Sunderland’s tale of woe is one which could have quite easily been Newcastle United’s.

The mackems are now at least seven points (will be eight if Barnsley win their game in hand) adrift of Championship safety in 23rd, with just five games to play including against title-chasing Wolves and in-form Fulham.

The parallels between Sunderland and Newcastle just a year apart are both contrasting and eye-opening. Sunderland look as though they will succumb to relegation to League One this month, while twelve months ago Newcastle were securing passage back to the Premier League.

However, the tales of the two are not so different. Two owners who had systematically neglected the clubs for a prolonged period of time through lacklustre investment, while demonstrating apathy and indifference to the plight of the respective fanbases.

Newcastle’s relegation in 2016 could have spelled the end for one of English football’s most historic clubs. Sunderland’s Premier League relegation in 2017 shared similar elements; a dejected base of supporters, the prospect of away trips to the likes of Burton Albion, and the vast sea of unknown that stood before them.

The main difference was Rafa Benitez.

When Newcastle’s relegation was confirmed, it would have been very easy for the Spaniard to wash his hands of a club he had tried to help in vain, that was headed in one direction, a club he held no affinity or connection to. Why would a manager of his pedigree and stature stick around to manage a Championship club when he could quite easily get another job elsewhere, fighting for trophies both domestic and international.

The fear of losing Benitez was very real.

Newcastle were lucky in the sense that they already had Benitez; Sunderland on the other hand were never afforded that luxury – having to stomach David Moyes until the bitter end of a 2016/17 campaign that had begun with the Scot stating that the club were in a relegation battle, before a ball had been kicked.

The palpable fear was only accentuated when the names linked with the presumably soon-to-be vacant Newcastle job were bandied about. Then-jobless Nigel Pearson and dissatisfied then-Hull boss Steve Bruce were enough to send shivers down any Newcastle supporter’s spine, but who else was better? These were men with ‘track records’ in the Championship and would ‘steady the ship’.

Once again, it is impossible to definitively state that Newcastle would have been League One-bound had they appointed somebody else following Benítez’s anticipated departure, but it is highly unlikely that they would be in the comparatively healthy position they are in now.

However, Sunderland made a similar appointment in the summer of their relegation from the Premier League. Former Leeds United and Preston North End boss Simon Grayson was drafted in to ‘steady the ship’. A manager with a ‘track record’ in the Championship.

Grayson was unable to rid the club of the malaise that had surrounded it over recent seasons. He was unable to drum out the losing mentality that had been instilled in the players at the club. Crucially, he was also unable to rid the club of the deadwood that had been accumulated over the years. The players on huge contracts, such as Jack Rodwell, Darron Gibson and Lamine Koné.

While many publicly made it known their desire to leave Sunderland, it was the ones who were more than satisfied to collect their wages and fail to take any responsibility for the position the club found itself in, that would do the most damage, both financially and institutionally.

rafa benitez

Chris Coleman was soon at the helm of a club in crisis, but even the man who guided the unfancied Wales to the semi-final of the European Championships in 2016, has been proven to be incapable of stopping the rot.

At face value, Grayson and Coleman were not bad appointments by any stretch and objectively speaking, had Newcastle lost Benitez in the summer of 2016, Pearson and Bruce would not have been terrible appointments either. Pragmatic and practical they would have been…but nothing in comparison to Rafa Benitez.

By the end of this season – 19 months after first joining – Bruce will be relying on the play-offs to guide Aston Villa back to the Premier League elite. That’s three games to define a season, to potentially define his stint at the Midlands side, and to save an overspending club from having to massively cut costs.

Elsewhere, Nigel Pearson left Derby County less than three months into the 2016/17 season and is currently boss of Belgium First Division side OH Leuven.

Rafa Benitez stayed and revitalised a club that was destined for a rough ride in the Championship. From top to bottom, the job he did during the summer of 2016 was remarkable and it’s highly unlikely that anybody else could have come close to doing the job he has done to date.

Training ground makeover (on a limited Ashley budget), check.

Giving the fanbase belief, check.

Overhauling the playing squad, check.

This was all achieved in the first few months of his permanent tenure. He didn’t even take a holiday, such was the need for the shake-up and his enthusiasm towards the task at hand.

One of the first things on Benitez’ agenda was to sign characters who he deemed would be needed during the 46-game season. Key members of Newcastle’s Class of 2016/17 would not have shown any interest in joining the club that summer if it weren’t for Benitez.

In contrast, Sunderland struggled in the transfer window immediately following relegation. With few saleable assets, the requirement to pay £10m for a player that no longer played for the club, and an owner unwilling to provide Grayson with any money for new players, it was slim pickings. Players like Wahbi Khazri, Jeremain Lens and Fabio Borini were all shipped out, but only on loan and therefore at least in part still on the wage bill.

In came plenty of cut-price signings such as James Vaughan and free transfers such as Marc Wilson and Robbin Ruiter. With little option but to sign what was made available to them, it was little surprise that Sunderland struggled in a division where grit and determination win matches, rather than dazzling star quality. The team looked devoid of team spirit, of any characters, and most importantly of leaders. Despite the protestations of the likes of O’Shea and Cattermole, they fell on deaf ears, or ears of those who had little reason to care, in particular the loanees.

Plenty of Grayson’s signings were young players on loan deals, with little obligation to the club other than to be used as a stepping stone in their short careers to date. While not a young player, a prime example of recruits failing to commit to the cause was Lewis Grabban, still the club’s top scorer this season, who left the club in disarray in January, to sign for Aston Villa on loan instead.

rafa benitez

To think that that would have been possible at Newcastle is frightening, but Benitez was someone who ensured Newcastle would not find themselves in that position. A team of hard-workers, devoid of prima donnas and big egos, was assembled. While Sunderland retained Cattermole and O’Shea, the old heads who were supposed to care about the club, Newcastle and Benitez continued the shake-up.

The then 22-year-old Jamaal Lascelles was named club captain despite plenty of players in the squad being many years his senior. Lascelles commanded respect immediately and took the leadership role in his stride, which has undoubtedly made him into the player we see today on the cusp of an England call-up, who holds together the United defence.

Matt Ritchie was another character who was given a new lease of life by Benitez; although a risky one at that. A Bournemouth regular in the Premier League, he was persuaded to drop down a division by the Spaniard for another hard slog of a season in the Championship. A grafter if ever there was one. This included moving his young family the length of the UK, something often forgotten about when discussing footballers and transfers. He was up to the challenge and so were plenty more.

Whether it be because of Rafa’s influence or that he commanded their respect, Newcastle were in good hands with a manager and playing staff with a common goal and a common vision. Where Sunderland have faltered this season, Newcastle thrived, but it could have been all so different.

Dwight Gayle was another player earmarked by Benitez as a character and a worker who he wanted in his team. Not the most talented and never prolific in his career, Gayle was still dissatisfied with his opportunities being limited at Crystal Palace under Alan Pardew. The end result was a campaign where he managed to score on 23 occasions. Gayle showed ambition to drop down to the Championship and move to the North East when the comfortable life of a back-up striker in London was on his doorstep.

Speaking of true professionals, Daryl Murphy was yet another. Never heard complaining about his lack of game time due to Gayle’s form, Murphy was always on standby to deliver the goals when called upon. Vital wins at Brentford and Huddersfield wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the burly Irishman.

What was remarkable however, was the notion of Newcastle signing a player north of 28 at the time, never mind a 33-year-old striker. Benítez had a blueprint and he wasn’t going to shift from it. Murphy was a true professional and an important member of Newcastle’s promoted squad.

It would have been fairly easy for Newcastle not to have bounced back from their relegation even without the turmoil at board level and the animosity between fans and owner. Plenty of relegated teams end up becoming stalwarts of the second tier as it is a notoriously difficult league to traverse.

rafa benitez

Of the last six teams to be relegated from the Premier League, it is highly likely that only one will be playing their football there next season – Newcastle United.

Aston Villa and Norwich City were the two other sides relegated with Newcastle in 2016. Villa are reliant on the lottery of the play-offs for a return to the Premier League, while Norwich have somewhat sunk into mid-table mediocrity in the Championship.

Of the most recent relegated trio of Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hull City, Middlesbrough are the highest ranked team at present, clinging onto a 6th placed spot by their fingernails as their season looks to be derailing amidst pressure from teams beneath them. Sunderland’s League One-bound position has been well-documented while Hull City are yet to confirm their Championship status for next season, teetering in a precarious position above the drop zone.

Plenty of teams relegated from the Premier League are yet to return to regular top level action. Charlton Athletic, Bradford City, Ipswich Town, Portsmouth, Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers, all of whom are yet to return to the top flight. Derby County had one season in the dazzling Premier League sun in 2007/08 which ended in misery and have yet to return for longer than a year since their 2002 relegation. Norwich City appear to be settling as a Championship club once again, while Middlesbrough enjoyed one season of Premier League football before returning to the depths of the second tier after what had been almost a decade away.

It’s not easy to bounce back from a Premier League relegation, never mind at the first attempt.

It is quite evident in that case that what Newcastle and Rafa Benitez have achieved since then is nothing short of remarkable. Not only the fact that Newcastle were promoted back at the first attempt as Champions, but that Benitez has taken a club that was effectively on the brink, and transformed it into a club that can once again believe, all the while having one hand tied behind his back.

It is clear to see the benefits of the coaching and advice imparted to the likes of DeAndre Yedlin, Paul Dummett, Jamaal Lascelles and even Mo Diamé. In their respective roles in this Premier League team, they are all much better than when they first arrived on the scene of the Newcastle first team.

Paul Dummett was once told by previous manager Alan Pardew that he would never be good enough to play in his teams, but has been one of the most solid performers under Benitez, going from strength to strength.

rafa benitez

Jamaal Lascelles, a fringe player under Steve McClaren, turned Captain and England hopeful under Rafa Benitez. DeAndre Yedlin, an exciting attacking full-back under Sam Allardyce while at Sunderland with little defensive positioning nous, has been turned into a Premier League full-back under Benitez’ tutelage. Mo Diamé came to United as a bustling No. 10 but has been reinvented as a holding midfield player, making tackles and breaking up play.

The list goes on and the plaudits are almost endless, but one thing is clear, without Rafa Benitez, Newcastle could very well have suffered the same fate as their biggest rivals. Even the outcomes that have befallen Norwich City, Aston Villa and all of the aforementioned teams would have been nothing short of a tragedy.

It is not hyperbolic to say that Benitez is – and will go down as – one of the most important men in Newcastle United’s history.

The club could have succumbed to rack and ruin if it weren’t for him, which is why in United folklore, it is paramount that Rafa Benitez’ name is mentioned in the same breath as Kevin Keegan, Sir Bobby Robson, Alan Shearer, Joe Harvey, Stan Seymour, Jackie Milburn and David Kelly.

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  • Geordiegiants

    Stinking dirty horrible bastards get everything they deserve!

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Poetic
      😂😂😂

    • Ba ba.

      👍 👍 👍 Class

    • Ram Kishore

      A bit harsh too lol

  • Rich Lawson

    Did you put David Kelly in with the other 6 just to see if anybody read it all the way down ?

  • Antenociticus

    TLDR
    Wonder if Mitro will be the one to give them the coup de grace?

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    I thought for a moment the seats had went from pink to yellow !

  • Maggymay59

    Great article, I’ve been saying for ages that if Rafa kept us up this would be his finest accomplishment second to none.
    The gamble he took managing a club in the championship, having to sell 14 players, having to bring in a complete new team and having to put up with the toxic atmosphere around the club & city, and mostly having to put up with Ashley, liar as keegan proved in court, this guy was hell bent on destroying our great club, but one man has defied the odds ,brought fans & players together not seen since robson & keegan, I don’t always agree with his tactics but considering what his limited budget is he’s performed miracles, now bring on the takeover and give Rafa the proper tools.

    • Mark Potter

      Keegan didn’t prove in court that Ashley lied. Just the opposite, the Premiership appeal panel (not a court) decided that he had told Keegan the truth about his plans to bring in a Director of Football and run the club on a European model.

      You are getting confused that Mort and Wise admitted to the panel that they said one thing to the media and fans, that Keegan had the final say on transfers, but said something else in private. Keegan didn’t need to prove it – they told the panel that was the case, saying that their public statements were just “PR”. Ashley never made public statements generally, and never about Keegan’s position.

      • Andy Mac

        They lied to the fans because Fatman asked them to do so. The tribunal found the club had lied about KK having the final say on transfers which clearly wasn’t the case.

    • glassjawsh-got-banned

      winning the champions league > keeping Newcastle up. But it’s closer than most outside the NE would care to admit.

    • Ram Kishore

      ‘m not supporting Ashley here..just saying Ashley atleast gave enough money to Rafa and held on to him as a coach by paying the highest wages for a championship club.
      Maybe our relegation might be due to many reasons including Ashley but our promotion was in certain part due to Ashley too..
      Ashley is not similar to Ellis Short ..
      More than 50 million in championship we spent.. similarly Sunderland spent nothing..
      Even if Rafa wasn’t there.. we would have never been in the position of Sunderland…
      Ashley after relegation allowed investment right?

      • Jezza

        Wrong. Ashley kept Rafa on after relegation for one reason, To get his huge free advertising vehicle for his core sweat shop business straight back on to the Premiership gravy train.

        Ashley is just like Ellis Short as you will see a year or two from now when we are going exactly the same way as Sunderland.

        We definitely would have been in the same position as Sunderland without Rafa as you will see when we go down with Pardew as manager next year.

        After relegation Ashley made £40 million profit on transfers. He didn’t allow investment, he cashed in and made a killing as he always does.

        • Lord

          Books are overdue, we’ll know for sure how much he pocketed (if anything) very soon unless he wants to get fined by Companies House for late submission.

      • Paul Patterson

        We didn’t spend £50m in the Championship. We received £30m for Sissoko, £15m for Townsend and £25m for Wijnaldum. So by that count, we must have spend £100m+ on Gayle, Diame, Ritchie, Clark, Hayden, etc.
        Our spending in the second tier was more than covered by the sales . .

        • Ram Kishore

          You are right but I assume Ashley didn’t pocket the money from sales as we know that..
          We all know we don’t like Ashley much but we can’t compare ourselves to Sunderland either as we weren’t mismanaged as their lot did..
          There’s also a possibility that if we didn’t have a manager like Rafa we could be lingering in the midtable of the championship last season and we could have been in a bad situation if those 50 million worth of signings weren’t allowed too..
          Ik that Mike has no interest in our club.and didn’t spend nothing..
          I do think that he can’t pocket money just like that.. even though he’s the owner..

  • Andy Mac

    Yup good points. As I’ve just said elsewhere we have somehow survived 11 years of mismanagement partly by luck ( Hoots taking over when all seemed lost) partly because of our history, tradition and size all of which attracted Rafa to join the fight but mainly because of the fans.

    If this had been almost any other club that Fatman poisoned it would have been rotting somewhere in the lower leagues by now. The makems may find that out in the next few years ?

    • Paul Patterson

      They already are . .

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Probably the third worst ever article I have read on here. The worst one was about fans deserting Newcastle under Ashley this season with Luton Town and Everton and Burnley not selling out. The main difference between to two clubs is not Rafa it’s this so listen to the facts. Sunderland received £70m from the sale of Pickford and the parachute payment for getting relegated and spent not a penny. Ashley sols some players and invested every penny and more spending £47m a disgrace of an article.

    • glassjawsh-got-banned

      “Ashley sold some players and invested every penny and more”

      This is categorically untrue. Ashley pocketed a 30 million pound transfer surplus when we went down and more or less gambled the future of the club on Rafa’s ability to take the players he was left with straight back up.

      • Mark Potter

        Where did you get that from? There was no transfer surplus at the time. Liverpool bought Wijnaldum and Spurs bought Sissoko for somewhere around £50 million, but they didn’t pay the club upfront. One of those deals was for three years installments, the other (probably Sissoko) for four years. That means that they still haven’t paid the club the full money.

        The club had to survive a year paying players who were mainly on Premiership wages, with a fraction of the income from TV money. Ashley probably loaned the club enough money interest free to be able to pay those wages, as he did the first time we were in the Championship. The deal then was the club would repay him within two years. If it’s the same deal, then as that Wijnaldum/Sissoko money has been coming in, it will probably have been repaying the loan.

        There was no gamble on “Rafa’s ability to take the players he was left with” – plenty of new players (Gayle, Murphy, Diame, Ritchie, Hayden, Yedlin, Atsu, Clarke, Gamez, Lazaar and Sels – a WHOLE TEAM) were brought in to replace players who left, or who went out on loan. And some of them cost alot of money – more than any other club in the Championship spent.

        • glassjawsh-got-banned

          A) “Loaning” money to yourself is not particularly benevolent
          B) 50million/3 years = 16.6. 50m-16.6m = 33.3m. So by your math, Ashley “spent” all of 3.3 million pounds on players in 2016/17. What a hero.
          C) All of the biggest wage earners from 15/16 relegation season were jettisoned. Those ‘huge’ wages from those who were left you keep harping on about were undoubtedly largely subsidized by 26m in parachute payments plus gate receipts/advertising/what tv money did come in.
          D) the only wise thing ashley has ever done was manage to hire/keep Rafa.

          • Wor Lass

            Spot on.

          • Paul Patterson

            Then not back him sufficiently and send the hired goons round when he dared to point it out in the press . .

      • Ram Kishore

        U must know all transfers are not paid in one lump sums

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        MY reference was to this season when we went up. When we went down he bought some good players to get us back up. Given him some credit.

        • East Durham Mag

          Wouldn’t give him an ounce of credit he has wreaked havoc, lied, bullsh*tt.ed Keegan, the fans and now Rafa. Doubtless you won’t agree but thats your perogative.

          • Paul Patterson

            Some people on here would praise a mugger for calling an ambulance AFTER they had robbed and beaten up their granny . .

          • East Durham Mag

            Its really hard to believe these individuals are genuine Newcastle United supporters.

    • East Durham Mag

      So its all down to your pal Fatty? Were you dropped on your head when you were a baby?

      • Mark Potter

        Hmmm? What’s the common factor. Twice relegated, different managers, different players, different coaches, same result winning the Championship at the first attempt, same river, same political party in charge of the council, same pasties in Greggs, same cold rainy winters, same owner, same Great North run. Nah, can’t see anything that would be relevant. Surely not the £20 million the owner loaned the club each time to pay player wages? How could that possibly be relevant?

        • East Durham Mag

          How do you loan yourself money? The mans a crook.

          • Mark Potter

            You don’t, and he didn’t. He loaned the club the money. Come back when you understand something about legal personality.

          • East Durham Mag

            It wasn’t worth waiting 24 hours for that reply.

    • Wor Monga

      The main difference is nothing to do with money…it’s all to do with the will, and passion of the players to win for the club, the manager and the supporters…the coach has to have the knowledge, ability and personality to pass this knowledge on, and the player must have the nous and ability to buy into that…where in some cases it could mean going back to basics and relearning their game…a lot of players will only take that from a manager with a proven record of success (experienced players might only take it from somebody who’ve had more success in their career than they have)…

      …Man U players wouldn’t take it from Moyes, after Fergie…Leeds U wouldn’t from Clough, after Revie…the mackems couldn’t after their string of serial failures, whereas the inexperienced Chris Hughton was astute enough to put it all in the hands of a very experienced ‘comittee’ of passionate players who’d stayed, but Rafa Benitez had to start back at the beginning, which most of would agree he has done magnificently!!!

    • Fireman Sam

      Do you work for Mike Ashley?

  • Whitehurst

    So it’s a heads up between having Rafa, Coleman, Pearson or Bruce as manager? Need a moment here to think? 🤔 Put it this way every morning that I wake up to…I have to grab a shower, pour a strong coffee….and then pinch myself that Rafa is in fact managing my first love and beloved team!!

    • Leazes.

      Are you expecting a Rafalution….?

      • Damon Horner

        Yes.

  • Mag Monkey

    One hell of a post! I’ll see you at Watford? Keegan took a championship squad to the brink. Robson took a premiership squad to third. Rafa has taken a championship squad to mid table. He’s a lush manager but he needs money. He will be better than both our heroes with funds.

    • Geordiegiants

      I love Rafa and never ever slag him or call his tactics or integrity, and if he gets money to spend he will take us higher, and he very well might get better results or win something, but as for being better I’m not so sure about that, in my opinion Keegan done something even Rafa or Robson probably couldn’t of.

  • Wor Monga

    Agree totally with these comments because I would very much doubt that any team in the history of the game could have bounced back after rebuilding a squad in the way that Rafa had to…taking into account the toxic feeling that had been generated between the club’s supporters, a totally unambitious owner and his string-puppets on the board.

    …the forced sales after relegation…of his 4 most recognised international players (Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Janmaat and Townsend) left a massive hole in his first team regular selection pool, and had to be replaced in a few weeks with players willing and able to perform quickly into an efficient unit…ie) Yedlinn inexperienced D not required by Spurs, and had struggled at the mackems…Diame an ageing low cost experienced (CM)…Gayle rarely used Pardew PL experienced (F)…Clark relegated (CD), with Villa…Atsu inexperienced (WM), not required by Chelsea…Ritchie hard working Bournemouth (WM) who’d been made available, and other bargain basements who failed to impress…

    …These had to be melded into a squad containing Lascelles (CD) (made up to captain after being mainly a bench warmer under previous managers), Darlow inexperienced (GK), Dummett (D) (crowd abuse target), Shelvey (CM) (lazy, inconsistent with attitude problems), Perez (young, small lightweight (F) bought for the future)…on paper even the great Clough / Taylor management partnership couldn’t have turned them into a competitive unit that would go on to play 2 games a week for a 46 game season, and spend 90% of that time at the very top of the league…

    …He did it alone…the money from the sales covered everything…he knew the players he wanted (and only him), and that it was possible to get…Ashley, and the board were irrelevent…he did it, and IMO no other manager in the world could have done the same without having access to more than double the money raised from the outgoings, and most of that would have been needed for the wage bill, and agents fees!!!

    • Jezza

      Excellent comment.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      You`re on form Minga,
      even Leazes may give you the
      👍

      • Wor Monga

        I’ve said the same many times on this site, mousey…I just don’t use every morning telling everybody what they all know already about the owner (like your goodself)…I prefer to concentrate on the football team I follow, and the consistent level of improvement I see happening, on the field…under Rafa!!!

      • Leazes.

        I blocked him last year, so I doubt it.

        • Wor Monga

          …Ooh!…that sounds nasty ‘bluebottle’…it can’t have hurt though cos I never felt a thing!!!

    • Peaky

      👏👏👏

    • Geordiegiants

      Very well put, the four mentioned players that were sold, Townsend aside, weren’t worth a toss (playing wise) anyway to be fair, but he has moulded a hard working team from a bunch of apprentices and rejects that look to be playing well above there stations at the present time.

      • theoriginalbomberman

        Janmaat was a very good player and was often our only source of creativity going forward during that relegation season.

        • Geordiegiants

          He was a decent player much like all of them when they wanted to be, but he wasn’t interested in the end at all.

  • ghostrider

    Horses for courses and swings and roundabouts. Bragging rights and bitching against your supposed foes and also within your own group.

    We have the bragging rights. But ask any Sunderland fan who plays the bragging right game if they would swap what they have for Newcastle and they would all say no. Why?….because, as much as they are in dire need of intervention they would rather waste away than have any part, just as the same applies with Newcastle fans of the same mindset.

    Simple rivalry.

    The issue is, long lived or short lived…bragging rights are like pass the parcel.
    How many can remember when Ellis Short took over Sunderland in the midst of the pure hatred and bile of Mike Ashley by many Newcastle fans?

    Sunderland were laughing at us but our fans were telling all and sundry how Ellis Short knows how to run a football club whilst Mike Ashley is screwing ours and hasn’t got a clue.

    Anyone remember this?
    Newcastle fans wishing for an Ellis Short type and even Sunderland fans feeling smug and well off with him and wallowing in the nationwide laughing stock that Newcastle United had become by media frenzy and hype over the fans hatred of him and Ashley’s ways in dealing with people, etc.

    Anyone remember any of this?

    Look at us now and look at Sunderland.
    Yet their fans would rather cut off their own noses to spite their own faces and go down into oblivion rather than admit to wanting an Ashley and yet many fans of ours would rather get rid of Ashley for basically any dip into the owners lucky bag, no matter what….just to be shot of him because their petty hatred knows no bounds.

    The weird world of football fans and rivalry.

    • Wor Monga

      You seem to be living in the weird world…nobody on here has ever aspired to wanting Ellis Short or even a similar type of owner to him…probably he was unknown to any on here before taking over the mackems, and when he did that he immediately went down in everybody’s estimation…he’s never bought a player that we have ever wanted which culminated in the ‘Wigan Crippler’…who most of us think is pure sh*te…

      …It always seemed to me that the call on here was more for the Sheikh Mahmoud type or even a Ruski Billionaire than the Short type…but Stavely would be very well received imho!!!

      • ghostrider

        I didn’t mention it was on here. I mentioned Newcastle fans in general, everywhere.
        I’ve heard all the stories of wants of owners over Ashley.

        Fans saying they wish they had a Kenwright or a Gibson or a Ellis Short or a Niall Quinn….yeah seriously . And even Dave Whelan was mentioned by a good few over the years.

        I’ve heard them all, all because of a weird hate for Ashley who is only given credit by those who actually see past the hatred. Those who biottle that hatred up will give him zero credit for anything because those fans believe that club would simply run itself without him.

        Basic hatred at it’s finest.
        It’s not me that’s being weird mate. I’m seeing it from a reasonable point of view without following hype…media or otherwise.

        • Paul Patterson

          So we can forgive his errors then and everything is rosy in the garden and we can love each other? Somehow I think not . .

          • ghostrider

            It’s not about loving him for me, it’s about him making sure he carries on the good work in allowing the team to express themselves in a balanced way unlike earlier in the season.
            If he keeps it up, win lose of draw then it’s fine by me because that’s all I ask for as a minimum requirement.
            Anything above that is hopes and dreams, as and when they come to fruition.

            I’d guarantee you right now that fans would have soon got sick of the earlier tactics if he’d have kept those tactics up and also I’m fairly convinced we would be in trouble right now had he done so.

          • Wor Monga

            You can guarantee that can you?…are you Paul Merson by any chance?!!!

          • ghostrider

            No, I’m a Newcastle fan who’s seen the rough and smooth of it all for long enough to know how the fans react over time. It’s all about peer pressure and follow the pied pipers.

  • Leazes.

    Ehm…..you castigate Sunlun for getting in loan players yet Rafa is untouchable for getting in loanees and crocks? That’s a huge chunk of sycophantic drivel you have unloaded on the world….Joe.

    What a load of nonsense!

    • Wor Monga

      The writer didn’t castigate the mackems for bringing in loans…he pointed out that one of their loan signings decided that he couldn’t stand the set-up and then decided to cut the loan short himself which showed the world how sensible he was…I’d reckon most of their other players wish they could do the same…

      …Ashley has always hampered the Toon by not allowing loan deals when other clubs were obviously benefiting from them, but this January Rafa pointed out to him exactly what had to be done, and forced his hand on Kenedy, Dubravka and Slimani…

      …were you never told by a lecturer to read the question, before just jumping in with yet another dose of unwarranted Toon negativity!!!

      • glassjawsh-got-banned

        all of leazes comments are some variation of “everything is always terrible, you idiot”

  • funlovingexpress

    Theres a massive difference between the two owners.
    Ashley because of running the club financially properly, bought players who could take us up and young enough to improve once we went up.

    He did this by using money the club generated.

    Sunderland on the other hand paid very high wages and transfer fees for over the hill, average on a good day bunch of players and hocked themselves up to the eyeballs so much the £160 million tv money couldnt even help them.

    We didnt invest much this season because this season was financed by the parachute payments.

    Ashley for once has employed a manager that can actually make his system work.

    IE investing in youth and living within our means. The club is very healthy both on the field and off it plus we have a load of tv money coming so the future is bright.

    Sunderland will probably go bust if or should I say when they go down

    • Leazes.

      Idiot

      • funlovingexpress

        narrow minded berk

    • Chuck D

      Ashley for once has employed a manager that can make his system work?!

      Are you for real?!!

      Do you think Rafa is happy with ‘this system’, and do you think Rafa will continue to work under this system?

      Plus ‘this system’ you refer to is the same system which has got us relegated twice before!!

      Ashley wanted to implement a system, a system which was aimed at staying in the PL with minimal spend. Sign cheap young players from mainly France using a particular agent, with the aim of selling them on to a ‘big club’. Employ a lackie MD and a spineless manager who will follow his orders and use the club to promote his sh*t company.

      Now with Rafa he has a manager who isn’t happy to tow that party line, as he wants success.

      Unless Ashley changes his approach to NUFC entirely, as in give Rafa full control of transfers and back him properly when it comes to signings, Rafa will be gone.

  • mentalman

    rafa went down with a far better nucleus of a team than sunderland did even when you take away the big four players

    • Wor Monga

      Yet I can’t remember them selling any other player except their keeper Pig-ford…maybe the rest wanted out but there wasn’t any buyers outside of league 2 clubs who seemed to be that desperate…Moyes had brought in his old friends, and they’d all formed drinking clubs with the veteran players already there…but they’d all played together in the PL so how come they were, as you say a worse nucleus, when they went down…

      …than the ‘team’ what we had left comprising of, 7 good young but very inexperienced players…who had just had the 4 experienced everpresent (‘big-name’) internationals taken out (keeping in mind the players Rafa brought in were not at the club when we went down) of their number!!!

      • mentalman

        If you look at the two squads after the sales and before strengthening we had better players in nearly all positions.

        • Wor Monga

          So are you telling me that Rafa’s job was somehow a lot easier than is documented here…because his players were better than the scums lot on relegation which meant he had it a lot more easier than they’ve got of avoiding the drop to league 1 now…

          …of course they were better…they were open to improvement, and appreciation of top quality instruction, and the support here!!!

  • Albert Stubbins

    Nonsense- If Kermit the Frog managed Newcastle we still wouldnt be in anything like the mess mess the Makems are in. Chrissy Hughton got us promoted in 2009 not Rafa- if we did ever go down again fatso spends the cash to get us back up- a lot of managers could get a team up on a spend of over 50 million. Im not knocking Rafas acheivements- what he’s done this season is miraculous but we would never become a sunderland for lots of reasons- the main one being we stick by our team- sunderland don’t. We have recouped millions in transfer sales, the makems havent. Theyve wasted millions on both players and agent fees. They have been sinking fast for years- they were always in bottom for or five in premiership for the last ten years before they went down. The two situations are incomparable. They are in the top ten teams in europe for debt- over 200 million and an owner who has shot his bolt. Our owner may be greedy but hed have spend enough on a striker in the transfer window to stop us going down to the old third division ffs- short hasnt even the savvy to do that. who’s laughing now?