Everybody remembers that the summer transfer window of 2017 was a desperate disappointment for both Rafa Benitez and the Newcastle fans.

However, there appears to be pretty much total collective amnesia when it comes to recalling exactly what happened in the final week.

Maybe it is understandable as of course the season was by then underway and Newcastle beat West Ham 3-0 on 26 August 2017.

Following an international break, Rafa’s players then went and won 1-0 at Swansea (10 September), before comprehensively outplaying Stoke City and beating them 2-1 at St James Park (16 September).

A defeat to Brighton followed, but then very decent draws against Liverpool and Southampton, finally a late late winner against Crystal Palace at home.

With 14 points from the first nine matches, Newcastle were flying high in the top half of the season.

It wasn’t that Mike Ashley was forgiven by fans for the lack of support for Rafa in the summer window, or that any normal person thought the season would end with a top eight finish.

More so that fans were simply enjoying their team back in the Premier League and more than holding their own, though it was obvious Rafa Benitez had the group producing over and above what players could offer as individuals.

It was 30 October 2017 when Newcastle lost at Burnley, fully two months since the summer transfer window had closed.

Only one point from nine matches starting with that defeat at Burnley, it becoming all too apparent to Newcastle supporters how failure to buy quality had left Rafa’s team unable to really compete with anyone outside the relegation battle.

When Newcastle supporters recalled it (the summer transfer window), there was still much anger, disappointment and thoughts of what could have been possible, but it was also understandable that fans remembered it as a general picture and not in detail – as in what happened and when.

Moving forward and we are now in yet another frustrating January under Mike Ashley (he has made a profit of £30m on January transfers during his ownership), three weeks in and no signings.

However, let’s go back to that final week of the summer transfer window…

Rafa Benitez had signed Mikel Merino on loan late in July and then followed repeated requests from the United boss for Mike Ashley to honour his promises, on proper backing to bring in the quality Newcastle needed.

Exasperated and with Dwight Gayle having major injury/fitness worries and Rafa having no faith in Mitrovic, he accepted he had to make some kind of striker signing, bringing in Stoke’s reserve journeyman striker for £5m in mid-August to lead the line.

Those continued requests from Rafa fell on deaf ears and indeed it was widely reported that Rafa going public had infuriated the NUFC owner, who then sent his minions (Justin Barnes, Keith Bishop and Lee Charnley) around to tell Rafa he had to stop complaining in the media about lack of transfer support.

It then was reported that Rafa Benitez had been told that he could make a late signing or two in August, if he agreed to make major savings on wages and bring in some transfer fees on top of that.

In the last week of August we saw:

24 August – Emmanuel Riviere is sold/given away to Metz

27 August – Siem de Jong is sold to Ajax

29 August – Grant Hanley is sold to Norwich

30 August – Tim Krul leaves on loan to Brighton which quickly becomes a permanent deal

30 August – Achraf Lazaar goes on a season-long loan to Benevento

Five first team squad players leave, knocking a massive amount off the wage bill, possibly as much as £10m instantly for the 2017/18 season, plus at least £5m in transfer fees (for Hanley and de Jong) and potentially loan fees as well.

Despite that, no mysterious late signing(s) appeared for Rafa Benitez.

Along with the £40m transfer profit Rafa delivered in summer 2016 and no signings at all in January 2017, what more could the Spaniard do in order to help pave the way for some better quality signings?

When you look at the money brought in and wages slashed in the final week of August 2017, it makes it even more disgraceful that 21 days into the January window, that Rafa Benitez hasn’t even been backed to make a single loan signing as yet.

How can any rational person doubt who is the cause of Newcastle United’s problems, it starts and ends at the very top.

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  • Paul Patterson

    I’ve said elsewhere that if you put a £25m striker in this side, we’d be top 10 without much problem. It really is that simple.

    • Guest 2

      Need a solid No.10 to back him up.

    • Leazes.

      I’m sure we’ll get a £25 million striker, that’ll be the chronicle valuation when they add in his agents fees and five year contract….. that’s what they always do…

      ….Its a bit of an arbitrary figure but I get the gist…. as Rafa said ‘£20 million will get you a player who can kick the ball straight’.

      • Kneebotherm8

        £20 million?…that would break our transfer record……………that’ll not happen..

    • 25m striker and 25m winger/n.10/box2box would definitely make us a top 10 side. We need 50m, not like NUFC doesn’t generate that, and we can definitely sell 2-3 players and generate at least 15-20m of that.
      We already have a superb defence and somewhat OK midfield. We are totally lacking in finishing and shots/runs from the midfield.

      • Paul Patterson

        Look at the games we’ve just missed out on Bournemouth, Everton, Brighton and Leicester.
        One good striker would have buried them.

        • Yes or Midfielder who can score an odd goal every now and then since we apparently don’t have those as well.
          Perez looks lost on the wing, half of our players can’t control a simple pass on their good foot. Honestly, just the quality is not there. The lads try, but aren’t good enough.
          I was thinking Hayden would be great in the Prem, but the lad’s just shocking when he’s on. Shelvey, besides those passes doesn’t contribute anything at all. Dummett may be awesome defending but we are again reminded of his very poor technical ability, especially on the ball.
          Gayle’s confidence is shot, Joselu slows down play too much on the counter (really don’t know why Benitez started him in the first place)
          We need 2-3 quality additions in midfield and attack for sure.
          If we don’t get a 10 goal per season Striker and at least 5 goals 5 assists per season midfielder we are relegated, simple as that.

    • Cockneytrev

      If only we could attract a £25 mil player,,,
      I honestly don’t think any decent player would want to come..

    • Toonrobbybobson

      We create some chances but havent someone to take

  • Mark Brannan

    I am assuming this covers the £10m on Mikel Merino? Or did we forget?

    • Wor Lass

      Splitting hairs, I know, but I think it was £9 mill.

      • Mark Brannan

        True it was. (Excluding the £1m loan fee).

  • Ram Kishore

    We can talk whatever we want…
    This writer can keep writing the same thing again ..
    We will never know what’s happening or how much we have

    Only thing we do is can talk the same boring 💩 again and again and Speculate

    • Peaky Magpie

      They banned me twice for using that emoji on Friday ??? This platform isnt right.

      • Ram Kishore

        Really ?? Wow it ain’t that inappropriate lol

  • ghostrider

    He bought Hanley and Lazaar and hardly played the pair of them.
    Totally slung Krul out into the cold.
    Siem deJong was a sick note 10 minute man.
    Riviere, I ‘d actually forgot we had.
    All in all every one of those players were as though we never had them in the first place under Rafa, so an argument that isn’t really an argument at all.

    • Wor Lass

      Hanley played the odd game but was hardly needed and is a bit of a sick note (only 10 games in 28 this season), Lazaar turned out not to be good enough. It even happened with KK and SBR, that. Siem was the Daddy of all sick notes, Tim`s injury finished his career (how many games has he had this season?) and Riviere was useless from the day he arrived.

      • JonMag

        good site this isn`t it

        • Wor Lass

          Sorry, been watching some concrete dry. Yeah, it`s fab!

    • Jimmy_toons

      The point is Benitez has cleared out big money earners, saving the club money, meaning we were then/are now in a position to sign players and pay them with money saved from the summer. In this window we have so far signed? Like the takeover talks, it is all so very predictable.

      • ghostrider

        What big money earners have we cleared out compared to big money earners brought in?
        I wouldn’t allow Rafa loose with transfer money.
        Save it until summer for a new manager.
        Pointless giving Rafa money when he’ll walk in the summber or be sacked.

        I hope and pray that he walks right now or is sacked right now.
        That way a new manager can get this team working as a real unit in the offensive as well as defensive.
        A good balance will see us safe if Rafa falls on his sword.

        It’s such a shame he’s on 5 million a year to do the same job what someone on 100 a week could do.

        • Cockneytrev

          You’ve proved you no nothing about football, the only thing you can do is attack anyone who has anything to say about your beloved Ashley,,,
          Hoop licker👅

          • ghostrider

            I’m not attacking anyone mate. People like you are doing the attacking then playing the victim by using mass opinion against me.
            It’s sad but that’s how people like you work.
            It doesn’t matter though because you have nothing that bothers me enough to alter my stance on things until I see a real reason to..

          • Cockneytrev

            You attack and disagree with anyone of the opposite opinion on Ashley to you and furthermore, your earlier post shows you know absolutely nothing about football and everything about hoop licking👅👅

          • Pozz Mozz

            You are a dipstick, ghostrider. Don’t play the victim card here, to say Rafa is a bigger problem than Ashley shows what an ahole you are. Keep those sh’t coming, I am waiting

          • ghostrider

            Rafa is a massive problem.
            He’s a boring manager who plays boring football and buys players he doesn’t intent to use.
            Basically he’s a waste of time.

          • Ram Kishore

            Dude as a fan u have the right to do demand good entertainment..attacking brings in joy.. but we are not in a position to play that kinda football because we don’t have that kinda players
            I can emphasize with you but changing Rafa is not a solution..
            Against a team that’s similar in strength and quality..we play attacking football like we did against Swansea or west ham..u didn’t question then?

          • ghostrider

            That’s the trouble mate, we don’t play attacking football against the lesser teams all the time.
            We have spurts of attacking football but mainly spend the game on the back foot.
            We have a fit team and a team that’s geared to attacking as well as defending.
            We should be balanced.
            I don’t expect us to go hell for leather in a frenzied game chasing cup tie scenario but I do not accept nor expect us to just sit back and allow other teams to give their fans the enjoyment whilst we sit back and allow it.

            The aim of the game is to score more than the opposition. It’s as simple as that and should not be turned into some kind of chess game for the benefit of people to later sit down and draw silly lines all over a screen telling all and sundry where so and so made the fatal error in letting so and so to get around them.

            The same people made the same mistakes because the game is about humans doing good bad and indifferent things on that pitch and the game finishing with whatever it finishes as.

            People go on about atmosphere at grounds dying off.
            That’s the reason.
            Give fans something to scream for and against, with excitement and turmoil into a mix.
            I remember not too long ago I used to shake before a game….and no, it wasn’t the cold.
            My guts would turn over.
            I’d have all hope against any team.Any team.

            I feel nothing now.
            I go to games with the mindset of just hoping we will at least have a go for 90 minutes because I’m getting really peed off watching us defending for 70 minutes of most games.

          • Ram Kishore

            Yep u r right.. maybe we just need a bit more quality players in the window to bring the best outta the team..just like how presence of Gerrard lifts Liverpool

          • ghostrider

            It’s by the bye as it stands but, if Rafa had bought in the players we needed at the time instead of Goalkeeper, winger and full back, plus Joselu and used that for a decent striker or a decent number 10 and a loanee striker and played a moire balanced set up, I genuinely think we’d be sitting in top 10 or better.

            I rate this team as much better than what Rafa has it showing.

          • Ram Kishore

            In your dreams lol.. U can just speculate what we should buy
            Only he knows what he needs.. I’m behind him on that part
            Apart from that..we don’t have a good scouting network..if we did have one.. the money we have is more than enough.. just like how Burnley, Southampton, Monaco are replicating

          • ghostrider

            Don’t you think Rafa should have sorted a scouting team out?
            Rafa seems to know his targets all the time so who’s scouting them?

          • Ram Kishore

            Dude I’m talking about structured scouting system like what Monaco
            Southampton has
            What Rafa has is different..his personal contacts and the club’s scouting network..
            Once he leaves it’s gone
            The club’s scouting is in shambles
            You don’t need to be football expert to see this
            Why couldn’t we sign Richarlison when Watford could do it

          • ghostrider

            Take a look at Southampton.
            What they did have is now in disarray.
            Monaco are a rich persons play ground so I won’t even bother with them.

            I think Liverpool use Southampton as their nursing home. It seems like that. As weird as hell.
            How all their players tend to end up at Liverpool for massive fees.
            Makes you wonder if the owners are all from the same pod.

          • Ram Kishore

            Yes recently a Commentary by a famous footballer was reported
            I don’t remember who
            But if Southampton had they retained atleast half of the players they sold ..they could be in top 10 but obviously outside 6
            It’s due to their inability and inevitable nature of Big club’s poaching style

          • ghostrider

            There’s that much money in the game now, most players are simply going to the highest bidder in wages and have no interest in whether that club can win a trophy.

            The top 6 look deliberately set in stone.
            It does not appear to be anything other than choreography.
            It also appears like the massive clubs spend kings ransoms on players and seem to offset it in near equal terms.

            What doesn’t equalise is the wages. Sanchez on 500,000 a week.
            We are so dumbed down to it all that we rarely give stuff like this a second thought but what we do tend to do is to channel it against our own clubs.

            Stuff like ” ahhhh what’s the point,w e won’t get so and so because Ashley refuses to pay him more than £90,000 a week” or whatever.

            Then we ask ourselves how far we can go if we fill the team with players on 100,000 a week who maybe cost 30 million a piece against what’s laid out as of now with the clubs at the top.

            Top 10…….6……4…….league title?

            Leicester can do it with a relegation team an d go a whole season using virtually the same players with none getting injured for more than a few days and all back in time for each game on the rota.

            Accidental or miraculous or choreographed?

            I often wonder what we’re really up against.

          • Ram Kishore

            Sometimes u can’t narrow down everything to facts.. reality is complex
            Just like how we had one good season where we reached Top 5 under Pardew
            The same thing happened at Leicester
            Everything just came along right
            To be precise at that time..
            Look now they are finding it difficult to do that .. despite retaining them
            To maintain a midtable position they are spending nicely..

          • ghostrider

            Leicester didn’t win any league. Surely people don’t believe that.
            They were handed the league.
            My guess is to give the smaller clubs the illusion that things are worth playing for and the elite teams are there for the taking.

            It takes a while before the realisation kicks in that we’re all running up a treadmill with buttered feet.

          • Ram Kishore

            That’s a conspiracy
            I just threw up lol
            U r on another level
            One can’t just do what u just said
            U must take a break lol

          • ghostrider


          • Ram Kishore

            U just said Title was given away to Leicester..I was just surprised

          • ghostrider

            Fair enough.
            I don’t suppose people question much like this, but, each to their own.

        • joe mac

          or a zero hours contract like your hero likes using!

        • Hughie_Gallacher

          Why don’t you just shut it? Rafa has forgotten more about football than you will ever know.

          • theoriginalbomberman

            Yes he had such a wonderful and illustrious playing career at the top level lol.

          • ghostrider

            Correct, he has forgotten more about football. He’s forgot how to actually play the game any further up the field than the half way line.
            Defending him like a pop idol will not change his garbage management/coaching.
            He needs kicking out and right now for the good of the club.

    • Toonrobbybobson

      Tell me how many games Krul has played for Brighton?

      • ghostrider

        Who cares now. He’s not our player.

        • Toonrobbybobson

          Oh so if it doesnt promote your agenda it doesnt matter? OK

          • ghostrider

            I want what’s best for Newcastle United football club.
            I can’t change what happens at the club.
            All I can do is give my opinions on what is and what can be.
            My opinions differ from yours and others.
            Accept them for what they are….or don’t….but they are getting said regardless.

    • Mxpx

      The point is that we got some money for them and the wage bill was slashed which is not now available to rafa to reinvest

      • ghostrider

        What money did we get?
        We lost money on them, not got money.

        • Mxpx

          That’s missing the point we sold players this generated money that has not been reinvested whether said players were sold for less than they were bought for does not change this

          • ghostrider

            We also sold players that didn’t generate money. We lost money.

            So tell me about all this generated money we’ve accrued?

  • TheFatController

    You’re talking about a regime that at that time were too busy doing interviews saying the (£260m liability) club had no money, before only weeks later releasing a statement telling potential buyers ‘the scarcity of PL clubs with 150 years’ heritage gives it a value’.

    And no-one thought to connect the two and say ‘if you want £400m for the club, how can you say there’s no money for players…I make that £140m in equity…?’

    No wonder Staveley can be called a time waster and people believe it. No one challenges Ashley on the most obvious, indefensible flaw in his valuation. He must be laughing at us all…

    • jack

      Totally agree nobody ever questions him , what’s needed is a financial expert independently checking all the ins and outs since the day he took over , and everything else about the supposed debt the Halls left , the running of the club under his tenure and everything scrutinised , then printed for everyone to see , especially sky and all the rest of the Ashley defenders , he’s basically asset stripped us from day one

      • joe mac

        isnt that what HMRC done?…and low and behold, look what they found!.

        • jack

          I think what the Hmrc found is purely tax revenue , I’m talking about the total running of club under his tenure , I wish it was all investigated and put in the public domain , I’ve never ever believed that he didn’t do due diligence and the debt he was supposed to have inherited , and if he owns the club how is it he leads them money to push the debt up even higher , he’s only lending the money to himself , a thorough investigation needs to be done

      • Cockneytrev

        I’d gladly chip in for that,,,
        A full internal audit from top to bottom,,,

        • jack

          That’s what it needs , independent audit into all his dealings since coming to Newcastle

  • jack

    I think Rafa should move another five out this transfer window as well ,Diame , manquillo , joselu , Clark and Perez would do

    • Mxpx

      Don’t forget colback

  • gallowgate26

    Stoke won yesterday! I now believe that this is the start of years of misery. The misery hasn’t even started yet, this is the high point! Someone will buy out Rafa’s contract at the end of the season and he will receive my blessing to go out and enjoy the rest of his career. For us it will be a battle to get into the championship play-offs with someone like Mark Hughes. I don’t care anymore, I won’t be there watching that!

    • ghostrider

      If Rafa stays there won’t be anyone watching his garbage either.
      Get him out and he can go with my blessing because I’ll forget him the very second he walks out or is kicked out.

  • JonMag

    put the fat [email protected]@k through a mincer & send it bagged up to Pennywell foodbank

  • mactoon

    Perfectly valid article. He was told he could have every penny from player sales, he sold them during the last week and reduced the wage bill. He got none of that money to buy new players. Usual treachery

    • Paul Patterson

      Yeah, some people need to realise that this manager is doing the job with one arm tied behind his back.

    • simon

      30m from sales year before were for sissoko but only paid at 6m pre season as for any extra monies that were generated come close of summer window we have since made merions loan permanent at a cost of 8m therefore not much left in the pot unless he can shift hadaira colback saivet and a few others before purchases can be brought in

  • Ken Thompson

    Hard to lock yourself out of a club you have supported since 1953 , down country with one or two guys in similar circs . My own belief for historic reasons is that Mr Ashley would gladly turn SJP into a carpark given the opportunity , but thats my own view . Has anyone considered the ” community asset ” line in these times and talks .
    Won,t make any friends and it,s a team splitting opinion but , if you were getting 52,000 customers every time , would you be bothered , especially with the record as it stands . If you were a good pro , would you be lining up to join SJP with the record before you .
    Ask yourselves these questions . The answer is in your own hands .
    Officer Crabtree .

    • Leazes.

      Car park…. well there’s already a bus parked there.

  • simon

    you state 40m profit from the season before but you forget 30m of that was from the sale of sissoko to spurs,,, lets not also forget they have to pay that over 5 years so we only get 6m per year which puts a huge dent in the cash to spend at current

  • Alreet

    OMFG. Can we as a club not speculate and give a projection on ins and outs over a longer period then buy in accordance with who we have on the books and who we have up for sale.

    All the loan fees wages and so on will always be a thing but a better businessman wouldnt hold out till the last week in Jan to do any business.

    If the Blank Cheque quote from ash is correct then reading between the lines he sees the relegation threat again and knows that the place wont sell half as well in the championship and deffo not for 350mil or whatever. He needs to sell and needs us in the prem.
    Looking further into it PCP may have played a better game so far. Considering they have come out and been honest about what they were offering and what was on the table. Ash didnt want it in the papers but guess what ash you are the owner of one of the more famous clubs in the land and we get so much bad press the media love to hate us now so it was always going to happen.

    I love watching ash squirm but i so wish this saga was over so we can get back to football.

    BTW rafa…..bet you didnt think you would be involved in such a soap opera wen you crossed the tyne.

    • Down Under Mag

      Yeah but by all accounts of what has been “revealed” he has a clause in his contract basically stating he needs to cough up 6m quid (or another club does) if he leaves with more than 12 months remaining on his contract. Goes a long way to explain why he is still here…

  • Down Under Mag

    I’m not a big advocate for January spending. Sure we managed to grab Sissoko in once upon a time that helped us in our survival battle, but generally what you end up with from January is expensive signings on inflated wages with inevitable release clauses shoudl we still go down and very little value for money. However, in our current predicament, should Ashley actually want to keep the club up for his golden hand shake from either the TV people or a potential investor then he needs to sanction some signings before the window shuts. Even a few loan moves, while likely on large salaries, coudl well be the difference to keep us up.