There has been much discussion of ‘That’ official Newcastle United statement that was released on the eve of the season.

A joint statement (read it below) that went out in the names of Lee Charnley, Jamaal Lascelles and Rafa Benitez.

Fair to say that it left Newcastle fans with mixed emotions: anger, frustration and confusion, amongst others.

Without the names of Jamaal Lascelles and Rafa Benitez (in particular) on it, the statement would have simply been met by plenty of anger and frustration.

The fact that the manager and captain had put their names to it, added the confusion.

One of only two clubs (along with Watford) to have made a profit in the summer transfer window, to put out an official club statement congratulating yourself on the transfer business is embarrassing from the hierarchy.  Spending money doesn’t always bring success, but when the club’s owner promises the manager ‘every penny’ and then there is not a penny spent beyond some of the cash from player sales, it just looks pathetic.

Whatever this joint statement says, we didn’t need telling how Rafa Benitez felt about what had happened this summer, in relation to Mike Ashley and funds for transfers. Since first going public with it in early July, Rafa has consistently told us that he was angry and frustrated with the lack of backing in the transfer market.

With the likes of Fulham, Huddersfield, Brighton, Wolves, West Ham, Southampton, Burnley, Bournemouth and Cardiff all having net spends £50m or more higher than Newcastle United, how could Rafa Benitez not be upset?

He wasn’t shopping where he wanted to, he was shopping where his meagre ‘budget’ allowed.

As to the statement on Friday, I must admit that when I first read it…as you can see below, looking past much of the nonsense included in it by Keith Bishop, I thought that there were just possibly some grains of hope, maybe. That the manager and captain had been given some assurances about the future (a club sale, an explanation of a positive credible long-term plan that explains this shocking lack of transfer funds this summer, or whatever), though having heard what Rafa Benitez has had to say now (see below), I don’t see that as being the case at all sadly.

It was clear from Mike Ashley’s perspective why he wanted this letter going out, to try and dilute fan protests as well as giving him and is PR people ammunition in the days, weeks and months ahead. As in, well the manager and captain agreed that…

As to why Rafa and Lascelles agreed to it?

We don’t know the process that brought this statement about but no doubt it was initiated by Ashley’s people. Did Rafa or his captain insist on anything being changed, or were they left with only the option of agreeing to a first draft, or nothing at all going out?

I think with what Rafa says below, it is obvious that he simply saw the joint statement as a positive thing in terms of doing no harm in trying to help create a more positive atmosphere for his squad.

We have seen it in each of these last four transfer windows now, Rafa Benitez makes clear throughout the transfer window that he is not getting proper backing from Mike Ashley, expresses his anger and frustration. However, once transfer deadline passes, he rolls his sleeves up and says they simply have to get on with the job and do the best with what is available.

A lot of people have rightly questioned the part of the statement that says ‘without doubt’ the Newcastle squad is now stronger after the summer window. To go out of your way to include those words is undoubtedly trying a bit too hard, the NUFC owner attempting to claim he is improving the club by backing the manager, supposedly.

In actual fact, the squad is probably stronger than last season, certainly compared to this time last year, but, and it is a big BUT, the truth is that nearly every one of the clubs Newcastle will be competing with, have improved their teams/squads far more than Rafa has been allowed to at St James Park.

Rafa Benitez often uses these kind of words: ‘Newcastle fans are clever, they know what is going on‘, and I think we are all surely ‘clever’ enough to see through what Mike Ashley is attempting to do with this joints statement.

Thousands of Newcastle fans still turned up to protest on Northumberland Street in Newcastle, outside Sports Direct on Saturday.

We all know that Rafa has not agreed to a contract extension, which is surely the only real show in town if the manager has any intention of showing anything has changed with Mike Ashley.

The manager is never going  to slag off his players, he will only talk positives about the seven new signings and the others he will be relying on this season.

He has done his very best this summer to make absolutely clear that the club is failing and has no chance of improving until Mike Ashley changes or goes. Rafa shouting from the rooftops that the training facilities and Academy are desperately in need of major investment, as well as proper transfer funding, if Newcastle United are to have any chance at all of competing.

He has done his best and the pleas have fallen on deaf ears, so now Rafa just wants to do the very best and professional job he can do in the final year of his NUFC contract

Rafa Benitez asked why he agreed to his name being attached to Friday’s statement:

“I was trying to be positive to make sure that everybody sticks together.

“If you read what we said, it is not something (that is a lot) different to what I was saying (at Friday’s pre-match press conference).

“We have finished the transfer window, we have to concentrate on doing the right things for the club and the team.”

(Asked whether he agrees with the part of the statement that says ‘without doubt’ Newcastle United is stronger after this transfer window?)

“I want to say that the players we have brought in are good players.

“That is my thought.

“I want to support my players and give them the confidence and the belief that they can do it.”

The Mag – Friday 10 August 2018:

Friday afternoon has seen a surprise statement released by Newcastle United, a joint message signed off by Lee Charnley, Rafa Benitez and Jamaal Lascelles.

After the end of the transfer window, the statement’s message is maybe best summed up by this line: ‘Now, it’s about all of us pulling in the same direction, for the good of the club.’

Make of it what you will but just maybe this is a sign of something more positive to come in the future.

Unlike the embarrassing emails that were sent out in the names of Steve McClaren and Fabricio Coloccini, I just can’t see Rafa Benitez and Jamaal Lascelles allowing anything to go out that they weren’t perfectly happy with.

Newcastle United official announcement:

Dear supporters,

As the transfer window closes and attentions turn to the start of the season, we wanted to make this joint statement, on behalf of everyone at the club.

Doing good business in a transfer window is about ending the window clearly stronger than when you started and we believe we have done this. The view we all share is that we have a better squad now than the one that finished tenth last season and all involved have worked tirelessly to make this happen.

Collectively, we must extend praise to Steve Nickson and his recruitment team. Their operations are year-round, but they have worked day and night in recent months to support efforts to enhance the squad.

We are all excited about the seven players who have joined us this summer. Their combined experience in the Premier League and at an international level – with three of them appearing at this summer’s World Cup for their respective countries – cannot fail to strengthen us.

Martin Dúbravka and Kenedy have already proven themselves to be fantastic players here and we are confident that Ki Sung-yueng, Fabian Schär, Yoshinori Mutō, Salomón Rondón and Federico Fernandez will be excellent additions to the dressing room.

Given our finishing position last season, we already had a team of players who were more than capable of performing well in the Premier League. They have shown heart, guts and determination and the inference that they are ‘Championship’ players and not good enough is unfair and untrue. The players all believe in themselves and in the quality of the squad, and we all believe in the players.

Now, it’s about all of us pulling in the same direction, for the good of the club. This came through strongly in a recent positive call between our owner and senior members of the squad, who agreed that better dialogue going forward will benefit all parties and is in the best interests of the club.

With the transfer window now closed, the focus should be on unity and getting behind the efforts on the pitch.

We know our supporters are incredibly passionate and we know that passion will be channelled into supporting the players we have in black and white on Saturday, and every matchday thereafter home or away.​

Lee Charnley, Managing Director

Rafa Benítez, Manager

Jamaal Lascelles, Captain

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Rafa has said he is happy and we have signed some excellent players. He said the window is closed but the fans must get behind the team. After the Spurs game he had to say the same thing again as some anti Newcastle fans protested who were basically supporting Spurs. Rafa does not want protests or these fans in the ground so please stay away.

    • Angelswithdirtyfaces

      Papering over the cracks is a well known PR tactic …. but wow – are you working for Bishop too ? Sounds like you’re a club spokesperson .

      As for …. “anti Newcastle fans” ….no – they are anti Ashley Toon fans.

      Enjoy your 30 pieces of silver – you could even buy an overpriced replica shirt

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Listen to Rafa he does not want protests as it affects the team, the performance and results. A handful of fans are our biggest danger this season and Rafa knows that.

        • Scott Robinson

          Those 250 in the 90’s, you’d have said the same?

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            The 250 did not make a difference. The original Magpie group had money and bought the shares off Dickson to take over the club. This new Magpie Group have not made one offer for the club a right shower they are.

        • drc74

          what do u think of your fxck buddie ashley, buying house of frasier through pre pack method and shafting 10,000 emplyees on their pensions and thats before he tupes them into zero hour contracts

          • Mark Potter

            TUPE prevents new employers changing a contract. It does the exact opposite of what you seem to think. It’s there to protect working people, not the shareholders.

          • drc74

            look at how long a tupe agreement can last

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I bet the ex BHS staff wished MA had come in for them.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      Thing is Benitez has never ever said once he doesn’t want protests 😂

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        He says the fans must stick with the team. That means no protest songs. The last five minutes of the Spurs game a couple of hundred fans wanted Spurs to win. They should have been spurring the ten players on to become the eleventh man. Some chance.

        • SuperDesHamilton

          In what interview does he specifically state to the fans not to protest???

          Never happened did it

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            His statements said the fans need to be United behind the team. Singing anti Newcastle songs is not getting behind the team you no I am right on this one. Chelsea Tickets going well.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            I’m still waiting for you to say where he said fans shouldn’t protest?

          • drc74

            i bet he said too u in a lift didn’t he

          • panther

            theyre not anti newcastle songs theyre anti ashley songs

  • Leazes.

    Spot on…my feelings exactly….. If Charnley believes a word lof what he says let him come out and face the press….and I don’t mean the compliant puppy dog that is the chronicle!

    Charnley analyses the business dealings in total isolation, the club has no competitors to his rationale, and ‘good business’ amounts to comparing the squad that he has provided to the coach with the last one which struggled to be free of relegation up until mid April…..

    …..You don’t need a ‘Trophy Manager’ for a ‘cannon-fodder squad’.

  • Paul Patterson

    I In other words- ‘I will do my best with what I have until my contract is up and after that I’m off because I don’t trust this regime’.

    • Ron

      Enter John Carver or equivalent.

      • Mxpx

        We’ll be lucky to get anyone as good as carver… I’m not sure if him or schteeve were worse

  • Leazes.

    When Ashley took over House of Fraser with the promise ‘I’ll turn it into the Harrods of the High Street’ it really put it into sharp Juxtaposition with his take over of United…..

    He said nothing much as far as I can remember apart from ‘he was going to put in £20m per year’….

    ….. I certainly don’t remember ‘I’ll turn the Club into Scunthorpe United’.

  • Scott Robinson

    Monkseaton says Rafa doesn’t want protests? I bet he does if it means a new owner and he can get on with the foundational repairs to rebuild from top to bottom (and bottom up) and have that promised money for better players.
    250 protested at an away friendly and made noise like 10,000. The Chairman of the Football Association Bert Millichip was there to open the new ground with our chairman McKeag. McKeag was humiliated and never recovered. The end r1esult…the Keegan era. Those 250 were our loyalist fans!! True martyrs for the cause who you revile?

    So gob-on-a-stick Monkseaton, where was your voice ‘then’? You continually praise waste-of-space Ashley and even attack lifetime club legend Shearer. YOU have to be working for Ashley. What if the 250 becomes 25,000 and it humiliates Ashley (and you?) and he walks. What if the result is like the Keegan era? Or at least we compete for 7th place every year and the cups? What if we stay as we are and end up relegated again? You would still be cheering Ashley and I guess McKeag would have took us to Division 3. You wouldn’t be at the match then, but those 250 protesters would be there supporting the club home and away. You aren’t an NUFC fan you are either an Ashley employee or a brain washed fool, you sound like both.

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      Are the protests going to get a new owner no. Are the Magpie Group going to buy the club no. Is there anyone out there looking to buy the club no.
      Rafa is realistic and has appealed three times to supporters to get behind the team. Shame some morons are deaf. To get rid of McKeag was just a few hundred thousand and I worked with the Magpie Group me and a few others. However it was money which talked. The protests did no good at all.
      Ashley will sell when he gets on offer of £350m not because of a few leaflets or people standing outside Sports Direct. You say I am not a fan but my offer to buy any supporter who has been to more games than me on this site still stands. Chelsea game Three Bulls upstairs at bar ten till two.

      • TeessideMag

        I think the point is, there will be a buyer at some point, the protests are there to make Mike actually WANT to sell the club.

      • robbersdog

        Ten till two? That’s four hours of drinking before the match; is that what you Mancunians imagine geordies do?

        • Monkseaton Magpies

          I do another two hours drinking when I get to the ground before kick off if you must know. At the Bulls on Saturday was at least fifty at the door waiting for opening so not the only one who has a drinking habit before the match.

          • panther

            looks like your drinking 24/7 the garbage you put on here

      • Wor Lass

        Still waiting for the photos of the big meet-up before the Spurs game. Brian Standen doesn`t seem to have been on since – what have you done with him?

    • Andy Mac

      Agree with your points Scott but you have to bear in mind that Monkseaton isn’t a fan, he’s a troll just like the others who infest this site.

      Ignore them, starve them of the attention they so obviously crave and get on with helping the rest of us get Fatman out the door albeit a very wide door 😉

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        I have proven that I am not a troll many times over and have been to far more games than anyone on this site not that it matters.

        • Kenny


        • SuperDesHamilton

          Monk isn’t a troll he’s just mental that’s all

        • 1957

          You never said if you knew Russell who certainly was in the super fan category a couple of years back

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Yes Russell is a great friend of mine I class him as a top six supporter. A pure gentleman he texts me quite a lot. We normally see it other at far away mid week games when you have to stop over. His mates Steve, Alex and Fink right at the top as well.

          • panther

            steve mclaren and alex ferguson?

        • panther

          no you havent

    • Arty Hume

      Well said, but I have to add, those who attend home games are giving TFCB a reason to continue his plundering and pillaging the club! After all it is his to do what he wants with, it is our job to make it impossible for him to continue. A new owner is a must for the club as TFCB has shown it will NEVER change.

      • phildene

        We made the sacrifice of cancelling our ST’s quite a few years ago during our 10 year deal. My hubby has been going for 67 years and if he can stop going surely most of the 50k+ can? We still support the toon but NOT Ashley in anyway or form.
        We do despair when we see a full stadium as those ‘fans’ can’t see past the end of their noses! The fact that they’re still lining Ashley’s pockets doesn’t seem to bother them which is shameful.

        We all call the Mackems BUT at least they had the balls to stay away!!!

        • Wor Lass

          They didn`t have the balls to stay away – the performances were so bad for so long that they just couldn`t stand it. Respect to you both for your sacrifice – I hope you can get yourselves back before too long!

        • Dutch

          Fantastic post. Makes total sense as well. Good on you.

        • Arty Hume

          Indeed phildene, I am sure it would not take long. In the end it would be a short sacrifice of maybe two or three home games with the threat of an empty stadium on an ongoing basis. The publicity would immediately impact on TFCB and he would fold like a wet piece of A4. It just takes a concerted effort for the good of the club. I stopped going after the K.K debacle and he has been proved right year after sickening year. I just believe most times there has to be a revolt/strike to make things better for the cause. Having endured 3 miners strikes in 21 years I know about doing without, sad to say. Unfortunately most S.T holders go purely as a day out, to socialise with others and have a drink, without regard for their actions which is killing our club! This selfish action, if not addressed will result in a situation exactly the same as Sunderland. Relegation will be a regular threat and Rafa will go or will be long gone before the message gets across, then the same S.T holders will stop buying but it will be too late, the club will be a shell even more than it is now, a husk which will inevitably be for sale, like down the road. The main difference will be TFCB will have made its investment back numerous times and stuck it up those thick geordies who dared to cross him years ago. Guess where the money went for this window, hope S.T holders like shopping at the new Tat H.O.F on saturdays instead of going to watch Albion Rovers or the like. S.T holders need to think very hard what type of club they want and what type of football they want to watch as without action its going to be groundhog day every year but without a decent manager and that will get very ugly very quickly. Its up to you lot.

        • Monkseaton Magpies

          What will staying away do nothing it will only weaken the squad. The club has been up for sale for over ten years and not one buyer.

          • panther

            no Ashley will weaken the squad

        • molend

          Spot on, hinny. And if your husband’s been going for 67 years he’s a lucky lad to have such a beautiful young wife. How do I know you’re young and beautiful? After he became blind, the American poet Robert Frost said ‘Of course, I can still hear a pretty girl walking by’. Any lass with your opinions and fluency of expression obviously fits this description.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          And put the money saved each season in a savings account. Join other fans, pledge £2,500 to buy out Ashley.

    • panther

      can we have a protest for this monkseaton mong?

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      The magpie group put their money where their mouth was. If those 250 all said they’d put £2,500 in to start a fan takeover process, we’d just need another 149,750 to do the same. I’d respect them for that rather than waving a bedsheet.

  • toonterrier

    Would have preferred it if Rafa had refused to back a statement from Chumpley to show what he and the supporters think of the running or should that be the bleeding of the club. No doubt he cant wait for his contract to end but doesn’t want to let the fans down or destabilise the current squad.

    • Desree

      When 51700 turned up on saturday, what backing does Raffa have from the fans?

  • Kenny

    why did he sign, he knew the players were behind him so to say it was some sort of statement of unity is 💩. he should have refused

  • Nut

    This team like it or lump it is stronger for the additions it had received.

    Look at each one of the outgoing players, look at the prices we paid for them, how long they have been on the books and take into account the wages they have received in that time. Then look at the fee we got for them, for the most part we likely took a loss on them.

    The fact remains though regardless for the most part virtually each and every one of the outgoing players either wasn’t making the team or Rafa was not willing to play them. Either way the replacement players therefore make us stronger because each and every one of these are 1st team players who either add depth to the existing squad and make it stronger or replace an outgoing player and are arguably on a par or better than them.

    Sometimes it isn’t about making the squad markedly stronger in a particular position (although if I am honest I think our attack is now pottentially much stronger) but about increasing the quality/competition for places.

    I believe we have done some good business albeit without spending much out.

    If we can be in the top 10 at Christmas / January then I think we could be in a very good position for the January window and then we may well see more acquisitions coming in to allow us to compete for something more regardless of whether we have spend or not this hasn’t been a bad window.

    Tell me something……..

    If you had the option of

    Spending 30/40 million in this window maybe a bit more who knows and maybe similar in future ones but knowing other sides were doing the same and it wasn’t going to make much of a difference because you would basically be year on year holding your head above the water……

    Or keeping your money for the most part, getting in players to do a job and keep us where we need to be, then building that money you save to create a much bigger war chest which you could then release to be spent out at a latter point in time…. thus allowing the club to actually compete pottentially with the big boys and have a proper go at winning something or getting champions league football……

    Which one route would you choose to head down?

    • Georgia Peter

      whay you say is correct….if you’re dealing with rational football people, but sadly, we’re not. we are talking about an owner and director who are more akin to Laurel and Hardey.
      Rationalle does not exist with these people.
      Sadly, all I can see in the future with NUFC aslong as the fat one is around is a Tsunami, and mark my words,
      ” The tide is coming in” .

  • BanJones

    Statements made of words are meaningless when they come out of the club hierarchy, actions count – words are empty.

  • Unless Muto and Rondon really hit it off, I don’t see us finishing higher than last year by a long shot.
    Last term we were missing goals and I don’t believe we’ve brought enough players who can create chances or score goals from midfield (no wingers/fullbacks or creative midfielders).

  • Peter Cappa McAskill

    All that for that…. could of missed half the article out.

  • Spoon_Army

    Rafa will not want to have a relegation on his CV when he leaves at the end of this season. He wants everyone to do their bit to make sure it doesn’t happen and rightly so. The statement from “the club” is just normal rhetoric without any real substance. A modern club with a strong ambitious culture to be the very best it can be would never have to release such a statement.