Rafa Benitez has given a very interesting interview that is clearly aimed at Mike Ashley.

Speaking to a group of journalists whilst out in Spain, the Newcastle Manager says that it is clear Newcastle United weren’t doing things right, as they were heading down.

Indeed the previous few seasons had seen pretty much a constant struggle against potential relegation, after the previous promotion and then surprise fifth place finish, was totally wasted.

A crying shame, that the momentum was halted by Mike Ashley at such a crucial point.

Moving forward, after getting promotion once again and if Newcastle stay up, Rafa Benitez says that the club (Mike Ashley!) ‘cannot make the same mistakes again…’.

Rafa talks about being able to improve what he has already got, as we have seen this season.

However, he also talks about needing the right ‘tools’ to do the job.

Rafa Benitez declares ‘I came here with the idea to compete, to create a strong team and strong club, to compete every year.’

He is realistic though and says that to build success takes time, by gradually establishing yourself higher and higher up the league.

The bottom line though is that this kind of gradual improvement can only come by having the right manager in place and with sensible investment.

After being messed around by Mike Ashley in these past three transfer windows (after making a £40m profit for Ashley/NUFC in his first one), with all buys blocked by Mike Ashley in two of them and only a very small net spend in the other, it is very difficult to imagine Rafa Benitez putting himself in a position of being messed around by Mike Ashley this summer.

With Newcastle having given themselves a great chance of staying up and even the bookies now rating them as high as 14/1 to go down, Rafa is getting close to completing the safety task for this season.

As he is now making clear to Ashley though, this now has to be backed up by proper investment in the summer.

Something has to give, either Mike Ashley has to start and do things properly, or sell up to the Amanda Staveley bidders, Floyd Mayweather...or whoever.

Rafa Benitez:

“Have I enjoyed being the manager of Newcastle?

“I enjoy it when we are winning.

“I like to do well, to do things well, and when you can see that something is right…I am really proud of that.

“But it is difficult to enjoy it when you are suffering all the time – because you have to win and then you lose.

“The problem in football is that sometimes, you take the responsibility for the mistakes of others.

“I am sure we can improve the players, improve the team and improve the squad.

“We can improve some departments and if we do this, then we will be stronger, and then I will enjoy it more.

“Have I enjoyed this season?

“No, but maybe the word ‘enjoyment’ is different in English…I am really pleased with my job. I like it.

“But enjoyment is when you score eight goals in the Champions League against Besiktas, a record.

“When I hear the supporters singing my name, it makes me very proud, but I also feel that responsibility to do well for them.

“Someone has to make the decisions, someone has to take responsibility.

“If something is wrong, you have to change [it], but [if] you don’t have all the tools that you want…

“It’s not that I am right in every decision but what is clear is that if you want to be stronger, we have to improve and we have to change things.

“I came here with the idea to compete, to create a strong team and strong club, to compete every year.

“What we have to do if we stay up, is improve. What I said when I said I wanted to stay [after relegation in 2016], was that I could see the potential for this club to be in the top 10 and even higher.

“Higher could be top eight but it doesn’t mean can be there one year after finishing 15th for three years in a row.

“You have to be top 10, then top eight, then top seven, six…it depends on consistency.

“The way Newcastle United were doing things [before I arrived] doesn’t mean that they were right, because they were going down.

“We have now had the chance to go up, we cannot make the same mistakes again…”



  • Peaky Magpie

    Get ready and brace yerselves lads for the reply from Fatso on Sky……

    • TheFatController

      ‘Rafa can have every penny….from the back of my sofa’

      • Kneebotherm8

        Did he even get that much……..

  • Damon Horner

    Come on Rafa it’s unreasonable to expect to challenge in the market against countries. Just take your Joselu and win the league man!

    • Fireman Sam

      We are expected to be happy with the reserve strikers from Palace, Stoke and Leicester

  • Down Under Mag

    Ashley sells up or Rafa walks. It’s simples…

    • Fireman Sam

      And if Rafa walks Ashley wins. If Rafa stays Ashley wins. There will be no investment in the summer and the fat man will not sell up. Ashley is making good money out of Newcastle and has no reason to sell up. If Rafa leaves the fat man will put in someone like pulis and we will be back to square one.

      • TheFatController

        Just to pint out, I’ve noticed on here if you say Ashley is making good money, you get his apologists saying he has put money in, not taken it out.

        What you have to use therefore is the fact that, as he owns shares in a huge sports retail brand that gets promoted heavily in high frequency association and free stadium advertising, his increased financial worth and the retail outlet’s higher profile make it hugely advantageous to Ashley to own the club, allied to any profit he may make in the eventual sale.

        It won’t stop the apologists but it’ll stop people having to reply to them with these facts!

        • Down Under Mag

          If Rafa goes we go down next season…we won’t get anyone in who will have the nouse to keep us up without any significant investment.

          As for the Ashley apologists…i’ve stopped paying attention. You can’t reason with these people – it’s like those who still go on that the earth is flat or that vaccinations cause autism…

          • Wezza147

            Ashley has taken millions out of the club. (Cue the Ashley shills) and everyone knows it. Where is the TV money? Why is it now all loans as Ashley won’t spend money – but isn’t it the clubs money? What more proof is needed?
            As for the Ashley apologists/employees/shills you’re all blocked so don’t bother replying with your lies and nobody here believes you.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            See no evil?

        • Kneebotherm8

          He’s no good samaratin…….he’s been in it,from day one,to make money………that’s plain as day to most.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Nothing wrong with that, surely?

        • Damon Horner

          You could imply a correlation between the wealth of him, SD and the existence of advertising but not prove the direct association. There are answers to anything if you think hard enough.

          We know his game though, took nothing out, done nothing wrong and added money in to the club and we’re just ungrateful while he and his company thrives while our club stagnates.

          • Cockneytrev

            Ashley was worth £950 mil when he bought NUFC, he is now worth upwards of £3 billion, his company is now a world wide brand that gets advertising free of charge (in fact he gets payed of Sky and various other tv companies around the world to do it), it wasn’t before he took over, its not proof of the correlation, but it has imo you would have to be very naive to think that it has not played a significant factor in the rise of his company…
            (To all the Ashley hoop lickers don’t reply to me as I haven’t got the energy to listen to your 💩 And won’t reply)

          • Damon Horner

            Fully agree, to the Ashley fan club though there is nothing that proves that connection, more ignorance than naivety in most cases, so the responses to TheFatController’s comment will keep coming, think Jezza has the right idea though, just block them out!

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Jezza is too stupid to debate and keeps posting lies.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            If that were true, would it not be far cheaper to just pay for perimeter advertising at grounds rather than put £275m of hi own money to advertise something he owns 55pc of?

            I don’t think you’ve thought this through.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Furthermore, if that were true, clubs would charge a lot more direct perimeter advertising than they curtently get.

        • HarryHype59

          Whilst the club is in the top flight it earns around £109m minimum from TV income!

          It is the TV money that is keeping the club afloat,not Ashley.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Of course you are right. The Mike Ashley investment steadied the ship and of course it relies on it’s income streams to operate.

            I don’t see the problem with that.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I thought Ashley trousered or pocketed the TV money?

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          If that’s the aim, it’s an awfully expensive way of advertising. He owns 55pc of SD. So, you think he’s thrown in £275m of his personal money to advertise something he owns 55% of? By that reckoning, here have been better off getting all the shareholders to lend £500m (£275m ÷ 0.55) to go towards marketing. At least that would be tax deductible.

          In short, I think you are barking up the wrong tree here.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        He’s not made a penny yet. He only makes money if he sells the club.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    The season Ashley arrived we were only five points off relegation. This season we should have been well clear of relegation but for lack of concentration and stupid mistakes. We are a better team than Burnley and Bournemouth just need to be more professional next season and add three or four players and Rafa knows that.

    • TheFatController

      In fairness, I’m pretty sure every manager can look back on points lost in a season through various factors that they’d like to polish up on.

    • Wor Lass

      Rafa knew that before this season started and he told your hero several times – but he didn`t listen. We still haven`t replaced Demba Ba!

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        We`re not going to replace him any time soon either

    • Damon Horner

      we finished 13th then and we’re 13th now, not really progression when you consider we’ve also been relegated twice in that time.

      Whereas lack of concentration and mistakes could have seen us higher, arguably we’ve capitalised on others mistakes to pick up results as well. I don’t think this team is top ten material.

      • Paul Patterson

        If we’d had Kenedy and Dubravka (or the likes of) from the start of the season I’m confident that we’d be top 10. We’re only 5 points off top 10 now.

        • Damon Horner

          Maybe I’ve been misunderstood, I meant nobody, even with Dubravka and Kenedy would then believe top ten should be a minimum target, it’s possible to finish there because the league is so tight, I don’t think many teams outside of Leicester/Everton and the teams at the top would have expected top ten as a minimum target.

          • Paul Patterson

            True. Just a little investment and with Rafa this club could be top 10 certs.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            How much is a little?

      • Jezza

        Top ten in the Championship maybes.

    • East Durham Mag

      Or lack of quality and a proper honest owner.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Lack of concentration & mistakes are down to the fact the players we have lack quality, Dimwit

    • HarryHype59

      If, maybe,could have, should have;

      I dare say fans of other EPL relegation fodder teams are saying the same things.

  • Kneebotherm8

    Nobody tells Ashley what to do…….you’re wasting your breath Rafa….but at least when you walk,we’ll all know why you walked……not that we need reminding..

  • TOOOOOOON

    see’ya rafa…..and welcome back pardew!

    i hope ashley loses every penny he has,and has to give tramps blozzers for a drink of white lightning

  • East Durham Mag

    Rafa your totally right and that is what we the supporters want (apart from the Ashley Hoop Lickers Club). However the Fat One doesn’t give a hoot as he has no affinity with Club or fan’s and never will. Our hope is that he sell’s and we get a decent owner but as he has proven on a multitude of occasions he is a liar and can renage on promises even ones made on International television. ASHLEY OUT.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    The Fat Lad has stated his position & nothing Rafa say`s will make any difference.
    the clubs up for sale & not a penny will be spent

  • MadMag83

    “The problem in football is that sometimes you take responsibility for the mistakes of others”

    Ouch! 😂

    Over to you Ashley.

    • Paul Patterson

      I’m not sure that was directly aimed at Ashley. I think it was probably aimed at Carr, Charnley and previous managers . .

      • MadMag83

        All employed by Ashley, is Charnley not his right hand man? Was Carr not his golden boy when he was unearthing cheap French talent? Was he not directly involved in the disastrous appointments of Kinnear, Carver and McLaren? Anybody with even half a brain knew they were terrible decisions. Apart from Ashley as it turned out.

      • mactoon

        It’s aimed directly at Ashley who pulls the strings with only Charnley being responsible for transfer activity.. under Ashley’s direction. Rafa knows this.

  • Alex

    With Penfold and ‘the Board’ having ready made excuses like “players away on holiday” and “nothing will happen until after the World Cup”, I anticipate a long, weary summer transfer window.

    • MadMag83

      Charnley is the board

      • Dillon Tovak

        His heads made of board.

      • Alex

        No, he’s the nominee ‘puppet’. The ‘board’ aren’t actually on the board. ;-)

  • Alan Pardew

    I think our fans are realistic – they know the top six is beyond us.

  • Rich Lawson

    There is a double page spread of this in the back of The Mirror today.Quite apart from the usual transfer/does he walk guff is a run through of Rafa’s normal 12 hour + day at the club and how he researches the next game.It’s a good read.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      That will be a first for that rag.

  • Vodkamagpie

    This season proves that the level of premier league to championship teams have narrowed considerably. If we do survive the drop, with the likes of Huddersfield and Brighton, that would be a huge statement of long serving teams in the premier league mismanagement of funds, leadership. Closest premier league relegation scrap ever, as a owner of a club in this battle, and most likely an every season battle, how would you go forward?. Most common answer from Newcastle fans would be spend money, but that’s not the answer. You have to prepare the club as if you were going to be relegated the following season, financially wise. That is should be the priority of every club, secondly must be building a team, and to build the right team you must, have a world class manager. We got one of those, can we keep him happy with the funds we give him. You would assume the longer we stay in the premier league, the greater funds will be available.

    • MadMag83

      Some good points mate, I agree that teams should have a plan in place for relegation. I also think that clubs need to think longer term and allow managers time to build a team, even if they do get relegated. Burnley went down with Dyche but they kept him and look at them now. Not saying it’s any guarantee of success but chopping and changing managers will catch up with a team in the end. Just look at Sunderland.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        Can you think of any other club that went down and kept hold of their manager to implement a long term strategy?

        It sounds like a good plan.

    • Cockneytrev

      What should be put in place, is a viable commercial structure, maximising the world wide exposure that the club has received, this has stagnated under the present ownership and has been caught up and overtaken by several clubs, we have punched well below our weight due to the owner using the club as a platform for his own agenda, until this is addressed we will never be able to compete on a level platform in the premier league.

      • mactoon

        It will never be addressed while he is here

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      Exactly , most on here will never understand.

  • Shipcote Willy

    Rafa is wasting his breath sending messages to Ashley who is oblivious to anything other than his own agenda. He won’t sell the club as he is asking well above expert market value. If we stay up it will be another summer of frustration and it must be doubtful that Rafa will stay. If Ashley can’t sell he would probably welcome Rafa walking so he can replace him with a cheaper more compliant manager and normal service will be resumed. No sale equals more misery.