Rafa Benitez is having it tough, his Newcastle United team find themselves without a win in 10 games and deep in relegation trouble.

To add to is troubles, the media, or at least much of it, isn’t exactly playing fair either.

The way the media report on the situation at Newcastle doesn’t really tally with how they cover other clubs.

If you were ask people what the main reason is for Manchester City being such hot favourites to win the Premier League, they would overwhelmingly answer with one word – money.

If you asked the same people why Cardiff are hot favourites to go straight back down, the answer once again would be – money.

Put simply, Man City have the most expensively assembled team/squad, whilst Cardiff have the least expensive when it comes to constructing their squad.

Surprises can happen and clubs can do better, or worse, than their transfer spending suggests, but when it comes to expectations – then it is surely fair to judge all clubs/squads the same at the start of the season, based on what price level clubs have bought their players at.

However, this isn’t always the case…

On Saturday, this was Southampton’s bench:

£22.5m Vestergaard

£3m Yoshida

£13m Long

£16m Gabbiadini

£13.5m Gunn

£0 Ward-Prowse (came through the ranks)

£7m Armstrong

Their bench cost £75m.

In contrast, 11 of the 14 players Newcastle used on Saturday cost a combined £32m, even when you then add in Shelvey, Ritchie and Muto, it still comes to over £8m less (£66.5) than Southampton’s subs.

£4m Dubravka, £5m Yedlin, £4m Lascelles, £6m Fernandez, £0m Dummett, £12m Ritchie, £13m Shelvey, £5m Diame, loan Kenedy, £2m Perez, £9.5m Muto SUBS free Ki, loan Rondon and £6m Atsu.

Yes you can say Rafa Benitez maybe should have done this or that differently.

Yes you can say the team should have managed at least one effort on target in 90 minutes.

However, nobody can claim that Newcastle are on a level playing field with even Southampton, when it comes to spending on the team/squad.

Yes, when Newcastle play Manchester City, the media will include mention of the difference in spending on the respective teams/ squads.

However, I never see any mention when it comes to games against the likes of Southampton.

The reality is that due to Mike Ashley’s actions/inactions on transfer backing, Rafa and his team are massively punching above their weight if they can beat a team such as Saints, based on cash invested in the team.

Southampton went out this summer and spent £13.5m on a reserve goalkeeper (Angus Gunn), in two and a half years and five transfer windows, Mike Ashley has never allowed Rafa Benitez to spend that much on any first team starter, never mind a squad player!

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



  • magpiefifer

    Well said Matthew, most of the media don’t bother to look at the facts – lazy or what!? We’ll be subjected to that kind of coverage for a long time yet!!

    • Viru leckworth

      What if we all wrote to the sports editors of all the national dailies pointing out this imbalance, it may get them thinking. Maybe?

  • Lostprofit DBC

    I’ve said all along, we have to win the media war, before any action being effective, otherwise it’s on deaf ears.

  • Paul Patterson

    You very rarely find bargains that succeed as first team players. For every Demba Ba (Free) you have to go out and spend real money on talent for example with Papiss Cisse (£9.5m).
    If you were to replicate that six month period where we signed both of them, Rafa would have two good strikers probably costing £25m, instead of a Stoke City reserve and a relegated West Brom loan player.
    Last summers spend? £25m profit.

    Dumbing down of expectations/ambition continues.
    Ashley’s fault, not Rafa’s . .

    • Leazes.

      You can see the dumbing down in the headlines on a daily basis….’United fans will go ape if they bring in this £3.2m ace’….. ‘these fans blah blah bah…..’

      Its a concerted effort to keep the comatose giant in slumber!

      • Carverlier football

        Oh I really hate those sort of click bait links. “Some fans tear particular player apart after performance”, “Newcastle agree deal for winger” (it’s an academy player going out on loan to league 2…) etc. For some reason the one which always annoyed me more than another was the “Newcastle must move for *insert description of player here* – agreed?”. It was the presumptuous tone of it… Grrr. To be fair, I suspect every other club gets those “stories” too

  • robbersdog

    The fans aren’t fooled; Ashley is using Rafa as a sticking plaster but, unfortunately, the club needs a major operation, not just a bit of first-aid.

  • BanJones

    “Southampton went out this summer and spent £13.5m on a reserve
    goalkeeper (Angus Gunn), in two and a half years and five transfer
    windows, Mike Ashley has never allowed Rafa Benitez to spend that much
    on any first team starter, never mind a squad player!”
    We are supposed to be competing.

    Any comments on this from Glarko, Spunkseaton, Bun Jones or any of your other invented names

    • Leazes.

      You invite trolls mate….?

      That’s bizarre!

      • 45709

        lol, once figures start it does tend to bring clarko and €😉👍

      • BanJones

        I want to hear how they justify it – for entertainment purposes only!

        • Peaky

          I actually upvoted MadMoscow the other day for his resilience,persistence and sheer bloody stupidity……

          • Rich Lawson

            A ”Moscow Mule” then ?

          • Peaky

            😂😂 I suppose so….I can however assure you it won’t happen again…

        • Kenny

          Just call Clarko a Dummy & he will appear

    • Mark Davies

      They have spent more than us granted but…they have also generated huge sums by completely asset stripping their best players and even manager to the likes of Liverpool and Spuds. I agree with the comparisons to Huddersfield, Brighton et al where the owners have ploughed money in but I feel Southampton are a little like us

  • relaxed

    Great piece on the if Rafa Goes site this morning
    “Who are you”
    I copied it to here but for some unknowing reason the Mag have blocked it

    • Ram Kishore

      If it’s a link it gets blocked I suposup

      • relaxed

        Nope
        Tried again without a link and they still blocked it

        • Ram Kishore

          What’s the website pal

        • Leazes.

          Put in a link omitting the dots….

    • Leazes.

      They haven’t….just take out words which may be insulting to an American…. its Disqus word blocker doing it…

      • relaxed

        cheers

    • Wor Lass

      Could be just the length of the article.

  • Kenny

    the ronnie reporting that Rafa wants a striker, a number 10 and a left back in the Jan window.
    Best of luck on that one Rafa.

    • Billmag

      Did he not ask for the very same thing in the summer??

      • Kenny

        yes & last January & the summer before

        • Billmag

          Correct 👍

    • Wor Lass

      I think Grimsby Town are open to offers.

    • Dillon Tovak

      Yeah it made me chuckle the way they word it as a wish list, because that about hits the nail on the head. Rafa is as likely to land the players he wants by rubbing a magic lamp as he is expecting nufc to lump up for them.

  • Billmag

    Mathew you need to share a post with that King of the Abacus Cuckoo Clarko be prepared for everything in Euro’s though.

    • Mike D

      Shall we convert those figures to Euros now so he doesn’t have to bother?

      • Toontaff

        Save Clarko getting his two Euro cent’s worth in…………….

      • Billmag

        OK 👍

  • Wor Lass

    Good article – a very valid point. One small complaint, “Rafa and his team are massively punching above their weight if they can beat a team such as Saints …”. We didn`t.

    • Tomb

      or come close we were battered

  • Jin Patel

    We know we’ve been starved by Ashley but crying about how much Southampton spend is a bit rich isnt it? Their fans have watched their prize assets sold every year Mane, Van Dijk, Lallana, Lovren, Shaw, Chambers, Wanyama, Schniderlin over recent for crazy money with little investment back in..pretty sure (like us) they’ve have a negative net spend for the last few years

    • Mark Davies

      Completely agree. Took the words right out of my mouth. Dont forget the manager too!

    • Tomb

      thank goodness we didnt compare our net spend to all those weaker teams when we were big spenders in the Keegan days. Yes we finished second but we spent twice as much as the chasing pack…..

  • relaxed

    WHO Are You

    I don’t care if you have a dog called Shearer, two sons named Tino and Milburn and a tattoo of the Robledo brothers on each ar*e cheek, if you take your seat inside St.James Park on the 9th of December 2018 you are not a supporter of Newcastle United, you’re a supporter of Mike Ashley.

    You will be saying “I’m with Mike.” I cast my vote for your manifesto Mr. Ashley. 11 more years of this please.

    You won’t be black and white, you’ll be red and blue.

    You might as well start up a chant of “There’s only one Sports Direct! One Sports Direct! Walking along, singing a song, walking in a Mike Ashley wonderland.”

    The words that come out of your mouth may very well be: “I’m not boycotting. Not me pal. I support the team! I’ve been going for X (insert figure here) years and I’m not missing the match”But you will be heard by him and the watching billions around the world as saying “I endorse no investment. I enjoy just trying to survive rather than thrive. Not trying in cups year after year is ok by me. I like being lied to. I approve of Sports Direct logos being more important than the club badge. I agree to free advertising and the suppression of millions of pounds of income. I welcome no maintenance of the ground and it falling into disrepair but want new shiny Sports Direct signage installed. I don’t like playing in Europe. I think we can’t compete with smaller clubs. Yes, Brighton and Bournemouth should be massively outspending us. I advocate for the players to have inferior training facilities. I agree that growing our Academy and nurturing local youth is a waste of time and money.”

    You almost certainly will have missed a game before because you were on holiday, a wedding or ill. The club is now ill. It needs our help. Newcastle United has a cancer at its heart. A dark tumour slowing killing it. How can you quite literally sit there and do nothing?

    Ask yourself why Mike Ashley chooses to own Newcastle United. Ask yourself why the ground has more Sports Direct logos than one of his shops. It’s the audience of billions and the prestige of association with our club and the Premier League that people love to watch across the world.

    The reach of the Premier League is now reportedly one billion homes across 189 countries. That’s who he’s interested in. That’s who we need to get our message about what we think of the owner of Sports Direct to. That’s who we want to shame Mike Ashley in front of.

    The word ‘boycott’ actually comes from the Irish land war. In the autumn of 1880 people in County Mayo protested against a greedy landlord Captain Charles C. Boycott who had evicted families unfairly. The people in the area all decided to socially ostracise him and not enrich him further by refusing to work on his land.

    The organised action taken against him meant that Boycott was unable to hire anyone locally to harvest his crops until he eventually bribed 50 people to do the work from out of the area. These 50 people had to be escorted to and from the land by one thousand policemen and soldiers. This protection ended up costing Boycott far more than the harvest itself was worth.

    Boycott left Ireland just a few months later on 1 December 1880, and moved back to the south east of England.

    They probably had people saying “It’ll never work” and “what’s the point.” It worked and you will never anything if you do nothing. Are you with Keegan or Wise? Are you with Jonas or Llambias? Are you with Shearer or Charnley. Are you with Newcastle United or Ashley?

    Please do not go through the turnstiles for the Wolves game. It’s bigger than 3 points. It’s bigger than this season. It’s bigger than relegation. It’s bigger than keeping Rafa. It’s about who we are.

    We’ve had enough and it has to change.

    DAVID CROSIER

  • relaxed

    I don’t care if you have a dog called Shearer, two sons named Tino and Milburn and a tattoo of the Robledo brothers on each ar*e cheek, if you take your seat inside St.James Park on the 9th of December 2018 you are not a supporter of Newcastle United, you’re a supporter of Mike Ashley.

    You will be saying “I’m with Mike.” I cast my vote for your manifesto Mr. Ashley. 11 more years of this please.

    You won’t be black and white, you’ll be red and blue.

    You might as well start up a chant of “There’s only one Sports Direct! One Sports Direct! Walking along, singing a song, walking in a Mike Ashley wonderland.”

    The words that come out of your mouth may very well be: “I’m not boycotting. Not me pal. I support the team! I’ve been going for X (insert figure here) years and I’m not missing the match”But you will be heard by him and the watching billions around the world as saying “I endorse no investment. I enjoy just trying to survive rather than thrive. Not trying in cups year after year is ok by me. I like being lied to. I approve of Sports Direct logos being more important than the club badge. I agree to free advertising and the suppression of millions of pounds of income. I welcome no maintenance of the ground and it falling into disrepair but want new shiny Sports Direct signage installed. I don’t like playing in Europe. I think we can’t compete with smaller clubs. Yes, Brighton and Bournemouth should be massively outspending us. I advocate for the players to have inferior training facilities. I agree that growing our Academy and nurturing local youth is a waste of time and money.”

    You almost certainly will have missed a game before because you were on holiday, a wedding or ill. The club is now ill. It needs our help. Newcastle United has a cancer at its heart. A dark tumour slowing killing it. How can you quite literally sit there and do nothing?

    Ask yourself why Mike Ashley chooses to own Newcastle United. Ask yourself why the ground has more Sports Direct logos than one of his shops. It’s the audience of billions and the prestige of association with our club and the Premier League that people love to watch across the world.

    The reach of the Premier League is now reportedly one billion homes across 189 countries. That’s who he’s interested in. That’s who we need to get our message about what we think of the owner of Sports Direct to. That’s who we want to shame Mike Ashley in front of.

    The word ‘boycott’ actually comes from the Irish land war. In the autumn of 1880 people in County Mayo protested against a greedy landlord Captain Charles C. Boycott who had evicted families unfairly. The people in the area all decided to socially ostracise him and not enrich him further by refusing to work on his land.

    The organised action taken against him meant that Boycott was unable to hire anyone locally to harvest his crops until he eventually bribed 50 people to do the work from out of the area. These 50 people had to be escorted to and from the land by one thousand policemen and soldiers. This protection ended up costing Boycott far more than the harvest itself was worth.

    Boycott left Ireland just a few months later on 1 December 1880, and moved back to the south east of England.

    They probably had people saying “It’ll never work” and “what’s the point.” It worked and you will never anything if you do nothing. Are you with Keegan or Wise? Are you with Jonas or Llambias? Are you with Shearer or Charnley. Are you with Newcastle United or Ashley?

    Please do not go through the turnstiles for the Wolves game. It’s bigger than 3 points. It’s bigger than this season. It’s bigger than relegation. It’s bigger than keeping Rafa. It’s about who we are.

    We’ve had enough and it has to change.

    DAVID CROSIER

    • Danimal

      Nice story about Boycott, great analogy. But if I could change one part, instead of Ashley returning to the southeast of England please could he go to Syria or Iraq.

  • Tomb

    Why would the media mention the cost of Southamptons bench? The reports I read were criticising us for being ultra negative against a poor side which was spot on. And to echo other comments on this article Southamptons net spend is way lower than ours over the last few seasons which you neglect to mention. They have done this by spotting a good deal for a player improving them and selling them on for a large profit. Last year there were other sides which had a lower net spend than us, Burnley for example. Our total squads value was 12th in the league last season but this doesnt suit your argument either.

  • Tomb

    Surely the key question from that match is why we had zero shots on target, never mind the lack of spending to justify it, non league teams manage shots on target against the big boys in the FA cup.
    Yes we know Watford have outspent us and this will be the gist of the mags articles if they win on Saturday but as we are at home that should be a leveller surely? The bookies have us as favourites to win by the way. Or do we just accept now that a defeat is inevitable to every team that outspent us us? Yes its a huge factor but there are other factors, tactics, team spirit etc, as shown by us last season

  • Tomb

    part of the problem is since Graham Carr left we arent signing players with asell on value anymore. Bargains like Cabaye and arguably Sissoko were sold at a huge profit. Only Dubravka at present would fall into the bargain category and the only players we could sell for decent money would be him, Lascelles and Shelvey. We do have players on the books who dont count towards net spend but combined are valued at 40 odd million in Rondon and Kenedy, these should increase the quality of the team and are not ‘championship players’ again ignored by the mag when they are bemoaning our lack of quality.

    • Carverlier football

      But there you’re ignoring loan players yourself – the opposition’s. If you want to add £40m onto our squad value for Kenedy and Rondon (a little optimistic perhaps), you’ve got to add Danny Ings onto Southampton’s value too.