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Rafa Benitez exposes embarrassing behaviour of Mike Ashley and his minions in message from China

6 days ago
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Rafa Benitez was the total professional when he was at St James Park.

Despite being undermined and disrespected by Mike Ashley and his minions throughout these past three years, the talented and experienced manager chose to focus his anger in a positive way.

Winning instant promotion back to the Premier League and then, in the end, comfortable mid-table finishes, despite no net spend on the squad.

For Rafa Benitez, he got the job done and left with his head held high.

Now however, Rafa is based in China and experiencing life back in the company of people with normal levels of courtesy and professionalism, when it comes to those in charge/owning Dalian Yifang.

In a few interviews since his contract ended, Rafa Benitez has given us all a better insight into the true cynical and amateurish way that Mike Ashley runs the club.

On Tuesday night though, he chose to contrast simply the class of people that he is dealing with at the Chinese club, as compared to wideboy Ashley and his people…

‘As we all know from experience, in football, just as in everyday life, when people show you respect and affection and do everything they can to make things easier for you, life is much happier, even when you face difficult moments.

I must say that I have had more meetings with the Chairman, the President and the General Manager this week, than I had in 3 years at Newcastle.

They haven’t just been work meetings, rather signs of respect in which we have been able to appreciate the differences and similarities in our cultures.’

When Oscar Wilde wrote about ‘Knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing’, it must have been one of Mike Ashley’s relations from years gone by that inspired him.

Rafa towed that professional line throughout but you can imagine just how difficult that must have been when the odd time Mike Ashley deigned to see him, or when he came into contact with the likes of Justin Barnes, Keith Bishop and Lee Charnley.

Rafa Benitez via his own personal website:

My first seven days – what an experience!

From China

Rafa Benítez

‘We’ve hardly been in China for a week and I have seen and experienced so much for the first time, it could easily have already been a month.

My coaching team and I have visited so many countries in the past and we’ve worked for years in Spain, Italy and England. But this experience is like no other.’

Millenia of culture and tradition

‘We are in a country with thousands of years of cultural heritage and traditions that condition behaviour that you notice from the first moment you step foot into China.

Obviously the first thing is the language. All of the foreigners we have met have told us how hard Mandarin is to learn. Watching a documentary about the country on the plane on the way over, I was struck by many factors which stood out, including the respect Chinese have for their elders, and their teachers, who explain what life is about and show how to write the language. Chinese calligraphy is almost an art form and to write accurately and quickly requires a great deal of learning. To see people writing in person since I arrived has been fascinating.’

Warm Welcome

‘Since the moment of our arrival we have really been touched by the kindness and respect that we have been shown. Our hosts have treated us with great consideration and are always keen to make us happy.

As we all know from experience, in football, just as in everyday life, when people show you respect and affection and do everything they can to make things easier for you, life is much happier, even when you face difficult moments.

I must say that I have had more meetings with the Chairman, the President and the General Manager this week, than I had in 3 years at Newcastle.

They haven’t just been work meetings, rather signs of respect in which we have been able to appreciate the differences and similarities in our cultures.’

I’ll finish with some comments on our first match.

‘Firstly, I’d like to congratulate the players as it’s not easy to adjust to a new coaching staff. We beat Henan Jianye 3-1 and I can tell you that the experience was really strange. You can’t transmit what you want directly to the players, as it has to go through a translator. If you shout, he has to shout too and you have to trust that he’s getting across what you want. 

To end I’ll share a little experience from my first match. When the game ended I walked onto the pitch to shake hands with the ref as I used to in England (when I wasn’t angry) and was quickly told to come back as this is forbidden in China.

I had to wait for all the players to shake hands with each other and the referees in the centre circle, then for our players to walk around the pitch thanking the fans – who are excellent and really get behind the team, as this is a club with a solid football tradition and many past trophies.

As I said at the beginning – just seven days… one week… what an experience so far!’

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