Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of his biggest fans.

I think Newcastle are privileged to have such a great manager. Especially when you consider the people he has to deal with at the top of the club.

But in my humble opinion, Rafa Benitez lost us two points against Bournemouth.

We were fine as a team, everyone doing their job, we were on top at two up and looking set for a win – even a third goal.

On sixty four minutes we substitute Kenedy, bring on Atsu, fine – like for like.

Not sure if Kenedy tires quick, or it’s a keep players happy thing? But no harm done.

We then on seventy eight minutes hand Bournemouth the advantage, we remove Gayle and bring on Isaac Hayden.

If you needed to make a substitution why not Joselu? Still attacking but better at corners.

We have just basically shouted to the Bournemouth players that we are scared they might score. And of course two minutes later they did.

A great goal to boot, I can’t see too much wrong with the players for that one.

At the very least why wasn’t it Merino for Gayle? Give them something to think about.

We then take off yet another attacking, but also hard working, player in Matt Ritchie and put on another defender…

They end up in each other’s way and not marking, guess what? Gosling is unmarked and scores.

Sorry Rafa mate, you need to hold your hand up on this two points lost, after a fine team performance with the defence looking solid.

We would/should have won 2-1, or maybe even 3-1, not two bloody two.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Bournemouth 2 Newcastle 2

Goals: 

Newcastle: Gayle 17 and 45+1

Bournemouth: Smith 80 Gosling 89

Possession was Bournemouth 64% Newcastle 36%

Total shots were Bournemouth 18 Newcastle 15

Shots on target were Bournemouth 5 Newcastle 4

Corners were  Bournemouth 8 Newcastle 1

Referee: Roger East

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie (Manquillo 84) , Diame, Shelvey, Kenedy (Atsu 64), Gayle (Hayden 78), Perez

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Clark, Merino, Joselu

Crowd: 10,808 (Approx Newcastle 1,400)

(Instinct reaction from NUFC fans/writers to the match HERE)

(Eddie Howe reaction to the game HERE)

(Rafa defends his substitutions after later Newcastle collapse – Read HERE)

(Give us your player ratings HERE)

(Alan Shearer accentuates the Jonjo Shelvey positives – Read HERE)

To feature like Richard Birs submit your article to [email protected] and/or for more info go here



  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    I wouldn`t drop the result solely on Rafa`s toes but how many premiership managers would drop 2 points when leading by 2 goals with 10 mins left on the clock

    • Jezza

      It happens all the time.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        problem is, it always happens to us, it`s not a one off

  • Rich Lawson

    His substitutions are often questionable in there timing and effectiveness,but they didn’t stop Shelvey or Perez wrapping things up from sitter’s at 2-0 ?

  • Andrew Brown

    completely disagree. no-one called rafa out when he made these kind of subs when it paid off (against west ham for eg.)
    the players, like shelvey, need to take the blame for me.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      they are all to blame, players, manager, everyone.

      • Obnoxious Andy

        But mainly Rafa. Ooooh I’ve got a champions league medal. Well why doesn’t he win every flipping match for us then…GOD 😤

    • Phil

      100% shelvey and Perez cost us at 0-2. To easy to blame the manager. He can’t help poor finishing and laziness

      • Whitehurst

        Totally agree!!

      • Jimblag23

        And Atsu. Completely fluffed the timing of the pass.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        did you watch the full game, we were 2 up because of Shelvey`s play
        slipped your mind

    • Jezza

      Ashley needs to take 100% of all the blame for refusing to dip into the profits so that Rafa could have the funds for adequate Premiership players.

      • East Durham Mag

        Hit the bullseye there Jezza.

  • Wor Monga

    Aye…I knew we should have had you managing the lads for this one, and all the others who knew better and would have done different…

    …nobody wants to throw away a 2 goal lead, even would you believe, Rafa, and there’s no reason to push for more goals when we’ve set up the team to defend like they did against Man U who could’ve hit us much harder than Bournemouth could…we showed there how to successfully defend a one goal lead, and wrap it up…

    …Down there on Saturday players who should have been working hard covering weren’t…they weren’t getting back and in their faces, and putting bodies in the way that’s what cost us…not the substitutions…they just didn’t close off the game like they did in the last one!!!

    • mentalman

      its the same old players not doing the tracking back etc, do they get dropped the following match, no for some reason and then you have some players who can’t get on the subs bench following a few good games and others who aren’t even given a chance

  • ghostrider

    Good article and to the point.
    Plain and simple that Rafa messed up. It would be nice if he just admitted it.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      😂😂

    • Obnoxious Andy

      Rafa is a naughty boy.
      Why no Mitro!?
      He’s really dropped the ball on this one.
      He should have brought on more strikers at the end!
      I’m angry and want Rafa to apologise to me. Ruined my weekend.

      • ghostrider

        Let’s hope his apology comes in the way of him making sure we do not allow Liverpool to walk all over us without us giving them a bleeding nose.

  • Jimblag23

    What I don’t get is the constant Rafa messed up, he should come out and apologise, own up to his mistake bleating.
    If Perez and Shelvey score their sitters we’re winning 0-4 and the exact same tactics and substitutions are seen as genius from the mastermind.
    We’re so reactive as fans.
    It’s a game of fine margins, we have a championship squad for the most part and we’re not in deep doo-doo with ten games to go.
    Stick behind the team and not wallow in the negatives. If we get something from Liverpool, Rafa will be a god again. If we get battered, a return of the knives to his back.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      If, if, if,
      if Man U had of taken their chances we would have been hammered
      you see anyone blaming Sanchez, Martial or Lukaku. No

      • Obnoxious Andy

        Rafa should be sacked. Why didn’t he recall Mitro at half time and bring him on to save us!?
        Look how he scored later that day.
        Proves he’d be our saviour.

        • robbersdog

          What a stupid comment; everyone nows that Rafa should’ve brought on Pelé and George Best.

        • Leazes.

          …because he’s a bloody Fulham player perhaps?

          • Obnoxious Andy

            Mitro would score every game if we recalled him and got a new manager, someone great like Redknapp or Pardew would be fantastic 😎

          • Leazes.

            I’m blocking you.

          • Obnoxious Andy

            Noooooooooooo 😢

            Not a fan of sarcasm eh?

          • paul mclaughlan

            There’re undiscovered tribes in the Amazon basin who knew you were being sarcastic. Must be Leazes time of month.

          • Dillon Tovak

            He’s being ironic me thinks Leazes.

          • Leazes.

            too late.

          • Jimblag23

            I’m finding his taking the P out of the Rafa out Mitro hypers mildly amusing personally.
            They are clowns.

          • Lakeland Mag

            A troll who doesn’t even pretend to be anything else. Troll baiting can be quite fun at times, but you’re just silly.

      • MadMag83

        But they were blaming Smalling and Jones for conceding the goal……

    • Ram Kishore

      Shelvey just missed one sitter and Perez missed one… So what..players miss chances..it happens..
      But u were right about subs.. it wasn’t a balanced one..
      Managers do make mistakes..so chill

  • robbersdog

    There’s no such thing as the perfect manager; they’re all prone to making bad substitutions and bad signings, and Rafa Benitez is no different. But I think Rafa’s great; he’s done a bloody brilliant job considering the financial constraints imposed on him.

    • MadMag83

      Some of the idiots on here must have been amongst the Sir Bobby out bunch of retarded retards. You can’t​ reason with stupid unfortunately.

  • S.G.M.

    Writing pieces like that your going to make yourself some fans!

  • TheFatController

    So players come on, get in each others’ way, and the players have no responsibility and are not to blame at all?

    They are a young inexperienced side and it shows at times. Times like Saturday late on.

    The substitutions left us with Atsu Perez and Shelvey on, enough to keep any team on their toes for the counter if everyone did their jobs. I fail to see how it was completely negative from Rafa when he had those three on at the end? Are they renouned defenders ?