I love Rafa Benitez for the way he has stuck at it with Newcastle United.

However, when nonsense is spoken, whether it is by an Alan Pardew or a Rafa Benitez, it has to be called out.

I couldn’t get to the south coast today but I watched the whole game in my local pub on the dodgy foreign TV.

What I saw was absolutely shocking.

Newcastle arguably have the worst team in the Premier League and certainly the one playing the worst football. Particularly based on this ‘performance’.

Southampton had won one home PL game in the past 11 months and hadn’t scored in the league for 386 minutes, yet Newcastle made them look almost a decent team.

Yes we were away from home but Newcastle didn’t have a shot on target, worse than that, Rafa’s team quite literally didn’t have a shot of any description, unless you count DeAndre Yedlin kicking the ball from thirty yards out and it sailing twenty yards over the bar as a ‘shot’.

Nevertheless BBC Newcastle report Rafa Benitez after the game saying:

“You have to analyse the circumstances and where we are at the moment.

“To go away, have a clean sheet and get a point – I think it’s positive.

“Again, I will say our fans are quite clever and they can see sometimes that we were a little bit nervous on the ball.

“It’s something we have to manage if we want to turn things around.

“I think the team, with the way they were working today, will do it.”

The only positive is that Newcastle didn’t get beat!

However, that was largely due to Southampton being hopeless as well, their players missing some great chances.

With Martin Dubravka also making a few inspired saves.

The defence were committed but that alone will take us nowhere, or nowhere decent anyway.

If you didn’t watch this game, honestly, it was by far the worst of the season and tells me Newcastle are going down unless something miraculous happens.

Rafa Benitez says ‘the way they were working’, well I didn’t see anything that was working.

Diame and Shelvey had zero control of midfield, the wingers gave no threat, whilst none of the strikers contributed anything. The only thing that worked was somehow stopping the home side scoring, via desperate defending and pure luck.

It by no means equals me wanting Rafa Benitez gone, that would be a real disaster!

However, he can’t come out with the kind of stuff Alan Pardew used to come out with, today was shocking and to say anything else is embarrassing.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Southampton 0 Newcastle 0 

Possession was Southampton 50% Newcastle 50%

Total shots were  Southampton 22 Newcastle 6

Shots on target were Southampton 4 Newcastle 0

Corners were  Southampton 7 Newcastle 2

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame (Ki 76), Shelvey, Kenedy, Perez (Rondon 69), Muto (Atsu 80)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Schar, Joselu, Manquillo

Crowd: 30,736(NUFC 2,450)

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  • wheyayeman

    Ashley Out!

  • Jimmy_toons

    Would you rather he talked about how rubbish the team and squad are? Of course he’s going to try and talk them up, their confidence will be shot and as the song goes, ‘we’re not very good…’
    You ought to point your fire at the one man who is to blame.

    • Clarko

      Is Ashley picking the tactics now yeah?

      • Jimmy_toons

        No. He’s just keeping all the money. All the money.

        • Clarko

          When you say ‘all the money’ do you mean all the money we made last season?

          • Kneebotherm8


          • Billmag

            Ha Ha 😀😀

          • BigHairyDog

            “The manager can have every penny generated”…

            That wasn’t a firework going off, just your argument exploding.

          • Clarko

            No, you’ve just made yourself look extremely silly. Why does that quote explode my argument?

      • Kenny

        the players available denotes the tactics dummy

        • Clarko

          Benitez is the one who bought them dummy.

          • Kenny

            not in a million years, he hasn`t had any of his 1st choice picks in over 2 years.

          • Clarko

            No, he has signed many of his first choice picks.

          • Toontaff

            Why Euros? I only work in ££££££££££

          • Paul Patterson

            👍 If you are given a decent budget to get decent players, you don’t end up with Joselu, Manquillo and Ki Seung.

          • Salty

            You know, Graham Carr was slated for some of his poor signings but he signed plenty of good players who improved and then sold for big profits. How many times had Rafa done that since he got his wish and Carr left? Only Dubravka. Other signings have been sold on at a loss. He’s turned a £20m winger into a dud. Other clubs sign championship players and playe them- Hughes at Watford, Bryan at Fulham, Maddison at Leicester. We sign Murphy and he brings in a loan winger. His 4th left winger by the way when we’ve been crying out for a Perez replacement. And according to reports we’re looking at more wingers like Rodriguez for January

          • Big Hairy Man

            Got what he could with the peanuts he had for a budget dummy.

          • Clarko


          • Big Hairy Man

            Talking out of your @rse again. He has brought far more “euros” into the club than spent. The only one who has benefited is Fatso.

          • Clarko

            You’re trying to talk about Ashley, I’m not, I’m talking about Benitez. We all know Ashley hasn’t spent/invested enough/as much as he could have during this past window, but that doesn’t tell you what Benitez has been allowed to spend and that number is €142.65m, that’s how much he has spent on players since he was appointed and we have nothing to show for it. Nothing.


          • Paul Patterson

            Ok. #letstalkaboutit
            Rafa spent a heck of a lot of money to build a side for promotion. You tell me the figures, you seem to know them. However, forget them immediately as the players you buy for promotion don’t count as you wouldn’t necessarily buy/keep them ONCE promoted. So you can scrap that figure from the total.

            Now, before you start, Rafas buys haven’t been great since promotion but he’s playing the hand he’s dealt. But he has mitigating circumstances. As you say, Ashley hasn’t spent enough.
            Let’s leave it at that.

          • Big Hairy Man

            His squad has been weakened not strengthened because he has not been allowed to reinvest the money for players sold and it’s not just this past window that he hasn’t spent/invested enough it’s every window since Rafa arrived barring the Championship season and even then Fatty turned. £20-30m profit.

          • Clarko

            And none of that has anything to do with Benitez spending €142.65m on absolute trash.


          • Jonas

            you could buy about five good players for 142.65E and they wouldn’t come anyway because he wouldn’t pay the wages.
            So what do you expect?
            find a coach that’s getting more out of less then we can talk about it

          • Clarko

            Wages? Our wage bill for the 16/17 season (in the Championship) was £80.30m. We pay wages, let’s not lie.

            Instead of buying 5 good players Benitez bought 23 bad players and a few bad loanees (22 if you want to take out Dubravka). I expect better than that.

            Hughton, Warnock and Karanka got more out of less when they played us.

    • mentalman

      Rafa often says the players aren’t good enough

    • Kneebotherm8

      Exactly……he’s not gonna come out and say the team were shocking ffs…

  • Paul Patterson

    Never knock an away point.

  • mentalman

    I disagree that we have the worst team, there are easily 3 worse but we are not playing well due to confidence and tactics

    • Paul Patterson

      I wouldn’t say ‘easily’ but if we just started scoring or taking chances we’d be fine. We’ve created plenty.

  • Andy Mac

    “I think the team, with the way they were working today, will do it.”

    Rafa and his team did it last season despite enduring a 9 match winless streak in Nov/Dec.

  • HarryHype59

    It pains me to say this but Newcastle under Ashley demean the Premiership. There is no attempt to improve or entertain by spending some of the TV windfall on improving the team.

    It doesn’t bother Ashley that we basically “stinking’ the Premiership out just to survive, in order for him to collect another £100 plus.

    That game today was a truly awful advert for the EPL.

    No complaints from me, if when we go down again.

    • Paul Patterson

      Guess where we will feature on MOTD?

      • HarryHype59

        Comment on BBC, says the match isn’t worthy of even being on last.

      • Big Hairy Man

        If the BBC had any sense they wouldn’t even screen it. It will be ripping off the licence payers.

      • Mung Bean

        It’s why we need to stay down next time, hover around in Championship limbo where we are basically irrelevant, or worse (drop again) – hopefully deprive Ashley/Sports Direct United (and his favorite child – SD) of some of the spotlight. It’s a position Ashley hasn’t been backed into yet.

    • BanJones

      Great stuff Harry, smacked the nail on the head.

    • Mung Bean

      “It doesn’t bother Ashley, that we basically “stinking’ the Premiership out just to survive, in order for him to collect another £100m plus in TV money.”

      100% agree… Sports Direct United, as a zombie club, is just about peerless. Hard pressed to find a better ‘zombie club’ operation than SD United’s.

      • HarryHype59

        “Zombie club” is a perfect description of NUFC under the Ashley regime!

  • Angelswithdirtyfaces

    Rafa is reduced to damage limitation in his comments as there is nothing, just nothing tp be positive about. Relegation, Rafa leaving and several years in the 2nd or even 3rd tier might just persuade Fatty to get rid.

  • robbersdog

    We don’t have the worst team in the Premier League – Huddersfield and Cardiff have even worse squads than ours.

    And, right now, Rafa is the only thing standing between our club and oblivion, we’re very lucky to have him and the critics should get their tanks off his lawn.


    • Kneebotherm8

      You’re right and Southampton don’t look much better……

      • BigHairyDog

        Southampton have some better players such as Redmond, Ings and Lemina but their manager is worse. Imagine having Southampton’s squad and having Mark Hughes as manager?

        The way some fans are going on they’ll end up with our current squad and Mark Hughes as manager.

        • Kneebotherm8

          Certainly got better striking options than us…..Redmond,Ings,Austin and Shaggy from Scooby doo…..

  • Scott Robinson

    NUFC is Super Mike Ashley riding a pantomime horse in his sports direct jockey pants and colours.

    Picture the obese fat lards that bump into you in the Metro centre or hang around the food vans before the match and imagine one of them running in the Olympic
    400m hurdles. That’s Rafa trying to compete in the premiership.

    Rafa doesn’t escape criticism though. A good read for us oldies is the Frank Clark autobiography where he mentions Super Mac and the early criticism within the club that he needed to do more work and running and chasing back. Joe Harvey though had bought Tudor to do the work, Mac was bought for what he did best, sticking the ball in the roof of the net and his explosive pace. Harvey made sure that he conserved energy to do what he did best and what a player and what a success.

    I am sure Rafa though would have removed the Super from ‘Super Mac’ and had him chasing lost causes and defending set pieces. Mac couldn’t run a cross country and often finished last, but he was a superman over 100m. He would have been knackered under Rafa and scored only half his goals!

    Rafa’s system is too rigid and defensively minded. Seeing we have such a creative player like Shelvey and he plays with wingers, how come we can’t score any goals? Frank Clark once played CF for Forest and scored, but he never passed the half way line at Newcastle! Fair enough we have useless strikers, but where’s the goals from the rest of the team? Even Frank Clark converted his chance!

    • GToon

      And we gave him away for free – “finished” although he didn’t think so and picked up a few trinkets at Forest.

    • Malcolm Fisher

      Shelvey hasn´t been too creative in the last three games,has he.

      • Rabid Dog

        The problem shelvey has, is there isn’t an outlet for him to pick up. Perez isn’t making the right runs having given up, Richie is playing too narrow and Kenedy isn’t taking on players.

        • Salty

          Yes the lack of outlet for Shelvey is the problem and Perez the weekly culprit. He doesn’t show for the ball and always hides behind defenders

    • kingfisher

      Excellent post Scott.Spot on about Supermac.I was there when Frank scored his first goal for Newcastle in the Gallowgate end.I think it was a cup game against Doncaster although it was so long ago I may be wrong.😁

      • Wor Lass

        I was at that game – I remember a few shouts of “Raffle the baaal”!

        • kingfisher

          Happy days Wor Lass, happy days.

          • Wor Lass

            Yep. Did he bag another one not long afterwards or am I stretching my imagination too far?

          • kingfisher

            Yes, think he did.No goals for years then two in a short space of time.Once you get the scoring habit !! 🤣

          • Toontaff

            Trips doon memory lane!

          • Wor Lass

            That`s like waiting for the 33 bus back in the day. An hour plus then 2 or even three come along together. The first one stops so the driver can have a flask of tea and a rest and the other two sail past before you can do anything about it. real happy days, those!

  • DC1964

    A 0-0 draw seems to be our best option at the moment! Our strikers are hopeless!

    • Ram Kishore

      So our wingers and Mo

  • Billmag

    Yes the fans are quite clever Rafa we all no where the blame lies, but please don’t fall into the Pardew trap where his nose kept getting longer as time went by.

  • Hughie

    No not the worst team but by far the worst front 2 I can recall at SJP. That includes Andreas Andersson, De Jong x2, and other hopelessly inadequate mistakes. Perez would struggle in the Northern League.

    • Rabid Dog

      For the life of me, I cannot understand why he persists starting with Perez. Hoss can’t hit a barn door but at least he doesn’t give up. We’re in desperate need of something different.

      • Malcolm Fisher

        Agree, but once again Diame and Kenedy didn´t do anything

        • Rabid Dog

          Yup. It’s not like Ki set the park alight either

  • Leazes.

    ‘Some of the fans are quite clever;….. doesn’t apply to you Dean.

  • LA toon

    I planned to drive to Port Charlotte, participating in a charity bike ride on Sunday, after the game. However by half time, decided a 2 hour drive with reckless redneck drivers was going to be more fun!! It seems beinsport are not showing the Championship games this season so I will miss all the Toon games next season and possibly the following season. A really depressing 1st half.

  • JohnnyH

    Wide of the mark for me.
    The blame lies with one person.

  • Fisherking

    Traitor Ashley lover

  • degs01

    Are you new to this? Good managers don’t talk down their team’s performance – his pre-match quote on Friday – “Our job now is to keep encouraging the players to do what they can do, and hopefully we can be successful.”

    • TheFatController

      You’ve saved me saying similar. Nothing is more bizarre than people criticising any manager in any business in the world who calls out his players in public.

      First rule of management – day the negatives in private, make positive noises in public.

      But no, you still get ‘can’t believe a manager didn’t betray his staff in public. It’d do everyone a lot of good to be called out as not good enough in public when there are 28 games left to get them giving their all’

  • Blackburn1066

    NUFC are a mess

    • Rabid Dog

      You are not wrong

  • Jonas

    If any other club had the unparalleled stingy spend thrift record we have – would they be expected to play attractive football and get better results than a draw at Southampton?

  • Down Under Mag

    Putting things into perspective, we have a notoriously bad record at Southampton so to keep a clean sheet was a massive positive. The issue is we just don’t create enough and have numpties up front incapable of hitting the target.

    I also don’t think Rafa (or any manager) will get a positive reaction if they slate their own team – look at Jose and what his comments and criticism are doing at Man Utd.

    I actually think some of the issue with the players right now is because of Rafa wanting more players of a better caliber and saying so. While we all know we do need them, the current squad are probably now thinking why should they bother when they would be replaced if the club had money to spend.

    • Ram Kishore

      One thing I dislike big time about Rafa is what you have clearly mentioned in the last paragraph.
      Pre season issues are clearly catching up with the team

    • Wor Lass

      No, mate, they should be thinking, “I`ll show the boss that he doesn`t need to bring anyone in to replace me”. They`re professional footballers and should have enough pride and self motivation to prove their worth. Everyone`s down on the front 2 or 3. They aren`t good enough ultimately but I think they`re made to look worse because the midfield are underperforming and starving them of any useful service. Once you get past our first choice back 5 and Jonjo, we just aren`t good enough.

  • Ram Kishore

    Do u really know anything about football or what a manager needs to do in public?
    No manager berates his own staff in public.. he has to play with the same team for the next 28 matches.

    • 1957

      But he does… he spent a good proportion of the middle of last season when we were on an epic losing streak telling everyone that the players weren’t good enough and he needed better players.

      We do need better players but was he right to label his players like that, no but he did.

      • Ram Kishore

        Yeah we do need better players.
        Back then he did it because we had some wins on the table or atleast few points after 10 matches. So when we went on a losing streak, he needed to give the players some stick and we didn’t have lots of offside issues.. But I don’t think he wants to do that now, as this could make it worse.
        All the pre season krap is playing it’s part now I assume

  • NUFC9

    Very diplomatic response from Rafa. Saying that to get a point and a clean sheet away from home is a positive, which is true. Not mentioning anything about the dire performance and inability of the players at his disposal to create and score goals on the grounds that if you don’t have anything positive to say, it’s better to say nothing.

    What would you expect him to say post match when asked about that game Dean Wilkins?

  • Rev

    Fair enough, talk up the result, but no shots on target and (BBC) “lucky to come away with a draw” tells you what NUFC have become under Rafa. The masterplan really is hope there are three worse teams when the season ends, he wasn’t joking! You can kepp quoting Ashleys fault all you like and yes his management of NUFC is a disgrace, but Rafa’s tactics are taking this club into oblivion. The table and the same statistics week in, week out don’t lie. Even Wimbledon had admirers for their brand of anti-football, we are losing ours.

    • TheFatController

      You’d enjoy Fulham. They play expansive football.

  • Alexander Tempest

    Honestly, what benefit would there be to the manager slagging off his own players? Especially when they’re this low on confidence!

  • Wor Lass

    Dean, Rafa didn`t really say anything other than getting a clean sheet and a point away from home is something positive. It is – no matter how dismal the game and inept our performance. He`s the manager, he has to try and sound upbeat and encouraging otherwise “all is lost”! We did better than Cardiff, Fulham and Huddersfield yesterday. Our only hope this season is that we can do that often enough to finish above them.

  • fistsofsteel2

    You can’t blame Rafa for anything. Our style of play, tactics, etc are nothing to do with him. He’s only the manager and he’s only getting paid £4million p.a.
    The teams performances are nothing to do with Rafa. It’s all Ashley’s fault.

  • London_Mag

    I would like to know what you think Rafa should say?
    He’s got to remain positive and not blame people as that’s not going to help matters.

    It was a bad day though and no one seemed to be performing except Muto, Dubravka, Dumnutt.