clarko and Monkseaton Magpies. He is not a Newcastle supporter and he is not from Monkseaton. He lives in Manchester, works in a S****s D****t shop and is a season ticket holder at Old Trafford.

          • Kneebotherm8

            I thought he lived in Shirebrook……..

          • Kneebotherm8

            The dimwit says that regularly….

    • Danimal

      Yes, very good point Ghost. I wonder why a highly experienced manager, with a track record of managing with top teams and world class players, chose to sign promising lower league players and Premier League cast-offs, on relatively low wages, when he could have bought whoever he liked. How silly of him. I wonder why every other manager in the last ten years has done the same thing. I’m really scratching my head with this one, could it be a mysterious contagious airborne sickness that strikes managers as they cross the Redheugh Bridge? Or could it be some other constant factor that escapes me?

      • East Durham Mag

        A constant FAT C*NT lol

      • ghostrider

        Not sure what you’re getting at here.

  • JonMag

    Well he`s been plucked again by the deadly duo

    • East Durham Mag

      Can’t you read mate it’s all Rafa’s own fault 👇. It says so under your post lol.

  • Paul Patterson

    The later we leave it, the less wages we have to pay- and the more chances of any deal failing.
    It’s a win win for the hierarchy.

  • Lhc

    If Rafa puts up with this again and by Wednesday we don’t have a striker I think his reputation/respect goes down in the footballing world. Rafa and nufc are like a square peg in a round hole in terms of ambition!

  • Bowlsey

    Come on guys, the transfer window isn’t shut yet and there’s plenty of time left for Ashley to back Rafa with the cash needed for a new striker. I mean, it’s not going to happen but there’s plenty of time for it to happen…in theory…hypothetically…if we were in a alternate dimension…and not owned by Ashley…oh dear.

    • FatParosite

      I love sarcasm.

    • Peaky Magpie

      🤣🤣🤣

    • Kneebotherm8

      Unfortunately, we’re not in that parallel universe you mention………we’re stuck in this sht one…..

  • FatParosite

    I think Rafa is being even more political than this article suggests. I think those deadlines offer some sort of ultimatum which could be pinpointed during a tribunal. Reading between the lines the list of A,B,C targets also suggests a level at which he may use as evidence of his undermining by the operator. Ashley has pulled out all the stops when it comes to the PR of players being sought after. When was the last time we got wind of a player being pursued by the fat hamster a week before they get their man? This is Bishop doing what he is paid to do. However the stops seem to be still in place when it comes to getting any deals over the line.

    If Rafa walks on Wednesday morning I will applaud a man that has beaten Ashley several times in a PR war because it is likely to signal a letter from Benitez’s lawyer to Barnes to rip a little bit more out of the SLUG.

    • Peaky Magpie

      Yes,he did it with KK and now again.He has a deep deep dislike for managers who are highly popular with a high percentage of the supporters.

      • Kneebotherm8

        He has a deep deep dislike for managers who dare to question him,which goes hand in hand as to why Rafa’s popular with a high percentage of the supporters.

        • Peaky Magpie

          Jigsaw fit mate.

        • Angelswithdirtyfaces

          and Rafa is much more discreet than KK ever was, and experienced at playing the system. Rafa will leave the club, (my guess is this summer) with a relatively poor playing record on the pitch, but his professional reputation intact

          • Kneebotherm8

            His playing record on paper isn’t great,but most potential suitors know his hands have been tied at this club so ,as you say,his professional reputation is intact.

    • Paul Patterson

      In years gone by I would have been against any legal action that was going to harm the club and cost it money.
      However, as the club has been sullied beyond belief by this owner and his cohorts of the last eleven years and any money would either come from Ashley himself and certainly would affect transfer funds, if Rafa want to take legal action next week/the summer then he has my full support.

      • JonMag

        There`s been nothing but legal action against that shower, from KK to Jonas & pending HMRC investigation. the harm has already been done to the club, were a laughing stock

        • Big Al 1967

          And yet despite all this the Fat One still has people willing (or more likely been paid) to defend everything he has done on this site.(We all know who they are)

          • East Durham Mag

            Same ar$ehole multiple identities mate.

          • Mr wobert

            Name names big al??

          • Big Al 1967

            No need to mate, they are all named a bit further down in this thread

  • Jezza

    Rafa is making very positive and confident noises in the closing days of the transfer window. Then again he also made the very same very positive and confident noises in the closing days of each of the two previous transfer windows and we all know how they turned out. Rafa is about to be shafted by Fatso for a third time and Newcastle United are about to be relegated by Fatso for a third time..

    • Wezza147

      Agree Jezza! He has done it countless times in countless windows and there is no reason why this time he will change. Kenedy is it folks.

  • Lhc

    If Rafa leaves due to relegation, lies, broken promises etc I hope not and we stay up but I can’t see how nufc n Rafa are going to fit together, I would like Kevin Nolan to get the job he knows what we are about as fans as a city etc. Time will tell but I can’t possibly see Rafa here after the season is over.

    • Jezza

      There’s no way Kevin Nolan will get the job. Fatso won’t want another manager who would be popular with the fans. He’ll bring in one of his minnions such as Pardew fresh from his sacking by West Brom or Joe Kinnear.

      • Lhc

        He would be cheap though and we all know Ashley likes that.

  • Mr wobert

    Mike cashly at his best ( damage limitation) best give Rafa a few bob now and if we go down we will blame him, the supporters, his granny, pen fold ….
    PS Uncle Tom cobbly and all