Talks between Rafa Benitez’ representatives and the Mike Ashley minions have not progressed.

It is now a month since Newcastle realistically were safe from relegation and yet Rafa has now revealed that ‘It is more or less the same situation with the contract.’

At any normal club that would have then been the catalyst for rapid action to be taken, securing the future of your world class manager and making clear what backing would be available to now take the club forward.

Asked when he needs clarity on what is happening, Rafa Benitez said ‘as soon as possible’, with the meaning appearing to be this week in advance of the season ending, the United boss saying ‘before the summer.’

We are now in a position where the end of the summer transfer window is only 13 weeks away due to the deadline day being brought forward.

With Premier League safety assured last month, it isn’t as though Mike Ashley has been waiting for something further to happen before making any decisions.

The revenues for this season are already known, give or take a few million on league position, even that though is only marginal as whilst the club get £1.9m extra for each higher league position, the bonus system means that the playing squad get £1m of each extra £1.9m per place.

Since safety was reached, Rafa Benitez has now made a series of interviews/press conferences where he has made clear he needs to be assured that he will be properly supported in the transfer market, before he commits to any extended contract.

Each time the message is getting clearer and louder, the only thing we don’t know is whether Mike Ashley is inclined to listen.

The United boss states now what he expects to get the backing to do, saying ‘The level this club has to be competing at is in the top eight of the Premier League or higher.’

Every extra day that goes by without Rafa agreeing a new deal, is an extra day of worry because it signals that the club’s owner still hasn’t given the manager the assurances he needs.

Rafa Benitez asked how talks are progressing about his future at the club:

 “It is more or less the same situation with the contract.”

Then asked by when he needs to have clarity on the situation:

“Maybe before the summer, I don’t know…but as soon as possible.”

Asked what needs to change/happen at the club to make it successful:

“To do the right things.

“As I have said many times before…that means to clarify our ambitions going forward.

“I have to say what I have to say and that is very clear.

“Everybody, all the fans, they have the same feeling as me, and o it is something we need to clarify.

“I have had three challenges since I came here:

“The first one was to try and keep Newcastle in the Premier League – but we couldn’t do it.

“The second one was to go up at the first attempt in the Championship and we did that.

The third was to stay up and we did it, we did it early.

“So I’m quite happy overall with the challenges but still I’d like to compete for something more.

“It’s not that we want to come to a top side and think that if we lose 1-0 we can protect our goal difference. That is what I don’t like to do, I want to know that we can win.

“What I will say is this, and I have said this many times…this is a massive club.

“If we want to compete in the Premier League, and at a good level, then what we have to do are the right things – that is it.

“We can’t be thinking that our position is ‘We’re safe, great.’

“No – we had fifty two thousand fans at St James Park in the Championship last season, between three thousand and nine thousand fans at away games in the Championship.

“The level this club has to be competing at is in the top eight of the Premier League or higher.

“We want to compete in the Premier League at a good level.”

  • TheNutJob

    Turn the clock forward a month, maybe 2 and you`ll see the same article,
    no progress because Fatty has no intention of spending when the clubs up for sale
    in fact i dont think he`d spend under any circumstances & the sell before you buy won`t wear with Rafael because money just disappears.

    • TheNutJob

      Bonjour wor lass, je m`appelle nutty. je te visite, 1 se maine for free

      • ToonTom

        And in Geordie for the less travelled amongst us?

        • Leazes.

          How ‘Wor Lass’ me nyems ‘Nutty’ I’m ganna visit ye te see Maine for nowt.

          • TheNutJob


    • ToonTom

      Fatso sell the club when it’s making him so much money at last?
      Never. He never planned to. Not until he’s bled it dry and sold it for scrap.

  • Leicester Mag

    Welcome to Fat Hog day where Ashley seeks to do nothing but line his own pockets, warning this is a stuck record.

  • Hughie_Gallacher

    When it comes to assurances, Hitler was more trustworthy than Ashley.

    • Paul Patterson

      Lol. At least if he said something, he did it . .

  • Geordiegiants

    Like the saying goes, “same shithouse different day”
    Had to put shithouse instead of the shortened version as it’s “NOT ALLOWED”. Rafa will either stay and continue with nothing, or he will have to go.

    • TheNutJob

      that about sums it up

  • Chris Armin

    The simple fact is nobody under Ashley must be able to sign off on the assurances Rafa wants. This just goes to show that even the people in charge at Newcastle are not really in charge . Why Oh why must we go through this rigmarole every season? The sooner fat lad and Benitez meet the better because we need to know as a club one way or another. The heartbreaking thing about it all though is Benitez has already told the Napoli President he doesn’t want to be away from his family. Which leaves Leicester, West Ham , Everton and whoever has enough ambition to gobble up our manager. That’s how low we’ve sunk with this dictatorship . I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve already drawn up a list to replace him….. Hughton, Jokanovic , Kinnear etc.

  • ToonTom

    Here’s how it’s going to work, peeps. Ashley is going to keep Rafa waiting well into the summer at which point his (Rafa’s) patience is going to snap and he’s going to HAVE TO accept one of the countless offers that will come his way during the next few months from clubs with probably significantly less resources but boundlessly more ambition than Newcastle-under-Ashley will ever have.
    So Rafa will leave, reluctantly, but with great plans to develop some other club when he wanted it to be Newcastle. And he will doubtless achieve it, turning Southampton into Champions League winners, etc. (you take my point, I’m sure).
    And then – and this is the great Fatman trick – Ashley’s minions will all trumpet “Well, we were in the middle of positive negotiations with Mr. Benitez when he unexpectedly walked out on the club and the fans. Mr. Ashley is devastated. He feels the next manager of the club needs to be a coach and show more loyalty.”
    Next day, Pardew is manager again and we are playing Accrington in League One.
    You heard it here first, guys.

    • ghostrider

      You’re mistaking Rafa for king Midas or something.

  • Paul Patterson

    I’m amazed that Dubravka hasn’t been signed up at the very least. Are Charnley/Ashley really twiddling thumbs at the prospect of a top goal keeper at £4m? Of all the transfers to struggle with, this should be easiest . .

    • ghostrider

      I don’t see anything overly special in Dubravka. A decent keeper but nothing special.

      • Toon Arnie

        Exactly the type of player Rafa needs to target surely using your methodology ? Cheap transfer fee and then developed from a good player in to an outstanding one. Your aim to be ‘hard hitting’ and controversial in your posts just leads to you constantly contradicting yourself. Don’t you ever get sick of being wrong ? We’re caught on the Ashley merry go round – promises then an extended wall of silence/confusion then broken promises and staged tv interviews lying his way out of it. 3 easy steps – repeat on a loop.

        • Paul Patterson

          Agreed. Dubravka has been brilliant since he came in. For £4m it’s a no-brainer.
          If we fail to get him over that pesky line, it will be a new low in the transfer workings of this ownership. An own goal missed if you like.

        • ghostrider

          I never said I didn’t want Dubravka. I said he’s nothing special but he’s a decent keeper.
          I wouldn’t be gutted if we signed him. I think he could potentially become better or maybe he might not. It’s hard to tell when he’s been sat behind a brick wall since he arrived, in most cases.
          Anyway I’m not going to slate the lad, I’m just saying that he’s nothing special but certainly worth 4 million as far as today’s prices are concerned.

    • FatParosite

      ‘I’m amazed that Dubravka hasn’t been signed up at the very least.’

      I’m amazed you’re amazed. That is the problem we are dealing with. Zero spending = flirt with relegation. For Shearer’s sake wake up & get used to it.

      • Paul Patterson

        Even under this regime, it’s the simplest thing to get a CURRENT player, available for peanuts, who’s proven he can hack it in this league, that the manager wants, that’s had an instant impact- signed permanently. That it hasn’t been done yet, should surprise even the unsurprised.

  • ghostrider

    Rafa needs to stop whining.
    Newcastle United is not owned by a Sheikh.
    Rafa will get enough funds to add to his build, as well as funds from sales.
    He knows this so what’s his issue?

    Is it because he’s Rafa Benitez and his so called world class name entitles him to dictate?
    He has to build slowly. It’s not a race up a rickety ladder and a potential rung cascade back down.

    Show why your 5/6 million a year is justified and go and identify the players who can do your job. Not for 20 million or more, but for their identified quality and potential to be harnessed.

    That’s your ambition.
    Spending pots of money on one person is not ambition. It’s potential lunacy for this club.

    If He’s going to produce football like he has then I hope he doesn’t sign another contract.

    • Iain Elrick

      Sounds like a mackem to me

      • Toon Arnie

        I thought that at first but now I think it’s more a cry for attention !!

      • ghostrider

        Make of the sounds what you will but I mean what I say.

    • Damon Horner

      He’s only asking for the budget to be clarified, because it will be handy to know and there is little reason for nothing to be discussed unless you can tell us why it needs to wait. he’s not asking for Messi to sign.

      • Paul Patterson

        It’s not an unreasonable request for the manager of any job, not just football, to know his/her budget.

        • Damon Horner

          I agree or at least if sharing what the budget would be needs to wait then talk to the manager and explain the circumstances and agree a follow-up date.

          I just get the impression Ashley needs to authorise any budget before it’s released, even to Rafa and since Ashley’s very inactive when it comes to the club these days then that can take a while.

      • ghostrider

        Why does he need any budget to be clarified?
        I’m more than sure he’s asked if funds will be available and I’m sure he will have been told there will be.
        If he was told any different, he wouldn’t be still here if he was told he’s getting nothing or a piddly amount.

        So what does he have to know?
        It’s as simple as this.
        If he gets to the summer end and there’s no transfers done, then he can walk away having committed nothing extra to the cause.

        If I was owner I’m not going to sit down with Rafa and tell him there’s a 100 million for him to spend. I’ll be telling him there’s a budget to be stuck to for each purchase and there cannot be any gung-ho buys or record breaking buys with wages to match, unless there’s a positive forward guarantee of their worth….and naturally we all know there’s no guarantees…so you basically know where I’m coming from.

        Rafa: Will funds be available for me to fairly move ahead.

        Club: Yes there will be funds available but their is a ceiling on wages and on singular transfers at this point.


        You can’t expect this:
        Rafa: How much am I getting to spend.
        Club: We can’t give out a figure but we’ll give you club guidelines as to what you can and can’t go over.
        Rafa: Oh well I’m leaving then.

        Just remember one thing. No matter who thinks Rafa is some kind of idol/god/messiah or whatever, he’s still only one man and cannot be allowed to play Russian roulette with the club’s money….because the club has to carry on as a full on viable unit, which includes us fans in a mammoth way in support of the future of it…not for one man to play risky business with it ….or else.

        Rafa is “employed” by the club. He is an “employee” on fantasy like wages to do better than the average bear with his skills in nurturing, not just cash on the hip quality buys off the peg.

        Tailor your own buys to suit and turn them into Tailor made super stars and build on it and from it and make your own extra funds to rise in quality build by getting top money for those that inevitably get head hunted by the elite plastic clubs, of which we do not want to ever be known as.

        • Damon Horner

          You can apply as much assumption and guesswork all you want. Bottom line is most managers don’t need to negotiate their budgets through the media and you should ask yourself why Rafa is doing that if everything is being done fairly and consistently like they are at other clubs. As with Rafa being an employee, yes he is but that doesn’t mean he should lie down and accept a situation being made more difficult when it really doesn’t need to be. Also remember that Rafa hasn’t exactly walked away, he just won’t stay past his contract if he and the club don’t meet eye to eye, which, as an employee, he is legally allowed to follow the terms in his contract.

          • Paul Patterson

            The way the above poster suggests we should go about our transfer business is lunacy. Is it any wonder we hardly ever get quality over the line?
            Imagine the talks with other clubs and players-
            Rafa- Hi (insert club here) I’m interested in signing (insert player here).
            Club- Ok, How much are you willing to spend?
            Rafa- Er, I don’t really know.
            Club- Right, well when will you know?
            Rafa, Er, I don’t know myself.
            Club- Okay. Go and talk to the player and we will talk again when you know your finances.
            Rafa- Hi (Insert player here) I’m looking to sign you at our main striker.
            Player- Cool, I’ve always wanted to play for a top manager such as yourself. Any idea what wage you can offer me?
            Rafa- I don’t really know.
            Player- When will you know then?
            Rafa- Can’t really say.

            Repeat until player goes to another club.

          • Damon Horner

            He lives in a world of compliance whereby you can’t ask questions of leading groups or authority let alone challenge it. You can see it in other things he says as well such as the inability to upset the top of the table (not that we’re expecting it). Media engagements would be good. How can Rafa without lying or misleading fans/media paint a picture of normality and progression when asked about transfers? he’d have to do that or show cracks inside the club. I think it’s needless stuff.

          • FatParosite

            I’m afraid it is worse than that. Assurances are given to other clubs & players up to the point where an offer comes from NUFC. At that point the real agenda reveals itself. Ashley is only interested in making it look like he wants to do something because it keeps terminally thick fans on board.

          • ghostrider

            I understand what you’re saying but Rafa seems to be playing cryptic games with the fans.
            It almost looks like he knows what’s what but will not divulge any straight laced info to us fans, for whatever reasons.

            The club has a duty to the fans of ensuring a competitive squad of football players are playing for the club, managed by a selected manager and all of the club personnel that are tasked with the well being of Newcastle United football club.

            The communication from the club is plenty but that doesn’t mean player transfer money of player speculation should enter the fray to stir up a hornets next if some of it doesn’t come to fruition.

            Let’s have some honesty.
            If the club tell Rafa he’s getting 100 million to spend and Rafa told us in a press conference….most fans would ridicule it and say Rafa is being played or the club are just saying it and will give him next to nothing and he will leave…..and blah blah blah.


            So what communication do fans need?
            All we’re doing is speculating on Rafa’s cryptic words that imply he’s heard nothing but could equally be another way of saying, ” I can’t divulge anything until the times right, so I’ll leave the fans guessing.”

            I know, I know….Rafa won’t do that because he’s got too much integrity…..right?


            Howay man.

          • Damon Horner

            Then answer the question with “We’ve talked about the summer and I know my budget which I don’t want to divulge, we’re working on acquiring targets” rather than pretending he doesn’t know anything which reflects badly on the club as a whole in terms of their communication and organisation. It’s more plausible to me that Ashley and Rafa haven’t discussed it yet rather than Rafa wants to play media games with the fans for no real benefit,

          • ghostrider

            Maybe they haven’t discussed a budget. There could be a host of things going on.
            None of us know if the club is still on the market.
            I can only massively speculate on all kinds of stuff relating to the club….but that also put everyone one of us in exactly the same boat and nobody has any higher pedestal for truth unless they are a clear bonafide insider.

          • Paul Patterson

            No manager will divulge that information in a press conference you buffoon.

          • ghostrider

            So what’s all the whining about then?

          • Paul Patterson

            He obviously hasn’t had the information he needs/wants.
            It takes nothing to just say to the manager ‘Your budget is X’ even if it’s nothing.

          • ghostrider

            All Rafa has to know is if he can buy players and sell players.
            If the club agree that he can, then everything’s fine.
            It seems to have been fine up to this point so why would anything change?
            Obviously we have to assume this on the premise that Ashley is not in the process of selling.

            You saying he hasn’t had the information he needs or wants doesn’t mean it is so.
            You’re going on Rafa being cryptic and putting 2 and 2 together to come up with what suits your mindset just as I’m speculating on what could have been going on.

            None of us know what’s what…but one thing’s for certain, we’ll know soon enough.

          • Toon Arnie

            Rafa has said more than once in the past that he’s submitted a list of targets to Charnley (Ashley) with 2nd and 3rd choices. What exactly do you want him to do – publish this in The Chronicle ? This is where the trouble always starts – he should be told there and then what he can realistically afford. All that seems to happen is hold ups, prolonged silences then repeated instances of ‘not being able to get it over the line’. Nobody is expecting a transfer kitty of £200m just a bit of honesty for once and enough respect for the manager to sit down and lay it all out for him rather than ignoring him or lying to him until it’s too late.

          • ghostrider

            How do you get to a stage of accepted honesty with the fans?
            If the club tell you he’s got a large amount of money to spend and he’s been told how much, will you believe it?
            My guess is most won’t and they will give it every available answer of something like:
            ‘Ahhhhhh , a large amount. More like nothing.’
            ‘It’ll be loans.’

            ‘They’ll haggle for pennies and lose the player Rafa wants.’
            I could go on and on with the excuses I’ve seen fans come out with.
            So again, tell me, how can the club give out anything that will be deemed as honest?

        • Taz

          Put your crack pipe down man and give your head a shake ya crack pot

          • ghostrider

            I bet all your mates are carrying you around on their shoulders after you came out with that original beauty.
            Nice one champ. lol

    • Toon Arnie

      Ashley just needs to show a bit of respect. Why can’t he just speak with Rafa and clarify the direction he wants to take the club in ? If the limit of his ambition is just to survive on the Prem on a minimal transfer budget then have the bottle to tell Rafa. All we get is the endless cycle of positive soundbites then a wall of silence until it’s too late. Charnley is a clown but to be fair it’s Ashley who makes every last decision so he’s to blame for the appalling comms. If Ashley could communicate properly with Rafa direct rather than via staged Sky Sports ‘interviews’ we wouldn’t have the current state of Rafa having to demand guarantees. It’s an embarrassing way to run a football club – if Rafa leaves this all crumbles. I know you don’t rate Rafa and love Ashley but surely you understand that ?

      • ghostrider

        As it stands it’s nearly all club’s ambitions of just being able to survive in the premier league, whether it’s flirts with the title or strains to avoid relegation out of it.

        The elites get the rich pickings because they are what the premier league is and is geared for.
        The rest of us are also-ran clubs that try to pick the best scraps from the rest of that premier leagues occupants.

        Ask yourself a few questions about ambition and what this club should do.
        I’ll tell you a few things and see if they make sense to you.

        Newcastle United as a football club with the (my bias) best fans in the world in a big city and with a massive fan base….”would” by all accounts be an elite club right now.
        The reason we are not is not because of Ashley, it’s because of the people who started the ball rolling of throwing money at clubs, like Abramovich and the Sheikh’s of Man City, etc.

        No matter what you think of Ashley, he’s not stupid and he knows we cannot compete with those super rich people but we can compete with the actual clubs they preside over.

        See what I’m saying?
        We’re every bit as big and every bit as capable of playing a fair game with their fair game…but it’s simply not a level playing field, inside and out.
        Ashley could spend 500 million tomorrow and go for it and all he would have to show for it is a quick flirt with some success before the big boys swallowed him up like a whale swallowing a stickleback.

        Take a look at the clubs that are trying it.
        Look at Southampton and Everton and what not.
        They went hell for leather to try and make some real headway.
        A show of ambition if you like….but basically ending up in no real better place than we are, apart from a few league places that mean little, other than a few million added to the kitty of which the players tend to swallow up as bonus…as if they’re not paid well enough..

        A flirt is all we get until fairness kicks in and the game is far from set out for that.
        However, we can still build carefully and steadily to get to the stages of potential flirts with Europe and a cup…but the real deal at the higher end is down to being allowed to sneak in, like Leicester were allowed.
        This is the best we can hope for until the game becomes fair.
        Football and all sport was sold to the devil a long long time ago.

        Even Sir John Hall knew what was coming when he decked out. He wasn’t stupid or naive. Ashley wasn’t exactly stupid but he didn’t expect to tread into the bear trap so easily, due to his extreme footballing naivety…of which he’s learned the hard way about how things lie.

        He’s far from naive now.

      • Weyhhadaway

        Yup, it is not like there is a long chain of command between Rafa and Ashley. One sit down meeting with your most important employee in that company would seem to be a very reasonable thing to do, in the real world.

    • Weyhhadaway

      What you say is correct about how the big clubs are too far ahead to catch up quickly, if at all, but you have to ask what was Benitez promised on his arrival? He is a world class manager who would expect the owner to have some kind of ambition, He has always said that this is a long term project, suggesting he knows the lie of the land. So what promises were made in terms of team building? Rafa’s tune has never changed, build slowly to a point where we can win a cup and maybe get into Europe, acknowledging that we can’t be in the top four.

      Rafa has asked for certain players over the last couple of windows and been let down, which has meant we struggled. That is what is making him cagey about signing. You say look at Everton and Southampton, the difference is that Rafa is world class and would have us in a great comfortable position if he had the 182M Everton spent last summer. We all know that amount of money is not going to be available here for all of the reasons you state. All that is asked by the fans and Rafa is that the promised amount of money be spent.

      • Paul Patterson

        I think first and foremost, there is one thing that Rafa wants that is even simpler than that- Just clarity.

        • Weyhhadaway

          Aye, Rafa has always said the same thing, the club has said nothing and done nothing.

      • ghostrider

        But that’s just the issue. The promised amount of money came direct from the horses mouth.
        Ashley stated on TV that Rafa can have every penny the club generates …obviously after running costs and what not.
        He also stated that there’s a bank balance for the running of team affairs and when it’s spent, don’t come crying to him for personal pocket money, kind of thing.

        So Rafa chooses players and apparently can’t get the first, second, third and fourth choices over the line, because someone decided this must be the case when he opted for Joselu and what not.
        Sels must have been 4th or 5th choice and Lazaar, etc……Maybe, eh?

        Basically his big choices could have been a bridge too far for him with players wanting sick contracts or clubs simply hiking up prices to a level we could not sustain.

        Who knows?
        The truth is none of us knew what his targets were…right?
        I certainly didn’t and I can’t recall these first/second/third/fourth choices but seem to be told about 5th choices coming in the form of the Joselu type who Rafa seems to have been bullied into buying. Or has he had to scrape the barrel in a panic buy?
        Does it seem feasible or does it appear that rafa opted to go cautious and bought the players to ensure that was the case?

        Rafa with his integrity and lawyer written contract just bowing to so called measly transfer layout and yet doesn’t walk because he’s just so in love with the fans and the city. Really?

        Sometimes people can get blinkered when they feel privileged to be associated with someone that is talked about as world class.
        It becomes like a messiah mindset to many and many will not see any issues with him and instead push all the issues onto anyone else other than him.

        He doesn’t fill me with excitement but I’m happy to see him have a go if he stops the whining and gets on with producing a better balanced team for a slow rise. I’m not expecting anything big…just a team/squad that wants to win and entertain or hypothetically die trying.

        • Weyhhadaway

          The cold hard truth is that the club didn’t spend the promised amount. Running around on closing day grabbing the leftovers.

          • ghostrider

            In the summer?
            Do you mean when we signed Joselu?
            What was the promised amount?

          • Weyhhadaway

            Everything generated by sales and the club. which was way more than our net spend. At work right now so I can’t look those numbers up, so what were they?
            Rafa also stated that his targets were missed, which means he was told who he could get, but the club missed them.

          • ghostrider

            o you know who Rafa was after or was it a secret and he missed out on those secrets?
            I seriously don’t know who he was after. It’s a mystery.

          • Weyhhadaway

            I know I trust Rafa oppose dot the club when he says he didn’t get the people he told the club to chase. Yes there was secrecy around who targets were, but going back to my point on spend, there was little real outlay.

          • ghostrider

            I think there was more than enough outlay for a first season back, considering what Rafa had to spend in the championship as well.
            Net spends mean nothing to me. What counts is what is spent whether it’s a players worth when bought and offset or cash on the hip.

            If we want to argue it, we could argue that Liverpool spent nothing.

  • Mike

    Why would he stay and work for a proven liar being let down every time

    • FatParosite

      6 million reasons….

  • robbersdog

    I think Rafa will be our manager next season, but I don’t think he’ll sign a new contract in the next few weeks. He’s still got a year on his current deal, so he can sit tight, take stock of the situation next season and then, if necessary, walk away when he’s out of contract.

  • Shields Mag

    The fat lad runs the club on the cheap and that’s the way it will always be under his tenure, if Rafa walks I hope our fans are with him and walk as well, it’s the only way the fat lad will get the message…..

  • Alreet

    The realisation that hes kept us up with time to spare in our first season back in the prem with very few quality additions. Does anyone actually want our club to be run on a shoestring by a so called billionaire with no money.

    We might as well have the CEO of fenwicks for all the good the sports direct “mogul” is doing or offering.

    Please sell up jabba and get out of town.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    Rafa could sit down and agree things with Ashley & Co but would they be true to their word ?
    It’s like Keegan said a few years ago that you cannot work with these people because whatever you agree with them they go back on as soon as you leave the room.

    It’s that time of year again when the motley crew at that bastion of the truth “The Chronic”, Start saying Ashley needs to do this and Ashley needs to do that…
    In reality though, He will do nowhere near what anyone wants him to do and it will be his way !