Former Newcastle and England star Chris Waddle, has been talking about the challenges facing the Magpies this season.

BBC Sport were featuring the fact that two experienced and successful managers, in Rafa Benitez and Manuel Pellegrini, find themselves in the bottom three after the opening four matches.

Pressure on both bosses but the big difference this summer is the fact that the new Hammers boss had a net spend on signings of over £100m more than Rafa had.

Chris Waddle says that the NUFC manager ‘did a fantastic job’ in keeping his team in the Premier League last season, but that to do it with more or less the same group of players this time after minimal backing in the transfer market, will be ‘very hard’ for the former Real Madrid and Liverpool manager.

Waddle sees a contrast in styles with Benitez a ‘very good coach at shutting up shop and nicking results’, whilst ‘Pellegrini is very attacking and may have to adjust his style’ if things are to improve at West Ham.

The big difference for the two managers is that Chris Waddle thinks the Hammers fans could quickly turn on the new boss, whereas at St James Park it is all ‘In Rafa we trust’ for Newcastle fans.

The player turned pundit pointing out that it is Mike Ashley who will (rightfully) get the blame if things go wrong this season for Newcastle.

Waddle predicts no easy or early fix for Newcastle this season but does believe Newcastle ‘have got the manager to get through it.’

Chris Waddle talking to BBC Sport:

“Rafa is a very good coach at shutting up shop and nicking results.

“He did a fantastic job to keep them up last season, but to do it a second season running with the same players is very hard, because mentally and physically it is very hard on the players to work the system he plays.

“Rafa’s very tactical.

“The problem for Newcastle is when they go a goal down and have got to come out a bit – but he knows how this works, whereas Pellegrini is very attacking and may have to adjust his style a bit, get a result somewhere and hope to kick on from there.

“At Newcastle it is totally ‘In Rafa We Trust’, (the manager) respects the fans and it must be great thinking they could be in a bottom-six battle and the fans will be on your side.

“In a few weeks they could turn on Pellegrini or whoever is down at the bottom but at Newcastle, Mike Ashley gets it in the neck not Rafa.

“If Rafa stays in the Premier League he will get pats on the back – for Pellegrini, time will tell.

I would say Newcastle have got enough to stay up but they will be in a battle. I don’t see them getting away from it (relegation battle) with 10 or 15 games to go.

“It will a long season but they have got the manager to get through it.”



  • Kenny

    Rafas advantage is that he is one of the top 4 managers in the premiership

  • Paul Patterson

    Spot on from Waddle . .

  • Sickandtired

    Well, who the hell else can we trust? Charnley, Bishop, Barnes and Ashley?
    There’s only one football man in the entire senior set up of the club – and he gets shafted!

  • SuperDesHamilton

    To be fair though, Benitez is the only bloke at our club who isn’t a bare faced liar so who else can we trust

  • robbersdog

    Mike Ashley is such a mind-bogglingly incompetent owner, the only thing that’s prevented NUFC from ‘doing a Sunderland’ is Rafa Benitez.

    Even if we stay up, if Rafa leaves at the end of the season, I think we’ll be facing the abyss.

  • Peaky

    Looking a bit gestapo there Chrissy lad….

  • wheyayeman

    Rafa is no longer a sign of what can be, he is just further testament to what could have been with an interested and invested chairman. It’s not his fault and I’m sure it’s not in his heart but I’ve realised Rafa is definitely part of the problem not the solution. If Rafa can somehow keep the score down against the big teams and Nick the odd goal against the run of play against the rest then we might stay up even comfortably if we put a run together but Rafas ability just intensifies Ashleys cost cutting regimen. If Rafa can keep a rag tag bunch of Championship players and the odd loan player to cover any big sales it’s absolutely as you were for years to come. We either get the club sold but let’s face it Ashley doesn’t want to do that with all the money rolling in or this club really needs a hard nosedive down the divisions with a hopeless manager or two to get Ashley to shift it off his hands. As soon as we start to become a financial liability he will be very motivated to sell. It happened down the road and sad though it sounds, at least they are now clear to rebuild.

    • Leazes.

      The prime objective is to lose this owner…..nothing more….. he’s holding the club as a hostage, whilst the asset strip continues….

      ……and while this goes on the chronicle can bleat on all they like about nothing at all, nostalgia for failure, and ‘how SJP isn’t falling apart’ (It Is!)

      ……whilst we lose the best manager we’ve had since Robson.

      • wheyayeman

        Agreed – the big Q is how do we get him out and fast?

      • Mike

        100% right