Newcastle supporters reacted with amazement to news that The FA had charged Rafa Benitez.

We reported yesterday (see below) about how late on Tuesday afternoon, the Newcastle manager had been charged following comments he made last Friday about Andre Marriner, the referee on Saturday at Palace.

In turn, Rafa’s comments had been sparked by comments made by Wilfried Zaha.

It looks crazy that Rafa has been charged, especially since nothing was done about Zaha clearly trying to put unfair pressure on match officials ahead of the Newcastle game.

Support for Rafa Benitez has come from all kinds of unlikely places, including Arsenal fans.

The respected independent Arsenal fans site Daily Cannon, say it is ridiculous that the Newcastle manager has been charged as a consequence of simply pointing out facts.

Rafa having referred to the number of red cards shown to Newcastle players by Andre Marriner down the seasons.

The Arsenal fans site pointing out that on average, starting with the 2013/14 season, Marriner has shown a red card on average every 10.5 matches, whilst in Newcastle games he gives one every 5.66 matches, with most (all?) of those given to Newcastle players.

All a bit of a joke really, especially Andre Marriner’s refereeing!

The Daily Cannon reacting to The FA charging Rafa Benitez:

Rafa Benitez has been charged by the FA for mentioning that Andre Marriner likes to give Newcastle players red cards, something that is quite hard to deny when you look at the figures.

Of course, I don’t know the ins and outs of every red card that Marriner has issued and I have neither the time nor the inclination to look at them all, but when you do a basic stat analysis, it’s hard to understand what the FA are playing at by charging Benitez.

Speaking before Newcastle’s game against Crystal Palace at the weekend, Wilfried Zaha called for greater protection and, in response, Rafa said, “(Marriner’s) record with our players is not the best in terms of red cards, but I am quite confident.”

A statement from the FA, released this week, read, “Rafael Benitez has been charged following pre-match comments he made on Friday (21/09/18) about the appointed match referee for Newcastle United’s game against Crystal Palace on Saturday (22/09/18). He has until 6pm on 28 September 2018 to respond to the charge.”

But what did he say that was so wrong?

He didn’t insult Marriner and he didn’t call him a cheat. He didn’t even question his integrity. Benitez merely pointed out something that can be backed up with facts, Rafa’s favourite sort of thing.

Over the course of the last five seasons (excluding 16/17 when Marriner didn’t referee any Newcastle games), he issued a total of 43 red cards in 452 games.

On average, that’s a red every 10.5 games.

With Newcastle, his overall rate is almost double that – a red every 5.66 games.

It has now got to the stage where you cannot even make a factual statement about referees without facing the risk of a charge and that is something all football fans should be concerned about, not just Newcastle fans.

The Mag – Wednesday 24 September 2018:

Rafa Benitez has been charged by The FA.

The Newcastle United manager charged regarding comments he made last Friday (21 September).

The Spaniard was responding to Wilfried Zaha blatantly trying to influence match officials, having claimed he would have to break a leg before he got  proper protection.

This is despite more yellow cards being handed out for challenges on him in recent seasons, than any other Premier League player.

Ahead of the Palace match, Rafa Benitez spoke for us all. saying that surely The FA had to take action after Zaha’s comments.

The Newcastle manager declaring:

“He (Zaha) is a good player, no doubt about that, but I think the FA has to deal with his comments.

“I’m sure that Marriner will not have this in the back of his head.

“He has a lot of experience, even if his record is not the best in terms of red cards (against Newcastle), but I’m confident he is a very good referee with a lot of experience and he will deal with the situation in a normal way.”

Incredibly though, Tuesday afternoon has seen The FA charge Benitez instead!

The FA:

“Rafael Benítez has been charged following pre-match comments he made on Friday [21/09/18] about the appointed match referee for Newcastle United’s game against Crystal Palace on Saturday [22/09/18].

“He has until 6pm on 28 September 2018 to respond to the charge.”