Rafa Benitez faces Chelsea today.

A club where only six years ago he went into mid-season and in a matter of months led them to Europa League success and Champions League qualification.

Then followed spells at Napoli and Real Madrid.

Now he returns with Newcastle United.

Chelsea have just spent £60m on Christian Pulisic and yet their fans are moaning about the West London club not spending money on players.

Asked about his own current position before taking on former club Chelsea, Rafa Benitez said that with the position Mike Ashley has put him in, Newcastle can’t even dream of competing with Bournemouth in the transfer market.

In the time that Rafa Benitez has been at St James Park, Bournemouth have bought Jordan Ibe (£16m), Nathan Ake (£20m), Diego Rico (£14m), Jefferson Lerma (£25m) and Dominic Solanke (£19m).

In that same time period, Rafa’s biggest signing has been Matt Ritchie for £12m from Bournemouth.

This was when Rafa was building a team to get out of the Championship and yet Ritchie is still at Newcastle as one of our better players, despite his limitations at Premier League level.

The thing is as well, it hasn’t been a case of Bournemouth only buying big (compared to Newcastle) because they have sold players for big fees, the largest they have received in that time period is the Matt Ritchie one…

Rafa Benitez says he has stayed in the hope that eventually Mike Ashley would see sense and allow realistic spending on essential signings.

This is Rafa’s sixth transfer window under Ashley and we must surely now accept that, barring a ‘miracle’ of new owners appearing, it will be his last at NUFC.

Rafa Benitez asked why he hasn’t walked away, as yet, from Newcastle United:

“This club was an opportunity to be in the top ten.

“We couldn’t save the team (from relegation) and then we won the Championship, so we then said, ‘OK, now is the time (when we need to invest)…’

“Then you say the first year back in the Premier League is quite difficult but we finished tenth and so ‘now is the time (to invest)…’

“Then it is the third year and you try, you try, but…

“I had teams and agents talking (to my people) with more money (I would get and have available to spend on the team) than here.

“(But) Still I want to do something here.

“I want to stay in England so I’m close to my family and the fans have been fantastic, so you try to do something properly.

“It is a challenge but it is (also) a risk. Yes it is a risk (to stay at a club with no ambition that could mean another relegation and risk to my reputation).

“I will try and do my best to win every single game but obviously it depends on the players that you have.

“If you talk about the other teams at the bottom of the table, they are not as big as Newcastle United, a massive club, with 52,000 fans at every game and up to 9,000 when you go away at times.

‘The reality is that we have to compete in a division when we cannot compete against Bournemouth….who are spending money.

“That doesn’t mean you are negative, just realistic.”



  • Paul Patterson

    Many thanks Rafa, you tried your best. Whenever you do walk, you’ll get my best wishes.
    The owner is not for turning . .

  • Leazes.

    Jim…. you wrote….’Chelsea have just spent £60m on Christian Pulisic and yet their fans are moaning about the West London club not spending money on players’

    You are castigating their fans for holding their club to account….. you know what….. when the management and owner aren’t held to account you end up with a club like Newcastle.

    Why do you think Ashley went down the Bigg market the first month he came and then went into hiding like his chairman…. that’s right!

    They aren’t going to be held to account…. by fans like Shepherd was

    Ask yourself the question ‘why 11 years of silence’?

    Today we are playing the club of Ashley, Llambias, Wise, Mort and Kenyon…..

    There’s going to be one winner….. it isn’t us.

    We don’t ask for much….. no we don’t that’s the problem and neither do our mouthpieces in the media…. we need accountability. and what we got was a wrecking crew with Mark Douglas purposefully blind to its intention.

    …. END THE FAKEOVER DOUGLAS.

  • Kenny

    He may well look up to the sky because that`s the only help he`s going to get in staving off relegation once again.
    I wouldn`t go to watch the shyte Newcastle dish out for nothing and free drink.
    Just before Christmas i got an invite by email to purchase a half season ticket with a few extra trimmings, £499.
    😂😂😂.
    Deleted.

    • Leazes.

      Jonatan Drape Comyn could and does…… 600 mile round trips to watch not a depleted first team but those not good enough to get into it.

  • Tweed Mag

    Key phrase “…so you try to do something properly”. Rafa is an honest man up against an owner who thinks it is okay to cheat – because everyone does in business according to him. He then recruits weak, spineless incompetents to peddle his spin and lies. Rafa is on record saying we need a miracle this season to stay up – and he is right. It will also be a miracle if he is here after May; a miracle if the oaf is gone at any time in the near future; a miracle if there is ever a competitive transfer fund; a miracle if the Chronic ever print the obvious; a miracle if the fans finally come together under one cause; a miracle if Monk ever sees sense. (That last one is impossible, I know.)
    Good luck and best wishes Rafa, whatever happens.

    • Leazes.

      What I don’t get is the attitude that is okay because he’s a ‘businessman’….

      He’s bought the club therefor ”we owe him the payment” Hadn’t we already paid Hall and Shepherd for the club?…..

      … when you look at the NUFC articles of association it was never the intention of the original shareholders (Doctors, Newsagents, Plumbers and merchants) back in the 1880’s to make money from the venture….. it was a community club with cycle rides, days out picnics, football and croquet.

      The Chronicle have been responsible for this idea that if someone buys the club we immediately have to sell its assets so the absurd one can not only own it but get his money back then make more by selling it….repeat…..enter Kenyon….. we now owe him money…. repeat….

      It didn’t happen elsewhere except Manure but they coped well due to large financial clout….. spurs are 1000m in debt…. are they downsizing….are they heck…. malevolent owners here, couldn’t have happened without the chronicle….

      • Tweed Mag

        The vast sums of money has attracted all the fly-by-nights and cheats. Not likely to change anytime soon.

        • Leazes.

          That’s why fans have to get their clubs back….all fans not just us.

          • Tweed Mag

            Yes, exactly.

      • Sickandtired

        Swissrambles last comparison between us and Spurs makes for factual and sobering reading.
        I’d recommend everyone to read it – again, if needed.

        • Leazes.

          good comparison….we were ahead of them with a stadium at the time….. we’ve downsized because Mark Douglas wanted the club to downsize…. he’s the biggest threat to this clubs ultimate survival.

      • Toontaff

        A ride on a penny farthing, game of croquet and a cucumber sandwich…………..whilst watching them kick a pig’s bladder around…….in black and white!

  • Billmag

    What chance have you got Rafa when the owner wants to give Debenhams a £40ml interest free loan before Xmas rather than help you out in the transfer market, the Chair has stood down at Deb’s, apparently he doesn’t like Ashley’s way of doing things. (There’s a shock).

    • Kenny

      He`s not bothered about Newcastle.

      • Billmag

        True as has been proven these last 11 years.

    • Sickandtired

      Actually, fatty got the Chairman and Chief Executive voted off.

      • Billmag

        Correct.

      • Leazes.

        Trying to force loans on people…. Rangers are still fighting him….. Ronnie and Reggie Kray didn’t force the loans….just the repayment plan!

  • Sickandtired

    Perspective. By the end of this season, the club’s turnover will be around £360 million over the last two seasons. In 2007 it was £87 million.
    Capital expenditure (St James’ and training ground improvements) 2008 to August 2018, only £10 million.
    ‘Debt’ has ballooned, not reduced.
    Where’s the F’n money gone, and going, Fatty?

    • Leazes.

      It went on the relegations that he planned to keep the cycle going….

      • Sickandtired

        The absence of the growth of commercial revenue keeps the club dependent on fatty’s money. Pretty sure, as you suggest, that is by design.

        • The BBC is FAKENEWS

          Exactly, it’s worth £15m to £20m a season, and he doesn’t pay a penny.

    • Paul Patterson

      Don’t forget that elusive new striker ‘Fraser’ ..

      • Toontaff

        He’s Dooooomed!

    • Realist999

      Player wages and agents. And turnover has nothing to do with cash, it the net cash after expenses that’s important and that remains very low.

      • Sickandtired

        Realist? Sounds more like Apologist to me. Wages and fees for players we don’t sign? LOL! Maybe you need a closer look at our net spend to make you realise what total clap-trap you are spouting.

        • Realist99

          I look forward to seeing your financial accounting qualification, another barrack room financial expert.

          • Sickandtired

            As I thought, an Ashley ‘accounting’ apologist. Blocked.

          • Realist99

            And that’s the problem with the minority of our so called fans.
            Blind to reality

          • Sickandtired

            You’re not a true fan. You are a cheap bean counting, Ashley hoop licker. Bobby F pseudonym is it?

          • Realist99

            Really….
            So the fact that I know about corporate accounting and company finances makes me an Ashley apologist ?
            And not a true fan why ? Because I don’t follow the small minority and laughable anti Ashley campaign ?

          • The BBC is FAKENEWS

            Majority daft lad

          • Sickandtired

            F off Bobbi. Sick of blocking you and you reappear with another name.

          • Realist99

            I guess it’s worrying for you that there are actually a lot of people who disagree with you.

          • Sickandtired

            99.9% of everyone on here does not and never will agree with you, Fleckman. Now F off – as I cant seem to block you.

          • Realist99

            Oh the frustration, you know your wrong but you can’t block it out.
            I’ve being going since 74/75 and people like you will never stop me whoever the owners are.

          • Tweed Mag

            Rather than posting short comments, why not do an article outlining your findings, utilising your corporate accountancy skills?
            Put your money where your mouth is.

          • Realist99

            Sorry I only do that for a fee.

          • Tweed Mag

            No surprise. Use your next fee to buy some balls.

          • The BBC is FAKENEWS

            Reality is much smaller clubs are able to spend much more than us. You think you are clever?

      • The BBC is FAKENEWS

        Blah blah blah

  • Hopey

    For me NUFC now mirrors Sports Direct, it’s a well known brand competing in the top end of the market but has a really poor product on offer yet it’s customers are compelled to shop/attend due to their own circumstances (you know what I mean) their owner thinks he can rub shoulders with the big boys but evidently he’s not up to it ,and the end may be on the horizon. He now puts All his effort into his high end shop Flannels but even that will downgrade the top products eventually, no high profile player would even look twice at a NUFC offer as its smeared in rotten actions, we are finished until he goes or dies.
    Just remember NUFC will still be around in ten years time however his shops may not be.
    We have the best support in the land bar non and the most honourable manager ever to manage a club in my opinion

    • Mr_Kinnear

      No one has a gun to their head when buying renewing a season ticket. Ashley only understands profit and loss. Stop financially supporting thd regime. Its NOT helping the team

      • Leazes.

        Not a gun 20,060 are scared to unlock the handcuffs of the 10 year deal in case this next season is a turning point….. jam tomorrow….. except the want to go into denial over Ashleys history….

        …..that’s the only reason the Fakeover exists…. to keep them locked into a £24 ticket deal continually….

        Most clubs have ‘Directors of football’….

        ……Ashley has a PR and marketing concept for his advertising…. he’s just paid 5 figures for a new permanent sign in the Milburn Lobby.

        He’s going nowhere in a hurry.

        • Realist99

          Criticisms aimed at people on 10 year deals are a new low.
          Maybe the deal has maked it cost effective for them to continue to go to the match for the last 10 years whilst incomes in real terms have fallen.
          Going to the match is just another form of entertainment which 20,000 have chosen to do before and will continue to choose to do after the current ownership ends.
          One of the consequences of new ownership will be wholesale increases in all ticket prices as they seek to recoup their investment.
          None is scared to unlock handcuffs, it’s been a very very good deal.
          It’s a day out ffs, anyone who pretends otherwise is just kidding themselves.

          • Superdooperhooper

            You’re paying less but for what ? You call that entertainment? It’s just like the tat he flogs in his shops. Poor quality. It’s the day out mob who are ashley’s enablers. If you keep feeding the animal he’s never going to leave

          • Leazes.

            Absolutely brilliant deal for the matchday experience fan and for Ashley it filled the walk away….. I never said it wasn’t….. meanwhile those silly spurs fans are paying £50 a ticket….

            …. they must be livid

    • Angelswithdirtyfaces

      I don’t think SD are top end of the market at all, and all the sports brands Ashley has bought have been asset stripped and brand quality has reduced almost across the board. He is a tat merchant hunting for marginal gains – and the first thing that goes is quality.

      • Hopey

        In top end of the market I meant city high streets/premier league we all know how bad SDirect is

  • New Durham Mags

    for some reason i cant reply to anyone
    Anyone any ideas why ?

    also just een that the times are reporting that Roman Abramovic has now loaned Chelski 1.13 Billion !!! WOW. how is that even aloud ?

    • Leazes.

      Don’t annoy the moderator in future.

  • Leicester Mag

    Funny how the Ashley fan club reposte ‘we could have ended up like Leeds’ seems so hollow as they likely pass us by

    • Leazes.

      Leeds heart is Rugby League….like that whole geographic band from Hull through to Wigan…..

      …. the lie of the club in debt I showed the figures for the league at that time….. we had a few players on payment plans like the rest…less than most….

      ….It was the Wynyard Development that was debt ridden not the club….that was twisted for political ends by nationals fed by the chronicle….

      Check it out yourself…. this is true…… Hall was in trouble not United.

      • Leicester Mag

        I whole heartedly agree we were never the next Leeds. It was a pathetic excuse for Ashley’s running of the club. My point is very soon I can see Leeds returning to the premier league and us relegated again. So much for being ‘saved’

        • Leazes.

          The thing is this is what Douglas and Ryder push constantly….

          ….all Ashley had to do was allow the club its own income!

          The stadium would have been paid by 2016….. he piled on real debt by his mismanagement…. followed by his relegations.

          Douglas won’t have the argument…. he really is the enemy of this city.

        • Jonas

          The debt, according the MA (who wouldn’t round it down) was about £85million.

          We were a stable PL club, in Europe every other year, full houses every week and a squad of assets worth a lot more than the debt.
          I used to say to people we could have sold/got rid of Given, Parker, Bramble without negatively effecting the team (no knock on Given but Harper was his equal) and getting a quarter of the debt taken care of.

          and that’s discounting the ‘debt’ for the stadium expansion in installments that should be looked on as an investment.

  • The BBC is FAKENEWS

    It means that mike Ashley is not paying for any advertising of his company around the club, and has pocketed tens of millions from the tv money over the past 12 months or so. It will all come out eventually.