Get your daily update and weekly newsletter by signing up today!


Stunning as Rafa Benitez answers Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley’s Sunday offensive – It’s brutal

3 years ago

On Sunday we saw the latest scurrilous attack on Rafa Benitez and the fans from Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley.

A new column in the match programme will see Ashley putting out comments under the name of Lee Charnley.

The first such column in the Arsenal programme was supplied to the media ahead of going on sale and the reasoning became obvious.

The Ashley regime launching a PR propaganda attack on the former manager and the fans ahead of the first match and the planned protests and boycott.

In the past we saw a column in the match programme used for similar purposes, back when Mike Ashley was pretending Joe Kinnear was Director of Football (brought in simply to accept the blame and deflect it away from Ashley because the owner intended to buy not a single player in the summer 2013 and January 2014 transfer windows). The club later admitted that the match programme column wasn’t actually written by Joe Kinnear (see here).

Speaking of columns, Tuesday morning has seen news revealed that Rafa Benitez has a new regular column with The Athletic.

The former Newcastle boss says that ‘In the future I want to write about football and nothing but football’ but that the actions of Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley has meant he has had to address the latest embarrassing attacks on him in that programme column.

Stunning stuff below.

If you believe Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley over Rafa Benitez (and Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer, Jonas Gutierrez etc etc) then there is really no hope for you.

I love the fact that Rafa Benitez does this kind of thing in a classy but brutal way, the quiet assassin professionally getting the job done, compared to the amateurish Mike Ashley style of attack.

Rafa Benitez speaking to The Athletic (extracts below but recommended you read the full interview here – they are offering first month free to read articles before having to pay):

‘People in Newcastle have been talking about my decision to move to China without knowing what happened behind the scenes during my three years at St James’ Park.

I haven’t wanted to say too much about that — I’ve encouraged supporters to get behind Steve Bruce and his new team — but I’ve been made aware of what Lee Charnley, Newcastle’s managing director, claimed in the club’s match programme last weekend and I think it’s important I address that.

I tried to do my best every day, even staying when we went down to the Championship and saying no to other offers — bigger offers than the one I recently accepted with Dalian Yifang, by the way. If I was only interested in moving “for money”, as Charnley stated, I could have done it much earlier.

Over my long career, and especially in my time at Newcastle, I’ve always shown commitment to my club, its city and its community and I’ve done it with professionalism and honesty.

Newcastle’s board had a year to sort out my contract but, when we met after the end of last season, they didn’t make me an offer I could accept. They told me they didn’t want to invest in the academy or the training ground — if they like, I can explain the reason why Mike Ashley refused to do that. Their idea of a project was a policy of signing players under 24 and, in my opinion, the budget available was not enough to compete for the top 10.

After that meeting, I knew they would not come back with a serious offer and, when it arrived, 19 days later, it was for the same salary as three years earlier and with less control over signings. Charnley’s comments in the programme about having a deal agreed for Joelinton in February explains a lot that I couldn’t understand at that time.

After three years of unfulfilled promises, I didn’t trust them.

When we finished 10th in the Premier League in our first season back, all players and staff were paid a bonus — aside from my coaching team. That felt like a punishment for me not signing an extension.

So, by the end, I knew there would not be a proper offer and they knew I was not signing.

I couldn’t explain that in public because I was not allowed to talk to the press without their permission, so I was waiting until late June, like every fan, hoping there would be good news about Newcastle’s prospective takeover.

On Sunday morning, I switched on my television in Dalian and there was a documentary about Alan Shearer being shown. Can you believe that? It’s true.

I saw joy in the faces of Newcastle fans after every goal. I didn’t need the reminder, because I was there so recently, there with all my heart, but it made me think again about that history and potential. And it made me consider something else: what would an 18-year-old Newcastle supporter think about his club now?’


If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]

Have your say

© 2022 The Mag. All Rights Reserved. Design & Build by Mediaworks