Rumours began early on Wednesday that Spain were going to sack their manager, with Rafa Benitez being put forward around the media as a potential replacement (see below)

Current boss Julen Lopetegui was unveiled as Real Madrid’s new manager for next season on Tuesday, leading to chaos and anger in the Spanish camp.

It turns out that they nothing about this at all and the Spanish FA were only informed five minutes before Real Madrid announced the news.

Despite the World Cup kicking off in 24 hours time, and Spain playing massive rivals Portugal on Friday, the Spanish FA have indeed sacked Lopetegui.

Even though they say they wish him well in their announcement (see below), the Spanish FA are clearly furious with what has happened.

Whatever the case with Real Madrid and Spain, as I said this morning, no way could I see Rafa Benitez leaving Newcastle for Spain (not immediately or indeed any time before next season kicks off).

Rafa has given no indication he wants to leave club football management and will surely want to see what he can do next season with NUFC, after so much work these past two years.

Luis Rubiales President of the Spanish FA:

“We have been forced to dispense with the national coach. We wish you the greatest of luck.

β€œThe negotiations have taken place without any notice to the Spanish, (we found out) just five minutes before the press release. There’s a way to act that needs to be fulfilled.

“I have a very close relationship with the players, as with Julen. It is a very complex situation, the most complex that I could find

β€œThis is the team of all Spaniards. You can’t do things this way, 2-3 days before the World Cup. We have been compelled to make this decision

“I admire Julen very much, I respect him very much. He seems to me a top coach and that makes it harder to make the decision

“I’m sure this will, in time, make us stronger

“I know it’s a very difficult situation. I know there’s going to be criticism whatever I do. But the values of the Spanish FA means it cannot be left out of a negotiation by one of its workers and be informed 5 minutes before the press release. We have been compelled to act

The team will do everything to get the best results.”

The Mag – Wednesday 13 June (earlier today):

Rafa Benitez has been linked with the Spain job.

Tuesday brought the announcement that Julen Lopetegui had agreed to take over at Real Madrid.

Lopetegui will step down after overseeing Spain at the World Cup in Russia, taking over for the 2018/19 season.

He had a similar path to the job as Gareth Southgate, having spent four years managing at various youth levels with Spain, followed by a couple of years at Porto before taking over with the national side in 2016.

Yesterday’s announcement predictably prompted a number of lazy reports from journalists/newspapers claiming Rafa Benitez was under consideration for the Spain job.

It is an easy story to write about such an experienced manager who has experienced great success both home (in La Liga) and abroad.

However, Rafa clearly enjoys the day to day cut and thrust of being in club management and has given no indication he is ready to give that up any time soon.

Just because Mike Ashley is messing his manager about, doesn’t then equal Rafa Benitez wanting to jump ship to manage his country.

If he did finally say enough is enough with Mike Ashley, there would be plenty of ambitious clubs ready to offer him alternative employment.

After spending over two years doing a brilliant job of turning around Newcastle United, it would also take something special to make him give all of that up, just when there should be now the money available and opportunity to now progress properly his NUFC ‘project’.

City Hall Gifts -

  • TheNutJob

    Go on Rafa, i dare you to get on the plane & help your country
    Viva espana
    Spanish officials are today going to approach Nufc for Rafa

    • mactoon

      Ashley would let him as long as they pay his wages until the transfer window closes.

      • TheNutJob


  • Liam Hogg

    Don’t think the Spanish fans would appreciate them starting a World Cup game with Joselu up front

  • thewildchimp

    Well, he said that he isn’t even interested in going to watch final games despite being invited, so… But why would he have to quit the Newcastle job in order to pose as a caretaker during the World Cup? It could be a month-long appointment.

    • TheNutJob

      reports online say they want a lend of him

      • thewildchimp

        It sounds reasonable. He already gave his target list to Charnley, and has quality staff to monitor the practice. However, he is very diligent so he might refuse. Ashley would grab the offered compensation, though. Snap them in half.

        • TheNutJob

          Fatty gets a fee & his Helicopters ready to go

          • thewildchimp

            I bet they are changing the oil right now.

          • TheNutJob

            It`s already on standby for Jamaal

    • Guest 9

      Ask Clarke apparently the position is filled…πŸ˜‚

  • ghostrider

    They may as well loan Rafa because if he’s not going to extend his contract he won’t be given many building tools for Newcastle…and rightly so.
    I’d be ok with it if he took the Spain job full time if he’s not going to extend his contract, because I do not want a half hearted manager or a whining one just running down his contract simply because of the mammoth amount of money that contract is.

    Taking over Spain would mean he forgoes his salary and we can get in a new manager who can be given funds and also get the best from the players Rafa could not, or refused to.

    • TheNutJob

      without Rafa we`d go straight back down with that squad & Fatty knows it

      • ghostrider

        Nahhh, we wouldn’t…not at all.
        If it wasn’t for Dubravka and Kenedy on loan hitting the ground running and forcing Rafa to change tactics, we would likely have got relegated…because most of the squad was dejected by that point.

        • East Durham Mag

          Delusional…. again.

        • Guest 9

          And thank Mike he allowed Rafa to get them both!

          • Geordiegiants


      • Peter C

        That’s the problem, he doesn’t know it. He thinks that anyone can manage a football club, and the players we have, are adequate to say in the Premier League. He thinks, it’s all about pounds, shillings and pence.

        It’s a pity that Bobby Robson isn’t still about. because he would’ve put Ashley straight. A football club isn’t like any other business, but that’s the way Ashley runs it, just like any other bog standard company.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against Newcastle being run in a sensible manner. but with a bit of investment, the club could be so much more than it is, with the potential to make more money than it ever has.

        If we lose Benitez, I truly believe that it won’t be long before we’re in the Championship or lower. Then Ashley and the supporters will be in a world of hurt, financial for him, and emotional for the fans.

        It could take decades to get back to where we are now, if we ever do.

    • Tino11

      I don’t want a half hearted owner and MD but that’s exactly what we’ve got, Rafa has shown more passion for NUFC than those two combined. But of course you never give up the opportunity to slag off Rafa.

      • ghostrider

        11 years says nothing about half hearted.
        As for Rafa. Rafa has shown more passion for his wage packet and sung the right songs to guarantee his own selfish needs.

        Also I’ll give up having a pop ar Rafa when he gives me a reason to.
        Most people like yourself never give up on any opportunity to slag Ashley…mostly for little reason.

        • Ram Kishore

          Isn’t it a bit stretched allegation Ghost?

          • ghostrider

            Maybe but it depends on how it’s looked at and by who.

        • MadMag83

          11 years and he’s tried to sell the club how many times? I’d say that’s very half hearted, the only problem is Ashley doesn’t even have a heart, just a swinging rock!

          • ghostrider

            The thing with Ashley is, yeah he can be half hearted with certain things. Certainly with running the football side of things at Newcastle United and certainly in terms of a mindset on a select portion of the fans.

            I’d be the same in his shoes.
            The man is the devil to some and he knows that will never change.
            His love of the football club as a fan started dying among the fans and after Keegan.
            The utter bile and filth he’s had to deal with from certain groups will never ever make him want to hand out presents but he’s business savvy and professional enough to see that the club does not fail.
            I don’t mean relegation blips or dropping down a few places from the year before…..I mean literally failing as a club.

            So in that respect he’s far from half hearted.
            I’ll tell you something else. If he thought for one minute that he could get onside with the fans in an amicable way, I’m fairly sure he would rekindle his love affair and the spin off from that would be to the fans benefit.

            However, I think he’s done. I believe he’s selling up to the right buyer…leaving the club in a healthy state when he does…something that was not done under previous owners.

            Some people need to think about all of that.

          • Geordieguy

            If ashley is so keen to go why didn’t he take Staveley’s offer? He wants 400 million for a club that needs heavy investment both in the playing squad and the academy and training facilities . What planet is he from ?

          • ghostrider

            Steveley is a chancer for the people she works for. She’s a fixer/financier.
            PCP came in with their bid through Steveley and Ashley basically said, put your money where your mouth’s are, this is the price.

            They offered less and wanted guarantees in case of relegation, etc.
            Ashley called her out and told her to come back when she’s serious….or to put it more bluntly, she was the classic tyre kicker.

            Call Ashley anything you want but two things he won’t let happen.
            1. He won’t sell the club on the cheap. That’s a massive good thing for us.

            2. He won’t let some flash Harry come in with all mouth and no pockets who could take a massive chance and destroy the club in short order.

            The reason we are still in the premier league is because Ashley is no mug.
            The reason why Sunderland are in league one is because Ellis Short was.

            Go back 6/7/8 years ago and people were begging for a Short and telling Sunderland fans they can have Ashley.

            So, when you say this club needs heavy investment and he’s got a cheek asking 400 million…just remember that:

            1. If this club was owned by a Geordie right now and he wanted to sell it, you’d likely be shouting the odds about nobody’s getting this club on the cheap. Maybe….eh? Possibly?….

            This club needs some investment…not heavy investment.
            We have enough at this club with the aid of maybe 2 or 3 quality additions, to easily finish inside the top 10…especially with the quality of teams we were up against last season which I wasn’t impressed with outside of the top 6.

          • Geordieguy

            We need two good goalscorers . They don’t fall out of poundland Xmas crackers . And if we want kenedy back aswell we’re looking at the thick end of a hundred million. And if rafa doesn’t care about the long term future of nufc why is he asking for the academy and training facilities to be improved ? Which ashley won’t sanction the money for !

          • ghostrider

            We’ve got two good goal scorers but they’re just not used correctly or not used at all.
            Gayle and Mitrovic.
            Do we need more?
            Of course if Mitro is being sold and Gayle or Joselu get sold.

            He was going to go for Jorgensen. Do you still want him?
            20 million?

          • Geordieguy

            I would fear the worst going into next season with just those two . Mitrovic is a loose cannon and gayle looked a shadow of his former self last season. Still we can look forward to playing Sunderland next year I suppose because neither of those will get us ten goals

          • ghostrider

            Supply them and they would.

          • Geordieguy

            I think finishing was a bigger issue than supplying last season. There were games when we created a lot of chances that weren’t taken by gayle or joselu . Not the majority of games I grant you but a few

          • ghostrider

            Yep, there were some games like that but let’s evaluate it all.
            Gayle was initially burdened with the pressure in the championship.
            He got injured and lost some form and with it, massive confidence…and it showed.

            Joselu tried but was not blessed with pace, yet used as more of a grafter around the midfield area rather than any target man.
            He was average anyway..but the point is, there was little to no real supply and a drill in that area to be given a chance for anything to work.

            It was a basic cautionary play for moist part.
            Played properly, Mitrovic would have filled the role with Gayle with Ritchie and co supplying in play and on counter attack, with those two occupying the places where they can do most damage.

            Rafa was too cautionary to allow it and Mitrovic was rendered useless to the cause, whilst Gayle was feeding on scraps and Joselu was basically making himself a grafting nuisance with little attacking end product, yet plenty of closing down and being the crash test dummy for the hatchet men.

          • Geordieguy

            OK to a certain extent I agree we were too defensive . I’ve no defence for the man city game . However I do think for the main part that rafa was trying to get the best from a very limited squad

          • ghostrider

            The thing is though, I don’t think we were limited in that sense.
            I believe the squad we had was well capable of the finish we had and with much better football.
            The teams we were up against outside of the top 6 were beatable home and away. None of them were better than we were but we had players left out that could have changed the way we played.
            It was as if stubborn Rafa wanted to play it ultra safe whilst banishing forward thinking players to the backburner.

            It was soul destroying to watch and his plan B was none existent.
            We were in serious relegation trouble until Kenedy came in and basically forced Rafa to alter his stubborn ultra cautious mindset.

            Dubravka aided in that by getting the defence out of jail on many occasions.
            Rafa ran on fortune just as much as defensive so called tactical genius…but it was as if he coached offensive mindset out of the players until he realised that pacey players hitting teams on the break wasn’t working and teams had us sussed…….until, like I said, Kenedy, which made him redesign the attacking mindset of players like Ritchie and Shelvey…etc… who were so downtrodden you could see it on their faces and body language.

            They simply didn’t want to chase chickens all game with no exciting end product for themselves or the team other than the art of aiding Rafa’s defensive troops and mindset to man all lifeboats.

            We cannot have another season like that and if we do, I almost guarantee fans will see Rafa in a different light and it won’t be sweetness and light, either. That’s my speculative guess.

            The man seems to want to dictate his terms. One man against a club. It’s not on and shouldn’t be allowed to work like that.
            Ashley as an owner will make sure it’s amicable or Rafa will have to walk the plank.

          • Geordieguy

            He just wants to spend the transfer budget as he sees fit. Or does ashley think he knows more about buying and selling players than a manager who won the champions league?

          • ghostrider

            Buying and selling players ios all well and good when you’re doing it with someone else’s money.
            Don’t you think the money side of things should be left to the people who manage the finances….which isn’t a team manager.

          • Geordieguy

            Someone else’s money? The club’s money surely? Ashley has washed his hands of it . Every penny generated etc . I suppose you think Ronaldo is a clean and fair player

          • ghostrider

            What’s Ronaldo got to do with this?

          • Geordieguy

            My point is that you are ncapable of recognising a wrong un when you see it. I’m starting to think leazes is right about you and some others. That you are indeed man United fans just getting your jollies by goading us

          • ghostrider

            Feel free to have any opinion you wish but just remember that wishes don’t always come true.

          • Geordieguy

            That’s true . I’ve been wishing fatty would go since the keegan debacle but alas not

          • ghostrider

            You had the power all along to get rid of Ashley, my dear.
            You see, Geordieguy You had to learn for yourself, that it wasn’t enough just to want to see Ashley gone and Auntie Em to take over β€” and it’s that β€” if you ever go looking for your heart’s desire again, you need not look any further than your own dreamy bed. Because if it isn’t there, you never really lost it to begin with.
            Now your magic slippers under your bed will help you get rid of Ashley in two seconds!

            Just go to bed and close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, ‘There’s no Ashley at Newcastle’.

            Try it….but don’t get a shock if your gardener, next door neighbour and old Mr ammonia strides from over the road are stood at the end of your bed looking like characters in your dream. lol

          • Geordieguy

            Dunno what you’re on about but if you’re happy with the way Mr creosote has run the club then you’re either not a fan or you’ve got pitifully low standards. We’re a joke a massive advertising hoarding for his shops

          • ghostrider

            We’re far from a joke but I’ll give you a little bit of insight into the mindset of some fans.

            Once upon a time Newcastle fans were thrust into a Sir John Hall dream. A wonderland.
            This man brought in a messiah. A footballing god to some, in Kevin Keegan.
            Kevin Keegan was given a lot of cash (at the time) to build a dream…a dream that John Hall wanted as a fan himself.
            Few clubs could match our quest to fulfill that dream and the roller-coaster ride of excitement was underway.

            Well oiled wheels and a well constructed framework looked to have many rides secured for much excitement for a long time.
            The problem was, the roller-coaster was built on weakening foundations because some people forgot to dig deep enough to ensure long term advancement of the ride.

            Fans of that time did not worry about where the money was coming from.
            They saw a messiah and an owner that was a Geordie with vision. They saw entertaining football and also saw potential trophies galore in the closing distance.

            Fans appearing from everywhere with replica shirts.
            Fans living a fairy-tale.
            This has been dined on many times to this very day.
            It’s called expectation however misguided it is.
            Many fans will say they do not expect…but a good proportion use the past as the present yardstick but deny it when called out on it.

            You see, sir Bobby gets a mention among other managers who came in and ramped up expectations but the real after dinner speech of success will always revert back to the messiah and the entertainers, regardless of the fact we didn’t get any.
            But it all felt like success…right?

            Because it was EXCITING.
            Winning the first division title to become premier league and finishing third the next season…but not before the bus ride through the toon.
            FA CUP WIN?….CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL WIN?….you’d almost think so but first division title it was.
            Could you tell the difference in the excitement?
            Pavel is a Geordie.
            Crest of a wave.
            Take on the world.

            You see, nothing went wrong. It was all fantastic with minor blips until Ashley came. Right?


            People choose to forget the mess that was left and the mess we got into many times in between Ashley.
            They choose to focus on Ashley.

            Fans choosing to forget how close this club came to oblivion after it was realised just how this club survived at the high end of the league.
            Borrowing money hand over fist from banks who called it in. Called no joy when asked to bail us out again so we can have another go.
            Basically ending the dream of a Geordie who gambled with the clubs existence in order to live a dream and to allow fans like themselves to fantasise.

            It makes a good story. It makes a great once upon a time fairy tale.
            The problem is the ending.

            Now we’re into the midst of another novel. One which we will tell a tale of (up to now) being a mixed ride with…but hopefully a happy ending comes from this one, whether Ashley leaves us in good solid state and in the hands of a solid investor of the entire club, with contingency plans….or Ashley stays and we win something or a few things before he ends his novel.

            But as the story stands, it’s a story of every emotion…but certainly is not a story of lowered standards…just careful strategy that kills a fantasy but still keeps a hope. Yet this club does not need to go cap in hand or even roll it around the fingers with bowed head in the presence of the elites….because Ashley won’t bow down to any of it.

            We might not win the league in his tenure. We might not win a cup. But then again…we might.
            We might not get into the champions league….but then again, we might.

            We might not get relegated again….but then again, we might.
            We might not ever break a transfer record again…but then again, we might.

            But one thing that tells me there’s hope …and that’s a full stadium on a regular basis…not because our standards have dropped and not because standards are expected to rise. It’s mere unconditional love for the CLUB. For Newcastle United. And the ride we all jump on and stay on…with very few shouting ” stop the ride I want to get off.”

            Because in between all the bickering and name calling between us all…we are all Newcastle UNited fans for ourselves first and foremost but as a unit when match day comes around, no matter who is the custodian.

          • Geordieguy

            I’ll get back to you when I’ve got a few hours to spare to read your essay

          • ghostrider

            Take your time, no rush.

          • Geordieguy

            Yes I see that Mr creosote is way the light . May ua snowflakes melt in the presence of his majesty. I was blind and now I can see . I’m like Saul or was it Paul on the road to Damascus

          • ghostrider

            Like I said. If the training is geared to cautionary football drill then attacking players, especially strikers are going to be a bit short on end product finishing and confidence.

            Rafa pays attention to detail. His detail of his set up..which we all saw was baffling and soul destroying on far too many occasions.
            the players with attacking ability were clearly frustrated. You could see it on their faces and in their body language having to spend far too much of their time ensuring we stopped the opposition rather than giving the opposition something to think about.

            It became embarrassing at times.
            You know what? I can’t even slag Joselu off for not converting chances. I normally would for a forward doing that but I blame Rafa for drilling negativity into him…in terms of turning him into a grafting chicken chaser and a scrap feeder.

            Gayle was simply a striker that was left to battle it out against big defenders and who relied on the long ball/through ball eye of a needle Shelvey pass, mostly which 9 times out of 10 got gobbled up by defenders.

            No wonder their strike rate was dismal. Anyone’s would be in that set up.

            Kenedy’s confidence and ability changed all of that because it appears to me that Kenedy was loaned on the premise of being played positively…it must have been because Rafa changed his tactics and actually turned Ritchie back into a force, plus Shelvey and even Diame took up enforcing position…etc…..etc….etc.

            So, it’s as simple as this. If you want goals you have to be prepared to have a go at every opportunity. Not gungho but every available opportunity.

            Mitrovic and Gayle would work a treat if employed properly.
            One more decent striker to accompany would be great.

            As for Joselu, I’d keep him as a player to close matches out, not to be relied on to get us goals on any regular basis, because as a striker he’s bang average but as a team player defending from the front and harassing on the front foot, he’s effective without standing out. He takes the flack from opposition hatchet men and allows our team to readjust.

            If Mitro and/or Gayle go then naturally we need two good strikers but we won’t need to bother if Rafa resorts to playing like he did early last season.

          • Guest 9

            Wonderful β€˜insight’ you are almost like a reverse Snorky.

            You do have a lot of time on here, I’d of thought someone like you would be busier?

          • Kneebotherm8


    • Ram Kishore

      As we know talks are being held and once Ashley and Rafa come to agreement on the issues that needs to be sorted out Rafa will sign..
      You really have no idea if he’s half hearted right?

      • ghostrider

        Nope, I’m just speculating about him and the contract. I’m looking at the bleaker side of it rather than the positive side…mainly because I don’t generally see a positive side to a manager who tries to back an owner into a corner.

  • Leazes.

    You don’t need a ‘Trophy Manager’ to run United….we could get Hughes for half the compensation and spend the rest in Aspers Casino…..

    ….Sorry I just like to get into the mind of the owner when it comes to likely events.

    • TheNutJob


  • Megatron1505

    Rafa to Spain, Pardew back in Toon. Makes perfect sense in Fattys world.

    • Leazes.

      Are you Jezza’s Brother?

      • Megatron1505


    • Peter C

      I’m assuming your statement is a bit of tongue in cheek, or a may have it all wrong, and you’re serious.

      But I wouldn’t put it past the realms of possibility, of this actually happening in the world of Mike Ashley.

      Surely Alan Pardew wouldn’t work for Ashley again, would he, or Fat Sam, or possibly, some nonentity from over the scottish border, like some club we know, from down the A19

      P.S Rafa could be the new Spanish Manager in 4 to 6 weeks time.

  • mactoon

    Sam Allardyce spotted walking through Russian customs wearing a sombrero

    • MadMag83


    • Mike

      well he has a villa that he bought from the Toon payoff

      • 1957

        Not anymore he sold it for twice what it cost and built a new one, probably with another of his payoffs

  • Brent Jackson

    ‘It would take ‘something special’ to make him give all that up’
    WTF? Managing his country in a world cup where they are one of the favorites!?
    Sounds pretty special to me…fuck it were doomed.

    • mactoon

      It will be the Spanish U21 manager. There is no chance of them asking Rafa

  • 1957

    Managers who have had successful domestic careers and won top honours would surely jump at the chance to manage their country in a world cup tournament. I’ve no doubt if the Spanish are interested in Benitez short or long term they will have already sounded him out through ‘ his people ‘ and an approach to NUFC would indicate Benitez wanted to do the job.

  • Rich Lawson

    Surely they will go for someone (in the short term) within the current set up who is known by the players and offers some sort of continuity ? And good on them for sacking the manager,his behavior in unsettling the team just before the tournament starts is a disgrace..

  • Billmag

    Won’t happen Rafa love’s to work with player’s day in day out on a regular basis and not once every 3-4 months.

  • MadMag83

    Wouldn’t blame him if he took the Spain job. Just depends if his tactics would be welcomed by the Spanish media. Plus some of them are Real Madrid players and may have been instrumental in getting him the sack there.

  • Leicester Mag

    Pardew sat by phone waiting for the call.

    • Rich Lawson

      Shame McClaren went to QPR,he could probably do the accent better ?

  • Paul Patterson

    He won’t go. Not when the squad is picked. If this had been a month ago though. I also believe that Rafa would want to be in charge of the qualifying stages, not just the cup itself..