It is now two months since Rafa Benitez secured Premier League safety for Newcastle United.

A run of form that kicked off in mid-February saw United win five of seven games with only one defeat, including victories at St James Park over Man Utd and Arsenal, as well as a win at Leicester.

With the target reached so early, Newcastle fans were expecting that to allow the club to get a real head start in both planning for next season and reaching agreement with Rafa Benitez for an extended stay.

Whilst talks were started back in mid-April with the manager’s representatives, Rafa regularly updated us with the news that these talks with Mike Ashley’s representatives had gone nowhere.

The manager looking for assurances on transfer budget and freedom to use it as he sees fit, as well as a commitment to investing in the academy and the substandard training facilities, rather than it being a case of demanding extra cash for himself.

Whilst these talks were reportedly still going on, Newcastle supporters hoped for other signs that the club were moving towards Rafa’s position, with early summer transfer moves the obvious one.

In all four previous transfer windows, Rafa Benitez had made clear each time he had looked to tie up some deals early, to get players in early to avoid a bidding war, as well as giving them as much time to settle in as possible.

However, there has been little sign of any transfer buzz surrounding Newcastle United and now the Shields Gazette have revealed that their information is, that Rafa Benitez is unhappy with both the lack of action on transfer and the action/commitment needed from Mike Ashley that would convince him to sign a contract extension.

The signing of Martin Dubravka was of course very welcome but even Mike Ashley would have seen this one as a no-brainer, plus there would have been a clock ticking.

Last May (2017) it was revealed that Christian Atsu’s year long loan with a £6m buying  clause, gave Newcastle only so many days after the end of the season to activate that permanent deal price.

With Dubravka you can only assume it was the same, indeed in an interview over in Slovakia, the keeper revealed that he was expecting his Newcastle future to be definitely sorted before his loan deal ran out on 31 May 2018. No doubt an indication that the £4m buying clause had to be activated by then, or else the price would surely rocket after the form he had shown in the Premier League.

Newcastle announced the signing on 30 May, 24 hours before the loan deal ended.

It is inconceivable surely that Rafa Benitez wouldn’t be pushing for other signings at this early stage and last summer he revealed his frustrations after putting loads of personal work into setting up very early deals for the likes of Tammy Abraham and Willy Caballero, only for Mike Ashley to stall on allowing them to happen.

It is exactly four weeks from today until the Newcastle squad return for pre-season and whilst nobody is panicking, the next signing is awaited with high interest.

If a contract extension had been agreed with Rafa Benitez then of course that would have been a game-changer – but it hasn’t.

On this occasion, no news is definitely not good news.



  • robbersdog

    The Shields Gazette?! Bloody hell – this must be their ‘Watergate’ moment.

    • Alex

      Far more reliable and professional than the Ronny Gill.

  • Paul Patterson

    Signing Dubravka was like scoring an open goal- nigh on impossible to miss. I’m pleased with the capture, but let’s not hear people shouting it from the rooftops as a marked change in policy/ambition from the owner, for even if we get him, Kenedy and Slimani signed up, we will merely have stood still as a team/squad. Much work to be done . .

    • Wor Lass

      The Hoss mustn`t have been involved in the Dubravka signing, then!

    • Leazes.

      Slimani’s not coming….. two more decent signings and we’ll be up to last seasons strength though.

      Lets see where United are positioned by the owner this time, my guess is it’ll be exactly the same as last time….

      We have a ‘Trophy Manager’ with the accompanying marketing of scarfs and ‘stuff’…. who need’s players?

      • Paul Patterson

        Nah, I wouldn’t sign Slimani either, but I’d certainly make all attempts to buy Kenedy to go with Dubravka.

    • JonMag

      the chronicle hailed Dubravka as the signing of the season, bit far fetched as we need strikers but they may well be right because going on past form with Fatso we`re more than likely to end up with another Joselu

      • Toon Arnie

        Let’s just hope he’s not our marquee signing !!

  • kingfisher

    “Whilst these talks were reportedly still going on, Newcastle supporters hoped for other signs that the club were moving towards Rafa’s position, with early summer transfer moves the obvious one.”
    Who are these “Newcastle supporters”? Most fans surely know by now that Ashley will NEVER,NEVER,NEVER change his ways and business strategy and start behaving like a responsible and caring owner.It’s the same scenario every transfer window, expectations are high that Ashley will back Rafa and guess what ? Same old, same old.When will these people finally realize what Ashley is and STOP GOING TO S.J.P and supporting him ?
    If I was Rafa I would tell Ashley to stick his job where the sun don’t shine and go to a club where the owner has a modicum of respect for him and appreciates his work ethic.

    • Lostprofit DBC

      Ashley would love to break the fans and see Rafa walk. He ain’t daft though and will play chess with the vindictive greedy one. Glad someone cares about the fans.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        Really? pretty illogical conclusion that.

        • Lostprofit DBC

          Rafa loves it here and won’t be chased away. Granted he may not renew as he’s frustrated at Ashley’s lack of ambition but won’t be rushed when there is any chance of a takeover.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            If that’s what you meant, I misunderstood your first post.

    • nufcslf

      All this same old same old should tell anyone with half a football brain to just stay away. Absolutely nothing worth supporting. Fatty is very lucky I am not Rafa, I would have walked a long time ago and slaughtered the stupid pryk on live television and in the media. Leaving him with nowhere to hide.

      • kingfisher

        Totally agree nufcslf.Everyone has a choice, and the fans who renew their season tickets year, after year, after year, without a thought of what the consequences are,choose to support the Ashley regime.
        They argue that they are supporting the team, not the regime.They cannot see that their blind devotion is doing irreparable harm to Newcastle United Football Club in the long term !
        Some of us on this site refuse to put any more money into Ashleys pocket and if that means staying away from SJP until Ashley goes, then so be it.

        • nufcslf

          Watching matches on the telly have become painful enough and barely even celebrating a goal very much the case. I couldn’t imagine actually going to a match with guts churning over with the I hope we win today feeling that made it a special even to be part of. Cashley killed that for me the day he forced KK to walk. I hope to show more interest when he is gone, but don’t think the whole Saturday football live and die feeling will ever return. Cashley’s club is all very plastic from top to bottom and Rafa must have some patients to put up with such total [email protected] I know I couldn’t. Very, very sad.

        • Toon Arnie

          This is a tough one, I can’t stand Ashley and like everyone but the most blinkered or naive Newcastle fans can see he is a poisonous crook. However I go to support Rafa and the team. Remember it’s this support that kept Rafa at the club so effectively my love for the club outweighs my hatred for Ashley and his toxic regime. I can see, and respect, your point of view though.

          • kingfisher

            Fair comment Toon Arnie.It would be a funny world if we all agreed and had the same views and opinions.I suppose at the end of the day, we all (well, mostly all) want the same thing, and that is to see the back of Ashley.

  • Leazes.

    The biggest problem for Journalists this summer is that they know the rules that United and Benitez are operating under….

    If Rafa leaves then he or another club will have to pay Ashley £6m buy out….. in Charnley’s words a ‘Watertight contract’…. so he’ll string out negotiations for another season until he’s a free agent….. so then for this season…..

    1. Rafa can produce lists and scout players
    2. Charnley will snip the top off those lists
    3. Time will run out
    4. Surplus players not sold off by the ambitious clubs will be loaned out and Rafa will bring loan in in last gasp desperation.

    The Local press will therefore.

    1. Look for players who are out of contract (Bin dipping)
    2. Big-up players who are here, ‘step up to the mark’ comments.
    3. Promise jam tomorrow (Lie)
    4. Fill pages with Adam Armstrong stuff, and Kieron Dyer revelations about his time here and find new ways to amuse themselves on transfer deadline day. (write guff)

    Everything they’ve done for the last eleven years and counting….(betray United’s fans)

    • Paul Patterson

      What? It’s almost like you’ve seen that happen before . .

      • Leazes.

        I’m Mystic

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          you’re a liar.

    • TheFatController

      Point 4 – personally, I’d like to hear more about Jenas’ Search for a decent barber, Lee Ryder could make that a serialisation I have no doubt.

    • Arty Hume

      Ha ha ha, like it :)

  • Lostprofit DBC

    Ashley would love Rafa to walk without any repercussions. Ironically the ideal manager for him is the one he got rid of when he arrived, fat Sam. Survival with minimum input and maximum prize money is his aim. He hates us.

    • HarryHype59

      I said exactly the same thing a while back. Fat Sham fits the Ashley model perfectly.

    • TheFatController

      I’m pretty certain the arrival of Big Sam would see him break his ‘never relegated from PL’ duck …

      • Lostprofit DBC

        Why no man look at his pedigree, boring but effective.

        • TheFatController

          It wouldn’t work here though I suspect – how many fans would have any heart in watching an allardyce team again.

          One thing that always gets us relegated is the fans not backing the team. Home games become toxic.

  • JonMag

    No surprise there then, new window same schitt. the fat [email protected]@k has no intention of backing Rafa, his shopping list is for quality Fatso`s is for tat.
    loans, free transfers anything to paper over the cracks as long as it`s cheap.
    survival is the name of the game that`s why he has a trophy manager on £5m a year instead of buying £15m to £25m players. he isn`t daft we are

  • Desree

    I prefer the Màrk lawrenson articles

  • mentalman

    Another article which foregoes the truth to have a pop at Ashley

    • TheFatController

      I think your case would be strengthened by either Rafa signing a new contract or more activity than Dubravka signing a contract that was likely drawn up in January….

      No one knows the truth. We just know the truth of past windows and Rafa being in the last year of his contract.

      In what way is the article misleading therefore ?

      It’s like the ‘empath’ girl in Team America – ‘ I’m sensing a lot of happiness in rafa…’

      I’m sure we’re all feeling it too?

      • mentalman

        Abraham did an interview before the first game of the season saying that there was agreements in place with us and Swansea and he chose swansea after advice from chelsea’s coaching staff. Ashley didn’t stop, block or delay the transfer in anyway the player chose to go to Swansea for various reasons.

        Caballero joined the league champions

        • TheFatController

          I think that mentioning the two players whose names got out is the tip of the iceberg of adminstration incompetence and just plain refusal to sanction moves.

          Anyone thinking we are great at getting in Rafa’s top choices hasn’t read and heard all the huge evidence that we don’t get his top choices in.

          Most informative evidence ? If Rafa got anywhere near his first choices, why has he not signed a new contract ?

    • Toon Arnie

      What part of that article do you disagree with ?

  • Waxi

    Rafa will be gone at the end of next season with no conpo to fatty and him doing a great job while he was in contract with us. He does not need the hassle of fighting for every signing and he will now know we are not going to be sold as the greedy fat man has no intention of selling when he ups his price by 100 million. Hope I’m wrong but after 11 years of fatty we know how it will end.

  • Alan Pardew

    The club to a certain extent needs to wipe its nose and therefore we haven’t got ­investment above our income. That is how Mike wants to run the football club.

    • Toon Arnie

      That still doesn’t explain why he tells lies and refuses to communicate with Rafa – he brings a lot of the bad feeling upon himself.

  • Vodkamagpie

    What is the right amount to spend?. I think everyone should state what is their realistic amount Newcastle should spend in the transfer window. Because clearly the 204Mil the last 4 years means nothing to you lot. So what would make you happy?, will you lot ever be happy?, I extremely have my doubts that you’ll ever be satisfied.

    • glassjawsh-got-banned

      good grief, how thick can people be: 2018-19 net spend – 11 million, 2017-18 net spend – 25 million, 2016-17 net profit: 37 million. via transfermarkt. That’s 3 seasons of Rafa in charge with a 1 million pound transfer profit over the same time period. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a clergymen to divine that Benitez has gotten [email protected]#$ all for backing during his tenure at SJP.

      • Vodkamagpie

        Oh, net profit, is that what makes the difference, you conveniently left out season 15/16, obviously because Rafa wasn’t manager then, unfortunately the club spent 75Mil, sold 2Mil, pity you left that season out

        • glassjawsh-got-banned

          right, because it makes complete sense to include a season in which Rafa was not in charge of transfers in an argument about what Rafa has been allowed to spend since being in charge of transfers…

          • Toon Arnie

            Conclusive – a point well made !!

          • Vodkamagpie

            Oh excuse me, you don’t think it might be slightly relevant that the season before rafa took charge, the net spent was 73Mil, and rafas first season was in the championship, the championship, championship. Don’t you think that are key points which might determine how much money rafa gets?

          • Toon Arnie

            Right then, so no excuses this season ?

        • Toon Arnie

          Maths isn’t your strongpoint really is it ? Welcome aboard GhostVodka…??

    • Toon Arnie

      Dear me – somebody even more confused than Ghost Rider ! The net spend in the last 4 years has been pennies. Where do you get this information from ?

      • Vodkamagpie

        I must be so confused , I made a mistake. So silly from me, they didn’t add merino, cause it was a loan, I’ll add it now. So last 4 seasons, plus current transfer window, spent 217Mil, sold 134Mil. Get my information from transferleague

  • mactoon

    I could imagine the transfer budget isn’t the main problem here, it’s possibly getting Ashley to agreeing to let Rafa have full control of transfer dealings and a willingness to commit to improving the academy and training facilities.

    Ashley will not be willing to turn over control of spending to his manager and he will not spend on the training facilities while he is trying to “sell the club”.