Tony Cottee has been asked who he wouldn’t want to be at this moment in time.

He came up with two managers who meet next Saturday.

Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez are in trouble for very different reasons, although for any manager it eventually comes down to the team not winning enough football matches

Manchester United have matched Manchester City’s spending and yet find themselves mid-table and already nine points off the top after seven games.

Meanwhile, Newcastle United have not matched anybody’s spending and find themselves in the relegation zone.

It is difficult surely for anybody to get away from the fact that Newcastle made a £20m+ profit this summer on transfers in and out, which is then dwarfed by the fact that there has been an even bigger profit made on transfer during Rafa Benitez’ two and a half years at the club.

This at a time of hyper inflation on Premier League transfers and every other club trying to strengthen as much as possible.

Tony Cottee criticises Rafa’s negative tactics and claims they should be doing much better with some of the ‘top players’ they supposedly have.

Interestingly, when Cottee comes to naming these ‘top players’ he only manages Shelvey and Ritchie. Which has to be taken in the context that this summer it was Championship side Stoke City trying to sign Ritchie, not high place Premier League clubs.

Tony Cottee acknowledges that Mike Ashley not allowing the club to spend money is a big problem but at the same time, he says Rafa Benitez needs to get his finger out or else the club will be relegated.

The former West Ham player claims ‘I think the fans will eventually turn on Rafa. There is a lot of love for him, we know that, and he has perhaps earned that love over the past couple of years, but fans quickly forget about what you have done.’

Well, no signs of that yet from Newcastle fans, not agreeing with Ritchie being subbed on Saturday is not the same as booing Rafa Benitez and the fans supposedly turning on him.

The football was mainly terrible to watch last season but fans understood that on such limited resources Rafa Benitez had to find some way to survive.

To then go from minimal net spend to big net profit on transfers, the Newcastle fans aren’t stupid, Rafa isn’t immune for criticism but when you starve the manager of funds to such a degree, whilst everybody else is spending – as Tony Cottee points out, then it can only be Mike Ashley that is the overwhelming reason as to why Newcastle are in such a mess, on and off the pitch.

Yahoo Sports – (Newcastle fan) Lynsey Hipgrave hosting and Tony Cottee the guest:

Lynsey Hipgrave:

‘Who in the game would you not want to be at the moment?’

Tony Cottee:

“Well there are probably two.

“I would say Rafa Benitez would be one and Jose Mourinho would be the other.”

“Jose Mourinho, it’s unbelievable what is going on at the minute, it’s hard to work out what is going on.

“There is a power battle and we all know what is going on between Pogba and Jose – but is he at war with the owners as well.”

Lynsey Hipgrave:

‘Now Tony, it pains me to bring up Newcastle’s winless start but you have already mentioned Rafa…another awful weekend, what is going wrong for us?’

Tony Cottee:

“Everything is pretty much wrong at the moment.

“Obviously off-field issues, the fans don’t like the owner, that has been the same for the last 10 years he (Mike Ashley) has been there.

“The manager is under pressure.

I get a bit frustrated for the fans because St James Park is a wonderful stadium, 52,000 turn up every single week and then he puts out such a defensive team. With tactics basically saying let’s not win the game, let’s try not to lose.

“You have got some top players there, I love Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Ritchie, there ‘s good players there. I think Rondon could do better…you have got some good players but at the moment it just seems so disorganised, they are all over the place, no surprise they lost to Leicester.

“The players know they need more investment (in the squad) and they need new players to come in. If you don’t then you just stagnate, everybody else is buying players and it is hard to push on.

“If Newcastle are not careful they are going to be in relegation trouble.

“They have already been down a couple of times (under Mike Ashley), so they have to be really careful.

“I never understood (what happened at Newcastle with) Mitrovic, he’s a top player He might be difficult to manage but you have to get the best out of your players.

“It is crazy selling him to Fulham and then you haven’t replaced him – Rondon is alright but Mitrovic is a better player.

“I think the fans will eventually turn on Rafa. 

“There is a lot of love for him, we know that, and he has perhaps earned that love over the past couple of years, but fans quickly forget about what you have done.

“Football is about the present and the future, it is not about the past.

“Rafa has to get his finger out because if he doesn’t, Newcastle are going to be relegated and if so, then he (Rafa) won’t be at the club anymore.’

  • Sickandtired

    Two loan players and a free signing. Aye, we are overflowing with top class talent…

    • Tomb

      No but should be performing better than Saturday

  • Kenny

    Top players, he names 2 out of a squad of 25, get real you moron

  • Ron

    I think Rafa should play attacking football especially at home, all he needs are the players to do it. So he doesn’t cos he can’t.

    • Kenny


    • Tomb

      He didnt play attacking football at his previous clubs, think Mourinho

  • Realist

    There comes a point when you have to question rafas decisions I’m not saying sack him but things have to improve otherwise we are going down Sunderland style.

  • Paul Patterson

    It’s a Championship squad and that’s exactly where it’ll be this time next year unless we start picking up points.

    • Realist

      It’s not it finished 10th last season and put in some really good performances.

      • Paul Patterson

        Look at the starting line ups from this season. At least FIVE players every game played for this club in the Championship. That’s not including the others that we’ve bought from Championship sides since.

        • Realist

          Players who went to championship but imo are premier league quality. Yedlin lascelles dummett- he will split opinion. Ritchie shelvey mitrovic- but unfortunately rafa didn’t take to him. All these players bar 1 are still here now and not performing you have to wonder why. Kennedy is premier league quality when he actually feels like turning up along with Lejeune dvbravka rondon perez and I think muto could be in this bracket if he was given a chance. We have more than enough to be doing better than we are at this current time. The team are obviously low on confidence is that to do with rafa? The protests and uncertainty around the club? Or is it just a personal matter with the players themselves? But one things for sure rafa needs to be doing better in the coming weeks, as so far it hasn’t been great and he should be doing better against the likes of cardiff palace leicesters. These are games we need maximum points from if we are to have a chance of staying up but as someone said yesterday on here rafa seems to have lost his mojo and thrown in the towel.

          • Tomb

            Agree, nonsense that ts a championship squad.

      • Kenny

        Those “performances” have disappeared as fast as the Tv money

      • Tomb

        It was a very very expensive championship squad the most in the history of the championship in fact as that squad should never have gone down in the first place and enough of it was kept and added to. Burnley could also be called a championship squad but finished 7th.

  • Leazes.

    Putting myself in Ashley’s socks for a moment…

    Attacking Benitez is probably the ploy I would adopt if I were Ashley, and using Barnes and Bishop to sustain attacks through the London media…..

    Sacking him would probably kill off what has now become a concerted movement to drive him out with his gang of thieves…..

    But it has to be his way forward to get Douglas and Ryder back on track and lumber the club with the next puppet Journeyman in order to keep the nonsense going….. its a short term fix [they only do short term except for the promise of jam tomorrow]…. Does he sack Rafa sooner before relegation again becomes inevitable?

    Douglas can write a new book entitled ‘Inside Mark Hughes Masterplan’ so the whole thing can start again with more attack minded football, and that will quell the discontent of the largely pacified hobbit fans who trip-in from the shires.

    The problem is that he will take a biggish hit with the next big walkout because a big enough section will undoubtedly say ‘No More’….. he cant win from this can he…. but he can string it out.

    ….He cant be allowed another season in charge!

    Why does Charnley hide?

    • Aussie Bill

      If you were in Ashley’s socks surely you would be trying to make the club as valuable as posible if the reports of the club being for sale is true.

      • Leazes.

        A lot of people think he’s in it for money…. its just not true….

        …..if he pulls out of deals its to string the process along…. he’s not bothered about a valuation on the club or a profit…. its nothing to this guy….the sale of players wasn’t to put money into United’s coffers it was to bash the club! Why do you think they all hide from questions, why hive off development land which would give a new owner a chance to compete and give the club more value?

        Ashley is trying to destroy the club but so slowly you cant see it happening…. and neither can Douglas, Ryder and Starforth.

        • Billmag

          Spot on.

      • Rosco

        He wants to keep the clubs value as high as possible whilst taking any free advertising and profit out of the club. Trouble is he is such an idiot that he hasn’t worked out that it takes money to make money and his strategy has already got him two relegations.

        Meanwhile clubs who have invested are now worth several times what they were 10 years ago.

      • Kenny

        Been here 11 years and has done exactly the opposite,

  • Wor Lass

    As a rule of thumb, he`s probably right (about fans turning on managers) but in this case our fans can see who the real culprit is. Ashley is the one who is under pressure and it needs to continue.

  • Cockneytrev

    I wish these pundits would do a little research before they make these ridiculous statements,,,
    We have not one player who would start for a top six team,, we have maybe 5 who would get in other teams , but not all would be first choice,, the rest are championship and below.

    • Paul Patterson

      Just said below, this season we’ve started with at least five players that we had when we were in the championship and some others were bought from Championship sides.
      Championship team in all but name . .

      • Cockneytrev

        Exactly, these players were bought to get us promoted,, nothing more,,

      • Leazes.

        They brought in a skipload of relegated players on the cheap.

      • Tomb

        Mostly true but Lascelles and Shelvey arent championship players. Muto isnt. Mitrovic wasnt.

  • Rosco

    Under Rafa Benitez the fans are united. However if Ashley/Bishop can divide the fan base this will serve two purposes.

    1. It will divert negative attention against Ashley to Rafa Benitez.

    2. He can then hire another puppet.

    We are in the situation because of only 1 person. Personally I can’t see what other options Rafa has, we have 1 half decent striker who is injured, The other is a reject from Stoke.

    On the positive side, we are not getting hammered like we were under previous managers, if Rafa leaves then at least the club will be worthless and help force Ashley to sell up.

    • kingfisher

      Sorry Rosco, but the fans ARE divided.Some want Rafa sacked,some are happy with him.Some will never set foot in his tat SD shops while some are happy to buy his merchandise. !! Some of us are boycotting SJP until Ashley sells up, and some fans are still happy to turn up at SJP in their NUFC tops and give their money to the Ashley regime.You can please all of the people some of the time……etc,etc………..The one thing we are definitely NOT is Newcastle UNITED 😢😢😢

  • Albert Stubbins

    For anyone who says this couldn’t happen think carefully for a minute. Sir Bobby was in a very similar situation but a bad start to the season led to him being sacked. Since that day history has been rewritten to some extent. The blame for this laying squarely at Freddie Shepherds door without acknowledging that there was significant unrest from the core support. Many fans were calling for Sir Bobbys head well before the time he was actually sacked siting the fact her was too old, out of touch, had lost the dressing room etc etc. We will not get any better than Rafa just as at the time we had a chain of inferior managers to Sir Bobby. We all need to stick together on this one this time and get the man who IS responsible for the position we now find ourselves in. Ashley Out.

    • Dillon Tovak

      Someone with their head screwed firmly on.

  • Billmag

    This get rid of the manager thing has to stop it’s distracting from the main culprit the fat oaf, we get shot of Rafa and suddenly the next Ashley choice of manager is going to play super attacking football do me a favour, our only creative player is Shelvey and how many teams in the Premiership would have him, we all want attacking football but when you just have Jonjo supplying the bullets to the likes of Joselu and Perez your not going to get it.

    • Rev

      This Rafa can do no wrong thing has to stop, he is the coach, like all coaches he has to work with what he has, which is now down to Perez and Joselu because he offloaded the alternatives (same at LB). Inviting teams to pummel us then wondering why heads are dropping when we concede doesnt seem to work. If we go down are we going to stick with the same tactics and complain that it would be different if the owner would only invest in 10 Ronaldo’s? We dont seem to have any other tactics….

      • Kenny

        the quality of the players 9 times out of 10 define the tactics.
        in the last 2 games a decent striker would have buried the
        Perez & Hoss chances.
        you get what you pay for in this life.

        • panther

          torres and alonso, same system were trying but without anything to hit up top

        • Kneebotherm8


      • Billmag

        Where did I say Rafa can do no wrong, Mbabu was always injured and has improved since he left us, exactly the same as Pogba did when he left Manure the first time, would Mitro score in this team I very much doubt it, and most people on this forum was all for getting rid of Gayle saying he’s a Championship player at best, Rafa’s tactics got us promoted from the Championship whilst the likes of Villa and Norwich are still struggling after going down with us. I would love to know what tactics you and your other choice of manager would make.

        • Rev

          Attempting to score more goals than the opposition, it seems to be popular elsewhere.

          • panther


          • Billmag

            Ha ha brilliant reply (not).

        • simonjames60

          The Mag is full of black and white thinking . Patriotic though that is, it’s not helpful

          it is possible that

          1, FCB has starved the club to death

          2. Rafa’s tactical displays have been tedious to watch and inept, even allowing for the poor squad at his disposal

          The 2 problems are not mutually exclusive. Belief in one as a significant problem does not mean the person has to deny the existence of the other.

          Refusal to acknowledge that both problems exist is what drives a wedge between llife-long fans on here, who all hate to see their club falling apart.

          Its the type of mind set that perpetuates the Israel / Palestinian problem.

          It’s not helpful. It just divides the fanbase and thereby prevents a unified response.

  • Kenny

    A pizza & a pint with the owner & a few tips from him on how to shaft all and sundry and the lads will be up for it and go out and take Man U to the cleaners.

  • Mike

    of course this guy is an expert. has he attended St James or spoken to fans?

    • panther

      no but hes already had has brown envelope

  • panther

    he used a lot of words when a shrug of the shoulders would have done

  • Dillon Tovak

    Step by step the media are creeping in with manipulative ways to put the pressure onto Rafa. They’re so reluctant to apply real pressure to the owner.
    This is the same media that will run the story that the ungrateful Geordies have hounded out champions league winner Rafa, if the fans did ever turn.

    On another note, the two uniteds go head to head in a relegation scrap next week 😉

  • wheyayeman

    There is but 1 issue which surely by now should unite 100% of the fans with one voice – Ashley out!
    Everything else, literally everything else, every team sheet, substitution, formation, training session, set piece, press release, everything within Rafa or Penfolds remit is just shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic. If we are beaten every match, if we can’t score another goal or if we manage to scrape to survival nothing changes unless Ashley leaves. So dont waste your time winging against Rafa, he needs to go anyway so he can find a suitable environment where he can manage a fitting club not a toxic mess, isolated and without any resources.

  • BanJones

    We are missing flair and quality but we are very well organised Tony – you haven’t been watching.