I remain as in awe of the fact that Rafa Benitez is Newcastle United manager today as I was when he was appointed almost three years ago.

La Liga, UEFA cup, FA cup, Champions League, Europa League, Copa Italia, he is the most highly decorated and qualified manager ever to have taken the helm at Newcastle.  There is nobody in world football that could not learn something from him.

This sense of awe in a manager had been missing in the Newcastle dressing room for at least a decade.  The point is often made about players who earn more than their managers, that hold too much sway over their gaffer’s continued employment at clubs and few managers at St James Park have had the CV that could overcome those obstacles.  Rafa does.

I would not have the gall to assume that I could ever second guess the man. If I ever caught myself wondering why he’d made a certain decision then I’d assume it was something I wasn’t seeing, rather than Rafa messing up.

Alan Pardew came to mind in the discussion that followed the Brighton game.  Some booing was heard around the stadium when Benitez left what many perceived as a poorly performing Ayoze Perez on the pitch and instead sacrificed Muto to bring on Joselu.  I’d written in the past about Pardew being a man that looks after himself, not his players.  A short term thinker who has no consideration whatsoever in mind other than winning the points available on the day and claiming the credit for it.  He’d start players that weren’t fully fit, he’d leave them on the pitch for longer than they should play if they wanted to be properly rehabilitated and he’d crow about knowing better than the doctors when it secured a point or three.

Rafa is the opposite, he thinks long term and he protects his players. Away from the passion of a game we all appreciate that Rondon will be more valuable to Newcastle over the many games he does play when fully fit, than the one game he might manage if rushed back.

Muto had picked up an ankle injury at Old Trafford a fortnight ago, maybe this was in the back of Rafa’s mind when he made the change, maybe it had always been a planned change.  Either way, Muto still hasn’t played 90 minutes for Newcastle all season and his replacement shouldn’t have come as a shock.

But in the eagerness to get something from the game, the crowd vocally responded to the change.  But shouldn’t we censor the disappointment felt because a player we want to see on the pitch gets replaced?  Shouldn’t we concede that Rafa protecting his players to get the most from them long term is probably for the best? As we would if it was a decision explained in a press conference.

Everything that has been good in the last two years (promotion as champions and a top half finish all while turning a £30m transfer profit) has stemmed from the faith everyone at the club has in the manager.

I fear this faith being eroded by a minority keen to challenge minor decisions though.  Even if you’re certain Rafa got it wrong, which I never am, is it more important to call him out than to let it slide and keep giving him the backing his record and his service to Newcastle deserve?  Isn’t the gravitas he has at the club more potent than letting him know we disagree with a decision he made?

Even if you disagree with decisions and tell everyone you know as much, do you really value your opinion so highly above Rafa Benitez that you’re comfortable booing him publicly from the stands?  Nobody can seriously want him removed from his position, can they?  If so, do they have faith in Mike Ashley to appoint such a well qualified man again?

Another manager it made me think about is Arsene Wenger.  The mounting opposition fans presented him witha fter all that he achieved for them appalled me, but worse, it became self-defeating by removing from his arsenal the greatest weapon Wenger had over players he wanted to run through walls for him, respect.

Mike Ashley deserves a massive amount of credit for harnessing everything positive I’ve said about Rafa above. Not only for appointing him (regardless of who initiated contact to enquire about him filling the vacancy) but also for retaining his services after relegation and handing him almost £60m of the £85m earned from selling Premier League players to re-invest in players that could win promotion from the championship.

I am not an Ashley absolutist, it does a critic no good to argue everything is bad because honest criticism weighs up good and bad and differentiates between the two.  To name a few, in addition to the appointment of Rafa I’ve praised previous reinvestment of club funds, the interest free loans and the ticket price freezes to some extent.

However, Ashley’s motives for the appointment of Benitez, his appetite to retain his services and the lack of the support he’s given him, are all open to criticism because he is entirely responsible for removing the aura of respect that was previously there.

Ashley purposely misled Benitez, supporters and media by repeatedly insisting that the manager could look forward to getting “every penny” the club generated to move it forward, yet it has now been confirmed that he has repaid himself some amount of his loan this summer and fully intends to end the financial year with £33m of his loans satisfied.

That amount would have bought the striker the club are sorely lacking if the owner had sanctioned it.  Instead we have a front four that cost a combined £16m, two of which are still being handled with kid gloves having signed in the fortnight before the first game of the season rather than getting a full pre-season with the manager.

Focusing any criticism on Benitez despite creating 27 shots against Brighton and not having a talented finisher available that could convert one of those to a goal, makes no sense to me whatsoever.

You can keep in touch with all of Chris Holt’s blogs via NUFC Miscommunication, NUFC-Ashlies Blogspot and BigChrisHolt on Tumblr

To feature like Chris Holt submit your article to [email protected] and/or for more info go here



  • Paul Patterson

    Rafa Benitez has pedigree and a history of success. Ashley has a history of failure, greed and spite.
    Benitez does what he does for the overall benefit of the team, Ashley does what he does for the benefit of Ashley, end of.
    The ‘every penny’ speech is another lie to add to the charge sheet.
    A court proven liar vs a successful manager? I know who I’m with…

  • JohnnyH

    Souness, Allardyce, JFK, Pardew, Carver, McClaren, we’ve had.
    Steve Bruce is waiting by the phone.
    Groundhog Day is just round the corner.

  • Kenny

    In 11 years there has not been 1 thing to praise that vermin for

    • JohnnyH

      Financial stability?
      😂

      • Leazes.

        Thee worst run club in the history of top flight football….sinking on and off the pitch…. where does Ashley go once the strip is complete?

        ….. for a pizza to celebrate.

    • Big Hairy Man

      We can have an open top bus parade where Rafa can triumphantly hoist aloft a healthy balance sheet.

      • JohnnyH

        Singing we’re Geordies we’re mental, we’ve got a healthy balance sheet

    • Themoscow72

      The ten year deal, interest free loan appointing managers the fans wanted, sacking the managers the fans wanted sacked.

  • Leazes.

    There are quite a few people who don’t understand the complexities of the game ;)…..

    …. and some of them are journalists.

  • Just to be clear, the £33m was a current liability at the end of 2016-17, therefore to be paid by June 2018. We do not know if it was taken out but analysis of the rest of the accounts and the transfer window suggests he probably did. What we don’t know is if there was any more planned to be taken out by the end of 2017-18.

    • Leazes.

      We’ll have to wait for the next MASH accounts…. thats where he puts all of his ‘readies’….

    • JohnnyH

      January transfer kitty or back pocket…….decisions decisions

  • mactoon

    Ashley doesn’t deserve any credit for appointing Rafa as all he could see was a world class manager who could keep his notoriously under strength squad in the Premiership actually asking him for a job. One that yet again has been undermined by lies and broken promises just like Keegan. Let’s not muddy the waters here, he did it in the hope that Rafa’s skills would potentially keep the club in the Premiership without having to invest.

    Ashley will not buy players to maintain our Premiership status, he will not listen to Rafa who is the only person within the club who knows ANYTHING about football and the news that he has made a £20+ million profit on transfers when we need a striker to score the goals to keep us up, then repaid himself money makes me believe he is yet again gambling on our Premiership survival and for me, that means he deserves no credit at all.

    • Clarko

      ‘Ashley doesn’t deserve any credit for appointing Rafa as all he could see was a world class manager who could keep his notoriously under strength squad in the Premiership actually asking him for a job’

      He didn’t keep us in the Premier League though did he? And right now we’re bottom right?

      ‘Ashley will not buy players to maintain our Premiership status’

      Really? Did he not spend €20.70m in January 2013 when Newcastle were struggling? Did he not spend €68.85m in the summer 2015 window after Newcastle narrowly avoided relegation in the previous season? Did he not spend €38.70m in the January 2016 window when Newcastle were fighting relegation?

      • Paul Patterson

        A mugger phoning an ambulance after beating up a granny..

        • Clarko

          Yeah you’ve missed the point Paul, so there’s nothing new there.

          • Cockneytrev

            Think you missed your bus,,
            You hoop licker👅👅

          • Clarko

            Is Benitez still a liar?

          • Billmag

            Are you one of the two brothers Cuckoo.?

          • Wezza

            Think that one is Kevin. Very sad indeed.

          • NUFC17

            Still a liar?

            Explain please

          • Clarko

            Cockneytrev compared Benitez to Hitler and suggested that he was a liar in the process, like Hitler.

      • NUFC17

        Did he not spend €38.70m in the January 2016 window when Newcastle were fighting relegation?

        No, simply because we haven’t bought a player in January since 2013!

        • Clarko

          I can’t have a conversation with someone who refuses to accept reality.

        • Geordie-7676

          By no means a Clarko supporter mate, the guy talks as much tripe as a cow pat on the Pennines, but your wrong on this one mate – we bought Saivet, Townsend and Shelvey January 16.

      • mactoon

        As usual you miss the overal point. There is a difference between maintaining a premier status by continually investing in the team like other clubs are doing and firefighting by not strengthening until it is absolutely necessary because the team is struggling due to the lack of continued investment
        How you can support the ashley regime is beyond me.

        • Clarko

          I didn’t miss the overall point of your comment, I never made a comment about the overall point of your comment, I took issue with your reasoning and the fact that the you just straight up lied about Ashley in your reasoning.

          After being called out for lying you can’t then change your reasoning, pretend like you never lied and try to blame me for missing the point of your comment (which never happened), it doesn’t work like that.

          Where did I support Ashley? Quote me.

      • Ram Kishore

        U keep missing the overall picture here clarko.. there’s nothing new here.

        • Clarko

          No, mactoon lied in his comment, I have an issue with people who lie to try and make a point. You’ve missed that point Ram.

          • Geordie-7676

            Ok Clarko, let’s see if you can answer a few simple questions without going off on one of your tangents;

            1 – Is an average net spend of £2.6million under Ashley an acceptable amount of investment?

            2 – When considering that average net spend over the years totals £32million, how has the club debt increased by £68million (I have not deducted the £10million we now know he has took out this summer for clarity)?

            3 – Until June 2017, the club has paid S***e D****t £8.4million , whilst the club has received a total amount of ZERO for 11 years of stadium advertising – considering the club debt increase, and minimal net spend, do you believe that your argument for FCB spending is justified?

            3 simple questions

          • Clarko

            You’re the one going off a tangent… The conversation is about Benitez/relegation, Ashley’s spending habits when Newcastle are in danger and liars.

            1. I have the average net spend at €5.07m per season under Ashley. I don’t know if that’s acceptable. I’d prefer to look at the spend/net spend on a season to season basis because of inflation.

            2. The debt has increased by ‘£68.00m’ because Ashley paid off the external bank debt (now owner debt) to save money in annual interest payments which were as high as £8.00m in 2008.

            3. The £8.40m isn’t a problem, if Newcastle didn’t pay Sports Direct the club would have to pay another company for warehouse space and inventory. The club are now receiving money from advertising (fans forum minutes). I didn’t make an argument, I corrected a lie.

            Three simple answers for three simple questions.

          • Geordie-7676

            It is all intrinsically linked clarko, and just to clarify, your original post on this specific thread:

            ‘Really? Did he not spend €20.70m in January 2013 when Newcastle were struggling? Did he not spend €68.85m in the summer 2015 window after Newcastle narrowly avoided relegation in the previous season? Did he not spend €38.70m in the January 2016 window when Newcastle were fighting relegation?’

            pretty sure my questions are in direct reference to FCB’s spending habits.

            Point 3, you don’t believe it is a problem – the rest of us do. why? well, after 11 years SD are now going to start paying advertising, but we are still to discover what that figure is. In the 11 years he has been here, the total cost of those SD payments amount to £92m – imagine how much better our books would of looked if that cost had been offset by advertising payments. Just because they are apparently going to do it now, doesn’t make the last 11 years acceptable.

            I don’t know how you have arrived at that average net spend, it is common knowledge amongst fans, media and accountants what the average is, and it certainly isn’t that. Pretty cunning move to quote it in Euros as well…..utilising exchange rates to boost your argument in the hope that someone misses it:

            Very cunning Baldrick, there is just one slight problem…..It’s B*****e!!!!!!

          • Clarko

            You accused me of going off on tangents. I never go off on tangents. Your comment was irrelevant to mine, you went off on a tangent.

            3. I said the £8.40m paid to Sports Direct wasn’t a problem. I never said anything about the advertising other than that Sports Direct are now paying for advertising.

            Where are you getting £92.00m from? Newcastle paid Sports Direct £8.40m in the past five years, not £92.00m.

            The free advertising was a result of Mike Ashley loaning the club a significant amount of money (now £144.00m) in interest free loans, loans which would’ve cost the club ~£8.00m a year in interest, more than what that advertising would’ve brought in.

            I arrived at that net spend by doing my own calculations using fees from transfermarkt (who use euros) which I have personally crossed referenced with numbers from the official accounts.

          • Ram Kishore

            Yep few here do miss the facts and lie. I agree on that too. But u always miss the overall picture or to be more clear.. You don’t talk about all the issues but stick to facts that only defends Ashley or criticise Rafa.
            I am not complaining about what comments you post.
            Pointing out the obvious.
            I am just giving my honest view that i seemed to notice when u post the comments.

            (I do agree on your comment Benitez’s poor signings, which I have already debated with u.)

          • Clarko

            ‘You don’t talk about all the issues but stick to facts that only defends Ashley or criticise Rafa.’

            I criticise Benitez because he deserves criticism, criticism that he’s not getting. I “defend” Ashley because people lie about him and his actions. This isn’t a me problem, this is a site problem and you don’t help that problem when you decide to debate/question my comments when you know I’m in the right, you should be debating and questioning the comments of those who you don’t agree with and the users who lie in their comments. Why don’t you do that?

          • Ram Kishore

            I am just pointing out the facts u miss.
            I don’t hate or dislike Ashley. I have defended Ashley and appreciated his acts like
            1. His vision to make Nufc self financing
            2. Rafa appointment
            3. Even I don’t criticise Alan pardew like people here. I was fine with Alan pardew’s work at the club.
            4. I have also defended the club’s sale of all those players like Carrol (35m is a big money), Cabaye, Ba(these two wanted to leave).
            5. Interest free loans.
            6. Reinvestment after 2016 relegation.
            Spending good money in 2014,15 summers
            7. I don’t keep saying like few or many here that Ashely swindeled the money from Carrol’s sale or to buy HOF. I know many people here’s hatred for Ashley is making them tell all kinds of lies and speculation and I have defended him on many more occasions. Just ask pezza or Blobbi fleckman.
            Just like how I am defending Ashley I criticise him for mistakes made.
            Sometimes I do doubt his intentions.

            I do know why he bought the club. For growing his brand.
            I don’t really mind it.
            The things I’m talking about is the way the football club is run.
            The real sticking point is appointment of Tony Jimenez
            SD advertising and merchandise deals are not clarified.
            Fans forum is merely a formality rather than being a open engagement with fans.
            Lying to the fans,media. U can go back to the 2008 incident until now.
            Hiring wrong people and just like keegan told: money and power to wrong people.
            I can keep going on for few more.

            The thing I’m trying to point out is
            U don’t talk about these stuff or ever will be talking about it.
            That’s why I told you miss the whole picture or u act like u don’t really want to know these things because u can’t defend Ashley or criticise with these.

            Out to u now

          • Clarko

            ‘I am just pointing out the facts u miss.’

            No you’re not. I haven’t missed any facts. Now you’re lying.

          • Ram Kishore

            If you haven’t missed any facts then engage in a overall assessment of Ashley’s decisions.
            Why am I lying? I can say that u have never engaged in a debate about these issues.
            All I am asking now is
            Give your opinion on things I have listed in my previous post as my criticism against Ashley.

            Merchandise agreement is in muddy Waters.
            Recent Tony Jimenez interview about his secret cover to sell the club. Why would Ashley hire him? Why would he try to sell the club just 6 months after he bought it.
            I have stayed balanced for so long but this interview alone just makes me think twice before I defend Ashley even for things he needs to be defended. I believe that Ashley doesn’t take money out like previous owners. I respect that.
            Just give your view Clarko

          • Clarko

            You said that you were ‘just pointing out the facts’ that I ‘miss’. That’s a lie, you haven’t pointed any facts out that I’ve missed because I haven’t missed any facts…

            ‘Give your opinion on things I have listed in my previous post as my criticism against Ashley.’

            No, I’m not a performing monkey, f**k off. I will talk about what I want, when I want.

          • Ram Kishore

            Yeah I knew u wouldn’t want to answer. U didn’t have to use that word “f**k”. There are many ways to say ‘go away’. U just decided to be a arrogant Son Of a B. Sorry about the B. I really didn’t wanna use the B word. U just made me use the word.
            I have not lied because I know for quite a while u don’t talk about these issues but pop up only when u want to criticise Rafa.

          • Clarko

            I’m arrogant? You’ve been messaging me for months telling me what subjects I can talk about while demanding me to answer your questions.

            Again f**k off, you moron.

      • Ashley-out

        peanuts you idiot

        • kingfisher

          Exactly ,Whitley Bay ,North Shields and Bedlington Terriers have spent more than Newcastle United.

    • DC1964

      Well said!

    • Viru leckworth

      He has slipped up this time though. And I for one will not renew if Rafa goes.

  • magpiefifer

    As I’ve said before,I’m amazed that Rafa is still here.I don’t think it’s a financial decision,but how he puts up with the lies and deceit is remarkable,but sadly for we fans he is unlikely to be here after the end of this season.Also,I don’t think Rafa will perform another miracle this season,and can only see one fate – Ashley’s hat-trick of relegations!!!
    We deserve better!

    • Paul Patterson

      He sees a project. The project is going to end next summer as he won’t be allowed to take it to the next level. The current project is survival.

      • JEz_Brizzle

        I disagree. I think Rafa is a man of principle. He signed a contract that he is bound to. If there was nothing concrete in there about positive spend on transfers or the likes, then his contract is the one he has. He will work it through and prove what a good manager he is, not just chucking in the towel cos it wasn’t quite what he expected (though I think everyone in the football world knows Ashley has been taking the p*ss). I think he’s also been prepared to stick about waiting for a takeover…. which so many hope for. Why hasn’t he signed the new contract yet….. I think he’ll finish the contract and go. Maybe, Maybe if Ashley dishes the cash in January he might sign a short extension on the hope of a takeover, but I don’t hold much hope of either (Rafa staying or the takeover), though it would not surprise me if Ashley did splash a bit January as he can see we are sorely short.

        • Sickandtired

          And why should he put £6 million back into Fatty’s pockets for breaking his contract – when his dissatisfaction is a result of Fatty’s lies and failings once again.

  • Leazes.

    #BoycottWolves

  • Wezza

    Well said and I find it hard to believe people want Rafa out. This is all Ashley’s doing. Is it Rafa’s fault the FCB wouldn’t sanction the money to replace Mitrovic with a decent striker or break the transfer record? No.
    All Rafa got was lies, cheap replacements, loans and freebies. A total and utter asset strip. By design. I guess the accounts will show another 100M wage bill for this season when it currently is 43M.

    • Cockneytrev

      I can’t believe the media hasn’t picked up on this story, there is only one of two reasons for this,
      1) they have been paid off
      2) he’s a billionaire with massive financial clout and they are frightened to take his solicitors on in court.

      • Wezza

        Well the Ronnie Gill won’t say a bad word against the FCB or they will get banned again!

        • Themoscow72

          You banned me most unfair as I talk a lot of sense on here.

      • Sickandtired

        Or the most obvious fact, they are generally all F’n lazy useless [email protected] just like our numpties at The Chron. They do little more than regurgitate other people’s stories and then ask moronic questions – as in ‘5 things Rafa must…’.

    • Themoscow72

      The boycotters and protesters want Rafa out.

      • Viru leckworth

        Stupid comment.

    • Kris Marshall

      Wezza, my one criticism of Rafa is letting Mitro leave. I still can’t get my head around it to be honest. He preferred Joselu to Mitrovic and that beggars belief.

      • Viru leckworth

        It’s not that. He sold Mitro to buy a decent striker but miserly Mike wouldn’t release the funds. He stitches Rafa up time and time again.
        Boycott Wolves.

        • Kris Marshall

          I am boycotting the full season, so no need to worry about me. I will return once Ashley has gone. I believe I am doing the best thing for the long term future of the club by staying away.

      • Wezza

        I totally understand that. Maybe he was too much of a hot head or maybe there was inside PR to get them to sell. I wouldn’t put it past them. They certainly cashed in and have wanted to do so for a while. I’m convinced players have been brought in without Rafa’s final say.

    • Themoscow72

      You cannot make the wage bill up it’s audited by the amounts paid out and reconciled.

  • LA toon

    Ashley thought having a proven manager- Rafa on, I believe a 5million a year contract to motivate, shape a mediocre team would be cheaper than spending 50 million on players. Worked last season. However it maybe a gamble that will not pay off this season, even with panic buying in January.

  • Tweed Mag

    Recent poll by ‘Money Saving Expert’ website – Sports Direct most loathed brand in the UK (Aldi most liked). Poll was taken from 7,600 shoppers. The SD share price has dropped £400m in the past few weeks. People all over the country are fed up with Ashley and his practices, not just NUFC fans. His tactics are starting to backfire on all fronts.

    • Mung Bean

      “People all over the country are fed up with Ashley and his practices, not just NUFC fans.”

      … I’ve suspected, for a while, that a fair few football referees are too…(opens a tin of worms). Afterall Sports Direct United is purely a marketing wing for this universally loathed company (SD).

  • Ashley-out

    Up early & Fatso is still alive, shame

  • Sickandtired

    And if he takes all the £33 million back, that will mean he has been repaid the same £18 million twice! After all, the main reason for making the ‘loan’ to the club in Dec 2016 was once again first and foremost to repay £18 million owed to him (from relegation 1).

    • Wezza

      And no mention of the parachute payments – that’s the source of the “loan” while he jacks up the “debt” as an excuse for more to plunder into. No wonder Grant Thornton is being investigated!

    • Chris Holt

      Not sure I agree with that logic.
      £129m loan consisted of £111m long term and £18m short term before relegation.
      £33m loan satisfied the £18m short term but was a net increase of £15m to £144m (£111m long term and £33m short term)
      Ashley’s not had £18m repaid. Just that £18m that was in his left pocket was moved to his right pocket.

      • Sickandtired

        MJW Ashley loans, became MJW Ashley and companies loans.

        He’s been personally repaid £29 million. If the club is sold tomorrow, a new owner pays SJH/MASH that again.

        While your at it, go look at SJH accounts from 2012 onward. How did £132,144,000 get repaid? From where? (2014, related party transactions).
        Why, in 2013, SJH accounts state that it owed Creditors £142,022,000 yet 2017 accounts now say its £281,981,000?

        Jiggery pokery going on.

  • kingfisher

    BOYCOTT WOLVES,BOYCOTT WOLVES,BOYCOTT WOLVES.

    • Themoscow72

      SUPPORT THE TEAM AGAINST WOLVES TICKETS ON SALE 29TH OCT. RAFA WILL LEAVE IF THERE IS A BOYCOTT AND THE FANS TURN AGINST US.

      • X2

        SPORTS DIRECT IS A DISGUSTING BUSINESS. HELP RID OUR CLUB OF ITS ASSOCIATION WITH SPORTS DIRECT AND THE UNACCEPTABLE WAY IT TREATS ITS WORKERS.

      • kingfisher

        11 years of supporting Ashley is more than enough Moscow.Rafa will be away in the summer anyway and we will be relegated this season.Anyone who can’t see that is digging their head in the sand.
        What will happen if we stay up this season ? Same old, same old season after season from Ashley.Strugging every year against relegation,playing horrible defensive football which will allieniate the fans even more.If fans keep on blindly giving him their money he will be here for ever.

        OUR CLUB IS DYING AND THE 50,000 CAN’T SEE IT !!!!
        OUR CLUB IS DYING AND THE 50,000 STILL TURN UP !!!!
        OUR CLUB IS DYING AND THE 50,000 STILL GIVE ASHLEY THEIR MONEY !!!!
        OUR CLUB IS DYING AND THE 50,000 ARE TURNING THE KNIFE !!!!

        When OUR club finally succumbs to the disease that is Ashley, the people who refused to stop going to SJP should hang their heads in shame.

        !!!! BOYCOTT WOLVES !!!!

        • 1957

          BOYCOTT THE MOSCOW MONK!!!!!

          • kingfisher

            Exactly 👍👏👍👏🤣

          • Themoscow72

            People who boycott and protest are fickle in all walks of life. They have no respect for the City of Newcastle, the Tyne Bridge, the players or Rafa or even the fans who love the club. I hope the protesters stay away for ever as I do not want them back as they are bad people.

          • Will In Despair!

            Wow, you really are so very naive, thankfully posts like this sure show how simple you are.

            We have an owner that’s up there with the worst Newcastle United has sadly endured, and you cannot praise him enough.

            I’m sure that like I, many ex colleagues will welcome seeing grovelling posts like yours, that tires to belittle by calling of names.

            The many jobs lost that were there for years, disappeared overnight with the dole the only option! And you have the audacity to claim we disrespect our city, while in fact he has dragged everything that’s NUFC thro the mud and worse, he has NUFC a laughing stock, and a football club that will NEVER compete.

            So yes, fans and people alike, have valid reasons and right to show their displeasure at how unprofessional and badly the club is ran.

            Only an imbecile cannot see this, how dare you call me fickle, as not just a loyal fan, someone who enjoyed and had pride working for the club, what a utter mammary gland you are!

          • Themoscow72

            Boycott the Falcons match December 23rd against Gloucester as the Directors will never learn leave the seats empty.

          • Wezza

            The trolls seem to be very much against a boycott. Now I know why Monk is a KBA troll: he stated he believed FCB had taken 10M then a few days later that fake news story appeared stating exactly 10M! He has taken a lot more than that but how’d the Monk know that story?
            He has slipped up again and I’m calling for him to be banned.
            The focus on the PR machine is not just the boycott but the question of where the money has gone. They’re backed into a corner now so they have to justify that and make up a story that fits (for them) but we know and see through the PR lies.
            #boycottwolves
            #wheresthemoneygone

          • Themoscow72

            Why would you want a supporter banned. That was my gut feel £10m and it makes sense to get the loan down.
            Where you from by the way Monkseaton.

        • Themoscow72

          Support the club buy your tickets on Monday for Wolves. I am getting at least six.

          • Kris Marshall

            What do you think the ongoing support achieves Moscow?

      • 1957

        Benitez won’t leave until his contract is up, a boycott (which isn’t going to happen anyway ) wouldn’t change that, probably for 6 million reasons. The only way he will leave before is if he is offered a job elsewhere and his release clause is activated or Big Mike sacks him and pays him off.

        As an aside no doubt you enjoyed the Falcon’s second European win at the weekend, two of the better French teams last season, full of internationals, beaten in really entertaining game. Bottom of the domestic league they may be but I’ve more faith in them turning it around than NUFC.

        Don’t buy your five extra seats… leave them empty.

        • Themoscow72

          Got two for Bournemouth, Six for Bournemouth and getting six for Wolves. Yes a poor season for the Falcons. Yes they won in the cup but that’s like our reserves beating Doncaster.
          I fear another relegation for the Falcons unless the directors pull their fingers out.

  • X2

    Chris, Ashley only appointed Rafa in order to help strip the club. No other reason. He didn’t do it to be nice or to advance football at NUFC. btw, thanks for your many excellent contributions to this site and weighty investigation of the numbers.

    • Chris Holt

      Cheers, I realise that Ashley’s not doing anything to keep fans happy, but nevertheless Rafa’s appointment made me happy and is all that has kept me going.

  • Mr_anderson

    ‘Everything has been good in the last two years’ – The 10th placed finish was achieved with playing some terrible football… and don’t forget there wasn’t many points between tenth and 16th? The championship season wasn’t as fun as expected, we only clinched the top spot due to Brighton’s implosion.

  • Kris Marshall

    Chris, I think your article is well balanced overall but there are some issues that I have with parts.

    You praise the interest free loans, but fail to balance that with the joke that is free advertising for SportsDirect. Surely in the real world they would be offset? SportsDirect could have loaned NUFC money and recieived free advertising for 10 years for example. We would then have paid the loan off and SD would have had global representation through our standing in the PL (when we are there!). As it stands, what benefit have we really had from an interest free loan when you look at what has been done with it?

    The £60m reinvested in the Championship was to save his own skin. 2 years in the Championship with players on Premier League contracts would have been unsustainable. It was a one off punt when his back was against the wall in my opinion. Think about it. The only time when Ashley has given money to invest in the playing squad is when we are in deep trouble.

    Appointing Benitez was a master stroke because Ashley now has 52k people who will still pay to watch, pay to get the shirts and pay for pies and pints in the ground. He brought Rafa in as a retention tool to keep us paying over our money. Problem is Rafa will not sign a new contract, so Ashley is using that as just another excuse not to invest.

    I am fed up with the whole debarcle. We are being played as idiots and what is worse, it is working.

    Time to walk away. We have to.

    • Chris Holt

      Thanks Kris
      I always object when anyone defends the free advertising as balanced by the loans. there’s no reason to link the two as far as I’m concerned. Judged on their merits one is good for NUFC and the other is bad and neither excuses or justifies the other.
      I do believe the advertising is worth less than the interest on loans so it’s a net gain for the club if you choose to frame it as a quid pro quo arrangement. No other owners do it though. Any other owner that advertises through their club uses it as a way to fund improvements. Any other owner that loans money in writes off the debt, converting it to equity.
      On the £60m, I think it’s a case of Ashley and NUFC interests dovetailing. Ellis Short had no appetite for throwing good money after bad. there’s an argument whether Ashley allowing the club to descend to the depths of Sunderland and hastening his exit could be a good or a bad thing, but in terms of keeping Rafa at the club and maintaining it’s status, it was a good thing.
      When tweeting the article I’ve said that Rafa could have been Ashley’s path to redemption, but it’s a path he clearly isn’t interested in taking. Agree that despite any credit I give him for the appointment, the subsequent shabby treatment has been the final straw.

  • JohnnyH

    Chris, on the subject of interest free loans.
    I’m always very skeptical of Ashley’s motives, and I’ve often wondered about the perceived benevolence concerning the loans he has made to the club.
    I can see the advantage from his perspective, once the loan has been made, in having access to a readily available pool of cash that can be drawn down in any amount without attracting the attention of the HMRC, unlike a payment or dividend.
    However I can’t help wondering why he didn’t apply interest to the loans, given his apparent greed. Is it possible that his holding company would be required to be an FCA approved lending body in order to provide what would have become a financial product (with a regulated interest component) to the football club in the form of the loan?
    I just can’t get my head around him missing out on additional pizza money.

    Great article by the way.

    Jon