Rafa Benitez had a number of players lined up to join Newcastle United last summer (2017) as soon as the transfer window opened.

The United boss using his experience and contacts to add vital new signings to a squad newly promoted from the Championship.

Rafa even decided to knock a holiday on the head, in order to get his preparation work done, to make sure these players could be brought in quickly, to head off interest from elsewhere.

Mike Ashley blocked these early moves.

Instead, Rafa was then playing catch-up as with his early plans shattered, he was then left competing against the other clubs for the players he needed.

With Mike Ashley allowing a far lower net spend than clubs such as Brighton and Huddersfield, it was a near impossible job to bring in the necessary quality.

Rafa later said that he couldn’t even compete with the other two clubs when it came to competing on wages.

The Newcastle Manager also made reference once the 2017 summer transfer closed, to the fact that it wasn’t just the amount of money available to spend that was important, Benitez making clear that freedom to wheel and deal and get deals done when he wanted it to happen, was just as important.

The key message being that to get an advantage over the opposition, who had more money to spend, was to act early and get signings made before it became an auction that Newcastle were almost certain to lose on any given player.

This morning has seen details of an interview Rafa Benitez gave in Spain made public.

The Newcastle boss talking to a group of journalists about the possibilities moving forward. Rafa talked a lot about making sure mistakes of the past weren’t repeated at the club, especially with regard to bringing in the necessary quality this summer.

This interview has been very much seen as the NUFC Manager getting in early to tell Mike Ashley of his expectations this summer, after three transfer windows on the bounce where Rafa was left furious at the end of each of them and went public with his unhappiness.

Having had a look at various dates this summer, it isn’t difficult to see why Rafa Benitez is getting stuck in early, in sending a message to the club’s owner.

Last summer was bad enough when it came to the position Ashley put Benitez in – but this coming summer there is really no time for messing about.

Just have a look at these dates:

13 May 2018 – The 2017-18 Premier League season ends

28 May 2018 – Pre-World Cup friendlies begin

9 June 2018 – Pre-World Cup friendlies end

9 June 2018 – Summer transfer window opens

14 June 2018 – World Cup 2018 begins

15 July 2018 – World Cup 2018 ends

9 August 2018 – Summer transfer window closes (at 5pm)

10 August 2018 – The 2018-19 Premier League season begins

Basically, after Newcastle play their next match (31 March at home to Huddersfield), you then have six weeks until the end of the Premier League season (13 May).

Then less than four weeks later the Summer transfer window opens (9 June).

However, to complicate matters, there will be international friendlies going on during that period, so many potential transfer targets will be kept busy.

From the transfer window opening on 9 June, this season you now have only two months later both the transfer window closing (5pm on Thursday 9 August) and the Premier League kicking off (Friday 10 August).

If Rafa Benitez is messed about by Ashley once again, then it could be catastrophic.

All of the above is also without even then factoring in the possibility of a takeover happening at long last.

If that is going to actually happen, then Mike Ashley has to get a deal sorted ASAP once safety is assured this season. It will really be unforgivable if Newcastle ended up heading into the transfer window with signings delayed due to waiting for agreement on buying and selling Newcastle United.

Obviously an overwhelming number of fans want to see this takeover happen but we could do without any repeat of the type of circus Ashley set in motion, when waiting until a couple of months into this current season before putting the club up for sale. That proving undoubtedly a distraction for players, manager and fans, as Newcastle ended up going on a run of only one point from a possible 27.

A win against Huddersfield should then see plans being put in place as to what is intended to happen, ahead of eventual safety being achieved.

Forward planning isn’t something Mike Ashley has ever agreed to at Newcastle United but it is desperately needed ahead of this summer.

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  • Rich Lawson

    Rafa’ is a class bloke and will do nothing to disrupt our current season,but if the ownership is sitll poisoness in the summer,I do believe he can walk without penalty in the last year of his contract ?

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Fatso`s isn`t going to change, it`s a new owner or more of the same

      • Jezza

        Fatso’s only going to get worse. After 11 years of spending absolute peanuts in the transfer market there is now going to be a complete embargo on any player purchases with only loan signings coming in.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Is there? You know this because you have a proven track record of being right about errrrm, nothing at all. In fact you have a proven track record of repeatedly lying.

    • Kneebotherm8

      I believe you’re right on that.

  • Leazes.

    Loan Deals only Mathew! and they always come late because clubs try to sell players first or only loan them to clubs they aren’t competing with, and as Ashley has stated a reluctance to let the club spend its own income will mean more of the same….

    …. a squad positioned in the dog fight zone!

    I don’t understand why Benitez has not figured it out yet he’s not daft? If he has figured the ‘United Protocol’ then he’s taking everyone for a ride

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Perfect summation

    • Desree

      I had a dream last week that I was playing for NUFC. You ever had a dream that was so vivid you kept questioning if it actually happened?

      Don’t be daft I said, then I watched how bad the Hoss is and convinced myself the dream is real!

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      Ok, put up or shut up. If we stay up, I will bet you that we will buy 2 players in the Summer for more than £10m. I have a bet with Desree for £100 that we stay up so I’ll place that £100 on the bet.

      Money where your mouth is Leazes, go on.

  • Wor Monga

    Rafa’s drawing a line in the sand…that he won’t accept any glib assurances, and false promises with nothing to back them up like the last two summers he faced…this time he can walk away without any monetary obligation, and he’s making it known to Ashley now, in no uncertain terms…that he must either sell soon or use the TV money in the correct manner to the betterment of the club by investing in some quality players or face the future without him as manager…

    …No manager/ coach of the type that Ashley could attract would be able to keep this squad in the PL owing to the fact that many of our best players would be agitating to leave, and the support base would probably be in open revolt…which would leave the club toxic again in the eyes of any buyers especially the only one that showed any interest (Staveley) the last time…

    …It’s now time for Ashley to put up or shut up…as the saying goes!!!

    • Jezza

      “Ashley…..must either sell soon or use
      the TV money in the correct manner to the betterment of the club by
      investing in some quality players or face the future without him [Rafa] as

      The problem is that Ashley will be glad to see the back of Rafa because it will enable him to bring his pet puppet Pardew back on a quarter of the salary and no pressure for transfer spending.

      • Wezza147

        And for Pardew to use the infamous phrase “We just couldn’t get them over the line”

      • thewildchimp

        I sincerely hope that he isn’t so stupid as to induce certain relegation next season! I mean: he should remember there was a reason why he sacked him in the first place…

        • Jezza

          That’s the thing though, Pardew wasn’t sacked was he. He should have been and long before he left too but when he did go it was to take the Crystal Palace job. As far as Ashley is concerned, Pardew has got a track record of keeping Newcastle in the Premiership with no money to spend and his best players constantly sold from under him. More important than that is that Pardew will never rock the boat, always toe the party line and is happy to act as a PR spokesman for Ashley.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    It never ceases to amaze me that after 11 yrs of sheer Hell under the Fat lad that the media & some fans expect him to change his ways.

    • Come&TakeIt1836

      I expect money to be spent and, no, I don’t expect him to change.

      As I always have contended in posts, follow the cash. I predicted (here or in the Chron) little to no spend the last two windows and that is what has happened. There was no cash and it could be predicted there would be no cash. There was cash in the two windows prior to relegation and a lot of money was spent. There was not significant cash in the many years while the club’s finances were getting straightened out and he did not authorize much to be spent.

      So, if he is being consistent with past spending behaviors, significant money will be spent because significant amounts of cash will be available beginning in May. Certainly an active and imminent ‘selling-of-the-club’ process can derail things.

      It can very much be in doubt if the lessons have been learned in acting quickly. There is certainly no history suggesting that to be the case. It is also not clear if he trusts Rafa with football decisions more than his own self or staff. He has been burned by other ‘football’ folks but it is hard to understand why he would be holding back from Rafa. He needs to learn these lessons and get with Rafa’s program immediately.

  • 1957

    Ashley won’t have sold the club by the time the window closes, so we’re really talking about the maximum 4 loan deals at best

  • Rabid Dog

    Rafa will be poached by another club with owners who subscribe to his philosophy with his professional reputation intact and self respect for doing all he could with a club run like a market stall.

    Any players we go after will not be caught up in the world cup friendlies or proper.

  • Paul Patterson

    ‘ . . to get an advantage over the opposition, who had more money to spend, was to act early and get signings made before it became an auction that Newcastle were almost certain to lose on any given player’
    That’s part of the Ashley/Charnley plan. Turn it into an auction so that the club can be priced out and therefore not spend what’s required.

  • Scottie Chugger Dearden

    Knowing Ashley he’ll try and get Mitrovic on loan!

  • We should definitely hold for 1-2 quality additions from the WC which might be overlooked by a lot of teams (like Tiote was)

    • Leazes.

      Loan players only from now.

      • Jezza

        Yes and there’s no way the club will be looking at anybody who’s playing in the World Cup anyway.

      • Fireman Sam

        Or reserves from clubs who couldn’t fill the Milburn stand

      • thewildchimp

        No, no, Ashley lied every time so far, so it can’t be true. At least I hope so…

  • Jezza

    You can guarantee that the Ashley camp will seize upon the shorter transfer wondow as the perfect ready made excuse for not spending any of the Lascelles and Mitrovic money.

    • Fireman Sam

      Well, we have recruited Palaces reserve striker and Stokes reserve striker. We can’t afford Leicesters reserve striker.

      So my prediction would be maybe Shane Long in on loan from Southampton or maybe a back up striker from Bournmouth?

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      Maybe one of the Ashley camp will offer a bet with you that the net spend will be positive, and you can offer say, £1 for every £10 net spend in the summer. When / if you get it spectacularly wrong, you can welch on the deal and block the person so you think they will go away,

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Ashley will spend every penny in the bank to buy players but the more the fans protest the less chance of him putting even more money in the club and who could blame him the way the fans and this site treat him. You wish for a new owner no chance with the way the fans protest.

    • Dingus

      Wow. I’m surprised to see such a post from yourself. Your claims that Ashley could be so bitter and petty really goes to show that even the Ashley apologists can’t stand the man. It hardly takes a particularly clever person to know that investing fully in (at bare minimum) the first team squad and academy reaps greater rewards than playing second tier football 20% of the time and not even trying to compete the rest of the time. A fact I’m sure you’re familiar with. Which goes to show that you also realise he is not only callous and narrow-minded, but stupid. Good on you.

    • nufcslf

      No he won’t…….

    • Fireman Sam

      Well with an extra £100m tv money banked this season there shouldn’t be any problem should there?

  • Dillon Tovak

    If anyone is on instagram, check out my football page footy_bantz_18

  • nufcslf

    I wish he would f**kin’ hit him, it would take one thing off my bucket list.

  • Desree

    Rafa is saying – if you want me come and get me.

  • Fireman Sam

    Assuming we stay up there can be no excuses this time, there must be at least £60 million available to Rafa. If Fat Ashley does not allow Rafa to bring in a couple of forwards or sell up, his life must be made hell by all Newcastle supporters.

  • FatParosite

    More squeezing from Ashley and more cow towing from feckless fans who don’t have the stomach to protest. It’s a vicious circle that Ashley relies on to make his money from the club. Everyone knows it, 50k accept it & those 50k have it in their power to stop it. Unfortunately it has become like the US gun lobby and the US Government. They will never learn because those who actively want the status quo have all the power.