Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez dominate the headlines when it comes to Newcastle United.

Past experience tells us that when the owner is at the front of our thoughts, you can usually guarantee that on the pitch there are problems.

This summer saw more pantomime behaviour from the Sports Direct supremo, starving the manager of transfer funds whilst at the same time trying to get the Spaniard to agree to an extended contract.

The reports told us that Mike Ashley had supposedly blocked any transfer funds apart from what was generated through sales, UNLESS Rafa signed the new deal.

The window ended with no contract extension agreed and no transfer funds made available by the owner, indeed he even insisted on making a £20m+ profit on deals in and out, restricting Rafa Benitez to only a fraction of the total sales figures. Newcastle making the biggest transfer profit of any PL club

Some supporters were sceptical as to whether Ashley really wanted Rafa to stay on but I think he definitely did/does, after all, why wouldn’t he?

It was most definitely Mike Ashley’s luckiest day possible when the Champions League winning manager knocked on his door.

Whilst clowns such as Richard Keys talk of Mike Ashley having persuaded Rafa Benitez to come to Newcastle United, it was actually Rafa who approached the Magpies, shortly after things didn’t work out at Real Madrid.

The former Liverpool boss seeing the glaring potential of the club IF everything was done correctly. You know the kind of stuff…sensible progressive investment in the playing squad season after season, revamp the Academy and invest in it, update the training complex to the standard of rival Premier League clubs.

Even Mike Ashley couldn’t pass up the golden opportunity that was Rafa Benitez.

His disastrous running of the club and failure to sack McClaren earlier, meant Newcastle were all but down when the Spaniard arrived.

However, with a presence in the Premier League all that matters to Ashley, he knew he had hit the jackpot. Sure enough, instant promotion as champions delivered AND a £40m transfer profit that season.

On a three year contract, Rafa Benitez was tied to Newcastle for at least another two seasons, and Mike Ashley has really milked that fact.

Rather than back (with the club’s money!) his manager in the transfer market, the NUFC owner has instead chose to undermine him at every turn, allowing only minimal spending whilst rival clubs do everything they can to strengthen their teams/squads.

Whilst clubs such as Fulham and Bournemouth spend close to £30m on defensive midfielders, these past two seasons have seen Rafa Benitez desperate for a new first choice striker and Mike Ashley responding by stretching to £5m for Stoke reserve Joselu last summer, and this summer loan signing Salomon Rondon – whilst at the same time selling Mitrovic for a deal that could eventually bring in £27m to Newcastle/Ashley.

We now have a stand-off with Rafa Benitez loving the club and the fans but now having a contract that ends in nine months time, with no signs of having any interest in signing it.

Mike Ashley will be desperate for him to do so and Rafa has now said that what happens in the January 2019 transfer window could be pivotal.

He doesn’t trust Ashley as far as he can kick him, no wonder after all the broken promises.

The thing is though for me, Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez is a poisonous combination for Newcastle United.

An owner who is determined to spend as little as possible, alongside a manager who is most adept at producing minor miracles on the lowest spend, thanks to his expertise and experience.

It is bad bad news, as Mike Ashley must know that any other manager he could attract, would then require far far higher transfer spending, to have any chance of surviving in the Premier League.

At the moment he has Rafa Benitez, a manager who has already delivered promotion as champions, a 10th place in the Premier League, AND a transfer profit of around £30m-£40m in total during his two and a half years.

Newcastle United will never be successful whilst Mike Ashley remains as owner, and the only way to persuade him to leave is seemingly if the club is in serious trouble on the pitch, but whilst Rafa Benitez is still here it is far less likely to happen.

The ultimate vicious circle/triangle.

If only Mike Ashley could finally see the value of doing things properly and backing the World class manager who dropped in his lap – but as we all know – Ashley doing things properly is something that will never happen.

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  • I wold change the headline to say that Ashley and anyone is a poisonous combination. Other candidates might be for different reasons.

  • scumtest

    On a serious note, when do people realistically see Ashley going? Are we talking months? Years? Decades??
    One day he will be gone but whether or not anybody over the age of 40 sees it I don’t know! 🤨

    • Sickandtired

      When SD go bust

    • TheFatController

      Within weeks of the fans properly boycotting.

      He can do what he wants whilst he gets full houses.

      Simple economics/ FA requirement for no empty seats, I’m afraid.

    • panther

      Realistically the state of him, probably his next pizza


    The last thing we need just now is Fatman to back Rafa. At best he would be backed for 1 or 2 windows, keep the fans on side then revert to old.
    Fatman has lied some many times it is impossible to believe anything he says.

  • Paul Patterson

    A winner and two wankers ..

  • Hopey

    If we had any other manager it would be easier because the fans could vent their anger at someone in the ground and the position would become un manageable for anyone, and Ashley would find it hard to keep getting replacements so it’s a stalemate until one of the parties departs, for me I’m bored with the whole debacle, let’s face it we are now the laughing stock of the whole footballing country, if Ashley gives Rafa money in January we are screwed for a lot longer so I hope he doesn’t and Rafa walks with dignity in place

    • Ben Jones

      right, if we had another manager we could hound him out causing more instability in the club, great idea if you dont support the toon

      • Kenny

        Troll vermin

        • Ben Jones

          thats what i thought Kenny, agreed mate

          • James B

            hahaha. classic Kenny..what a giant bell£nd. he talks to his toys the same way…’troll vermin troll vermin’ thankfully he’ll go back to school next week. happy days!

          • Kenny

            Says another vermin toll

          • Kenny

            F##king vermin 🐁🐁🐁🐁

  • toonterrier

    As long as the supporters keep handing over their cash then the fat git will be going nowhere. Keep your money in your pocket and by all means stay as Newcastle fans but don’t go back until a new owner comes in. Hopefully sooner than later then I’ll be back again.

  • Hopey

    Forget all the number crunching, where has this much gone, how much do we have to spend how much we haven’t got bla bla bla.
    All I know is I am a working class man with one crack at enjoying taking my son to my teams football matches in his childhood, ten years have now passed and he’s almost a man, I’m lucky enough to have enjoyed Keegan/Sir Bobby but together we have had almost nothing to absorb, it’s a dying shame for most like me to take your son to see your club rub shoulders with the top ten and sadly there’s very little light at the end of the tunnel

    • Ben Jones

      you’ll remember the period after bobby and before ashley then if you’re that old, i know, dire and administration spring to my mind also

      • panther

        I remember that time, strangely not the administration part, but your parallel universe is different to ours

    • Ron

      Hi Hopey

      Third attempt at this post, Mag keeps blocking and I can’t see what’s wrong!

      I don’t agree that you have to forget about the number crunching, we need to survive and prosper.

      What we don’t need is an owner that mugs us around every corner. There is light at the end of the tunnel, the coward is getting twitchy, he’s running scared, scared to attend the SD agm, his bottom is twitching like mad – our protests are working and he’s schidting himself – can’t think how his pocket will be hit next.

      Tell your son to keep his dreams, they’ll come true. I tell mine who’s in his 30’s and we know it will happen.

      • Hopey

        I was referring to the number crunching from all the trolls on this site, not the club in general.
        I live in hope for a return of the Keegan days for all the young supporters who have suffered under Ashley’s control, thanks for the reply

        • Ron

          Pleasure, and I understand about the petty-minded trolls.

          I remember the halcyon days of Keegan and the Fairs cup adventures in Europe only too well. I’d love it if the youngsters following the Toon today could just have a taste of it.

          Once Ashley’s out then you never know….

  • Sing in the Leazes

    Hope is a powerful thing.
    Every transfer window always begins with fans discussing the nuances of whether £30m will be enough investment or do we need to spend £60m? Or the pundits’ favourite line of – “for me, 5 or 6 quality players is the minimum”, etc.
    Then they trot out a couple of ex-players like Shay or Quinny to say how we need ‘quality’ in a ‘couple of key areas’ and so on. Perhaps someone with ‘genuine’ pace eh lads?
    And even with 2 days to go we hear Rafa desperately pleading (not bleating I must add) for more investment. Give him his due, he knows its a game, he knows its his job to plead for money, he knows once the window closes its game over and so he focuses on the squad he has. What else could he possibly do?

    But for us lot, the fans, its now got to the stage where we KNOW what will happen. He’s not going to back Rafa. And especially if he feels Rafa is holding a gun to his head by not signing.
    So Rafa will be off at the end of the season, and we will probably lose form as the life drains out of the club, we might well get relegated, we will probably get a manager in that we don’t respect (Warnock, Pulis, Hughes, Bruce, or the ‘big regret’ Allardyce? etc).
    From there we have a few different scenarios:
    1/ We become a Villa – living a half-life as a zombie big club
    2/ We become a Snalend – double drop – unthinkable
    3/ He invests, we go back up with a Hughton type and slide right on into 14th place mediocrity forever (as is his dream).
    4/ He sells, and we get a new owner. 2 possible outcomes:#
    4a) New owner is better, they invest – we can dream again
    4b) New owner is worse, we end up like Blackburn – cue another 10 yr exile in the wastelands of the soul.

    Option 4a) please! Like I said – hope is a powerful thing

    • Ron

      I wish I could up vote you twice great comment. 100% agree.

    • TheFatController

      It wouldn’t be a transfer window without a £20m bid for a player valued at £30m by his club.

      Cue media reports with the words ‘hardball’, ‘won’t be held to ransom’ and ‘instead got XYZ on loan in a deadline day deal as he looks to regain fitness’

    • X2

      The only hope is for Ashley to go. The club is dead with him as owner.

  • John

    Don’t fool yourselves lads as soon as rafa walks pardew will back in like a shot.

    • TheFatController

      My money is on Gordon Strachan.

      People think it unlikely, but our owner pulled Joe Kinnear out of his ‘bag for life’/ hat so nothing is impossible in his world.

      • HarryHype59

        Fat Sham!

        • Danimal

          Mick Wadsworth.

          • Lord

            Paul Lambert

          • Mike

            Shteve Im a Geordie Bruce

        • 1957

          That would be my bet, the only complication being he is talking about taking the FA to court… there must be a new villa to pay for

  • Ron

    Ashley’s ego rules his mind, he hadn’t figured that Rafa’s integrety would outway his wallet, cos in Ashley’s mind the wallet rules. He’s stuffed cos Rafa stands by what is right, and so what is right for Rafa is to see his contract out, say he did his best for the toon Army, but cannot work with such a cheating, lying underhand excuse for an owner that there’s ever been.
    Ben Jones – you’re blocked I have no idea what rubbish you spout.

    • panther

      He’ll be back under a different name

  • Sickandtired

    Unless I’m mistaken, Rafa Benitez is not a registered charity. He hasn’t walked as it would cost him £6 million to do so.
    Honourable people act honourably, and they believe those around them will do the same.
    Now he knows the reality of MJW Ashley.

    • Big Hairy Man

      He will honour his contract as he always does and leave in the summer.

  • gordon

    Unfortunately you can’t post links on here but you all HAVE to go to thats liquid football website and read the article ‘The Propaganda War Against the Toon Army’. I’ve included a paragraph below but there is much, much more of it and is brilliantly written (it also includes the line, ‘Dennis Wise, not long ago seen feasting on an ostrich’s anus in a bid to stave off the bailiffs’ which nearly made me fall of my chair!)
    Anyway, I urge you all to read more of this:

    ‘Mike Ashley lied about Keegan’s constructive dismissal. He lied about the sale of Andy Carroll, and he lied about the ‘short-term’ nature of the Sport Direct advertising that has sullied the stands at St James’ Park for the past eight years. He was implicated in the employment tribunal that saw Jonas Gutierrez awarded £2m in damages after being cast aside by the club following his diagnosis for testicular cancer. He lied about completing due diligence on the finances when he completed his purchase of the club, and he lied about Amanda Staveley’s interest in buying the club from him. During Rafa Benitez’s two and a half year spell on Tyneside, Mike Ashley has lied over and over again about the control the manager has over footballing matters, about the funds he is willing to release, and the investment needed in the club’s infrastructure. He has lied to Newcastle United’s managers, players, staff, supporters, the British press, a court of law, and – in response to MP for Newcastle Upon Tyne Chi Onwurah’s petition against her hometown club’s owner – he has lied to the incumbent Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Wright.’

  • Big Hairy Man

    Mike Ashley and NUFC are a poisonous combination. A slow release poison was administered 11 years ago and now the club is broken and toxic and dying. The only antidote is a decent owner.

  • panther

    If a cobra bit Ashley it would be dead in seconds

  • ialirazai

    g︁оs︁h︁, jus︁t fоun︁d m︁y c︁r︁а︁z︁y n оl︁d c︁оl︁l︁еct︁i︁оn wit︁h m︁y p︁i︁quаn︁t pi︁c︁s – thа︁t︁s th︁е cо︁llе︁ct︁i︁о︁n ̩
    S︁in︁g u︁p a︁n︁d a︁d︁d me︁: i︁a︁︁l︁︁m︁︁a︁z︁︁.︁︁c︁︁o︁︁m︁︁/︁a︁l︁b︁︁u︁m︁︁2︁2︁︁83︁︁8︁9

    • kantooalona

      ︁t︁h︁is i︁s th︁e be︁s︁t I’v︁e se︁en︁

  • FatParosite

    I see Bishop’s smear campaign is working…

  • Jonas

    Mike Ashley and anybody who isn’t a bar-steward is a poisonous combination.

  • Mickcid

    Good article, MA is in the business of selling sportswear, the big clubs ManU Barcelona, Madrid, Juventus to name a few spend big on players, shirt sales must come close to covering the cost of the player/s which makes good business sense long term. But I have said it many times MA is a cancer for the Toon, not interested in success, only one aim, profit and gain………… The only treatment for this type of cancer is to starve the greedy B*****ed of his need. Think twice when you spend your hard earned cash at the ground, or in the SD stores, when you spend without thought Cashley gets fatter.
    The fans believe in Raffa even when he has to park the bus in games against Man City, Chelsea or whoever, it will be a shame to loose him at the end of the season, even if Rafa is handed cash for the January window, He will not trust the board to back him further down the line after the lies he has had to deal with, so I believe he will not sign a new contract unless MA sells up…………..Please Sell……..go buy another club and let us get on with the hope of success