Why Rafa’s latest comments will strike fear into the minds of NUFC fans

Rafa Benitez gave local press an insightful update on his potential long term future at Newcastle United, admitting the situation is ‘tricky’ and it needs resolved soon; well before the summer.

All fans know Benitez is key to securing a bright future on the pitch. Having a world class manager who has big plans to progress the club would be celebrated by most other owners but being forced into investment is clearly not on Ashley’s radar.

So what were the key points from Rafa’s latest comments on his future and how worried should we be?

Rafa wants things sorted “as soon as possible” – but Ashley has a tendancy to act slowly.

Rafa emphasised that he wants things resolved quickly, aligning himself further with the wishes of the fans. We all know this can’t drag on and with a takeover looking increasingly unlikely – a stand-off looms. Benitez will stay and turn down offers to leave, but only if he feels Newcastle can match his ambitions. A fair request, but with Ashley always looking to run the club on the cheap, something has to give. Whether Ashley decides to back Rafa this summer like he did McClaren when he sanctioned moves for Wijnaldum, Mitrovic and Thauvin remains to be seen but with more TV money than ever, there is no excuse not to. Or Rafa will walk. I think by the end of May we will have a far clearer picture.

Benitez “needs money to compete” – but will a want-away Mike Ashley give him it?

In modern football ambition means cash and lots of it. Rafa is realistic but also ambitious. He will be rightly requesting for a summer budget of around £80-£100m net spend after frugal spends in the last two windows. Ten years ago this would have been crazy money but the likes of Everton and Leicester now think nothing of spending £20/30m on one player, whereas our transfer record remains £17m on Michael Owen from all the way back in 2005. Benitez will want to break the record multiple times this summer just to bring in decent quality and move us up the table. It’s not Ashley’s style to spend big money – and that’s the big worry here. He may have to if Benitez’s plans are to be actioned.



“This club has to be competing to be in the top 8 or higher” – but can we achieve that under Ashley?

One thing was certainly clear in the latest update, the minimum of success for Rafa in his eyes is top 8 and challenging for cups and European qualification. It’s music to Newcastle fans ears and exciting finally having a manager who actually has to calibre to achieve such targets, but there’s a fear that we just won’t be able achieve that under Ashley.

Rafa has won honours at most of his clubs and has proved his credentials further by winning the Championship and keeping us up – both fantastic achievements.  Rafa mentioned that was the target and that he did both early – the ball is very much back in Ashley’s court.

I have remained positive about Rafa staying but am beginning to have my doubts. Looking at history, Ashley doesn’t invest and doesn’t care about the fans opinions or what the media think. He will know how good Rafa is, it’s obvious, but does he care like the rest of us? No.

I think a takeover is the best bet of keeping Rafa and that is fading – let’s hope talks are going on with PCP that we aren’t aware of. Otherwise, we are then hoping for Ashley to change his ways after 11 years of error, mistake and ignorance. There is the famous quote that madness is doing the same thing time and time again and expecting different results…

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About Simon Riddlesden

Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.

36 thoughts on “Why Rafa’s latest comments will strike fear into the minds of NUFC fans

  1. He’s spot on. Jabba has shown time and time again he’s not to be trusted. He needs to prove to Rafa that he’s serious. Rafa is too good to be at an ambitiousless club.

    Over to you, Jabba.

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  2. I am also still of the opinion that Rafa won’t sign another contract. Ashley hasn’t changed in ten years so I don’t expect him to start now.

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  3. Stuart: I totally disagree with you from the last thread. Jon Moss is routinely 30 yards behind the play and one of the reasons is that he is 2 stone overweight. He cannot keep up and misses calls for that reason alone.

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  4. Eric, referees have been dropped in the past for failing their fitness tests. He must pass them and therefore be fit enough, otherwise he wouldn’t ref games.

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  5. Stuart79:
    Eric, referees have been dropped in the past for failing their fitness tests. He must pass them and therefore be fit enough, otherwise he wouldn’t ref games.

    Jon Moss is still 30 yards behind the play though (and 2 stone overweight). So even if he is fit (doubt it) he is too slow and off the pace. I noticed it with him long before Hughes brought it up.

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  6. Stuart79:
    Eric, referees have been dropped in the past for failing their fitness tests. He must pass them and therefore be fit enough, otherwise he wouldn’t ref games.

    Or the fitness tests are behind the times to keep up with these modern day elite athletes?

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  7. My phone can now tell me the weather in Timbuktu but we are still relying on these people who would otherwise be fat primary school teachers or police constables to be God in a multi-million pound match like Everton/Southampton?

    It has moved on. And so should refereeing.

    And if you think Jon Moss is fit then the fitness tests need to be changed.

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  8. Stuart: we have reached the stage of the “Celebrity Ref”. Mark – the ponce – Clattenberg was on US TV yesterday. He had a $1,000 suit on and his new $30,000 hair repair. Plus his tattoos of when he reffed the CL and WC.

    They are now part of the celebrity culture and shouldn’t be.

    At least there should be rules for them being able to follow play and not being 2 stone overweight. At a minimum – Jon Moss.

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  9. If Mark Clattenberg can wear a watch that costs what a nurse makes in a year then there is something wrong.

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  10. Eric Sykes:
    If Mark Clattenberg can wear a watch that costs what a nurse makes in a year then there is something wrong.

    Why? He has something that the Saudi’s wanted and needed, so they paid him well. He’d have been stupid to say no.

    Hublots are very nice time pieces too.

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  11. I would generally class myself as an optimists, but I have to be honest, the more Rafa speaks the less confident I am he will be our manager next season.
    In fact, I now see him leaving more than I see him staying.

    If he IS allowed to leave this summer because Ashley won’t meet his (what appear to be very reasonable and realistic) demands, that (in my opinion) will be the most damaging decision he’s made in a very damaging tenure.

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  12. Sharpy, I think it would take something extraordinary for him to resign and not see out his final year. But I’ll be surprised if he signs an extension, so I see next season as his final season. He might take the chance that maybe Jabba will have sold by the end of the year.

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  13. Thanks Simon, I hope Rafa waits until after the window closes to sign, he has a year left anyway and it will be fun to have Jabba sweat a little. If nowt else it’ll give him a taste of what he puts us fans through every window.

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  14. Stuart79: Why? He has something that the Saudi’s wanted and needed, so they paid him well. He’d have been stupid to say no.

    Hublots are very nice time pieces too.

    have you ever seen him interviewed? A turd on top of shyte.

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  15. Stuart79:
    Sharpy, I think it would take something extraordinary for him to resign and not see out his final year. But I’ll be surprised if he signs an extension, so I see next season as his final season. He might take the chance that maybe Jabba will have sold by the end of the year.

    Stu – it’s going to be a manager merry go round this summer, do you not see him leaving if someone comes in and we are telling him we won’t match his ambition – by we, I mean Ashley.

    I just don’t see Rafa wasting a year with us when he keeps taking about projects. I don’t think he wants to, but I think his hand will be forced.
    Only if the right thing came along this summer like, I don’t think he’d just walk.

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  16. Sharpy17: Stu – it’s going to be a manager merry go round this summer, do you not see him leaving if someone comes in and we are telling him we won’t match his ambition – by we, I mean Ashley.

    I just don’t see Rafa wasting a year with us when he keeps taking about projects.I don’t think he wants to, but I think his hand will be forced.
    Only if the right thing came along this summer like, I don’t think he’d just walk.

    Oh I think he’d leave if another club came in for him and we’re prepared to pay the compo, especially if he’s got no where with Jabba. I don’t see him walking away himself before the end of next season.

    I know we know the answer but just how stupid are the people who run our club? They want to start contract talks with him half way through another disasterous transfer window (what did they think he will do?) and now also they want him to stay but won’t offer him assurances that they’d match his ambition. These people really are completely stupid!

    My big fear is that if he did leave this summer to go to another club, who the hell would they replace him with? Any replacement wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as Rafa, the fans would be in mutiny and the players would be badly damaged and we’d likely go down. No manager worth their salt would take the job if Rafa walked. We’d end up with a Championship manager.

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  17. Reality is , the fans will moan and shout for a bit, then it will be as you were.
    Fans need to take a leaf out of Rangers fans book. Buy no shirts or merch of any kind. No drinks or food and preferably not attend games. Jabba might not worry about empty seats but sky bloody would. He’ll get less games on tv and lose money that way. Finally , peaceful protest outside SJP and outside SD shops.

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  18. You would think it’s a poisoned chalice to any manager now if Rafa goes but I guess there’s always some desperado . 🙄
    Also how many million can he knock off his asking price should Rafa walk.

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  19. A lot if not all of this Rafa leaving talk is just press rumour mongering. Rafa’s made his case and is waiting for a response. In fact he said today that he expects talks this week. We’ll see. Personally I think next week after the season finishes there’ll be an announcement. Rafa’s already made pre season plans and a list of targets. He’ll get what he wants.

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  20. georgio:
    A lot if not all of this Rafa leaving talk is just press rumour mongering. Rafa’s made his case and is waiting for a response. In fact he said today that he expects talks this week. We’ll see. Personally I think next week after the season finishes there’ll be an announcement. Rafa’s already made pre season plans and a list of targets. He’ll get what he wants.

    Georgio – Rafa said on Saturday that he wants to know the clubs ambitions ASAP. How do you interpret that?

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  21. Rafa has a history of playing politics with the owners at every club he has ever been at. Partly this is to popularise himself with the fans, but mainly it is his control issues. I cant imagine that playing politics with Ashley will be productive. Personally I think it comes down to his need to be in control. If Ashley says, here’s the club you run it, then he stays. If Ashley says heres your budget do the best you can then he walks. All this media stuff is padding. Statements about ambition are irrelevant. If he expects Ashley to cough up more of his personal fortune or increase the club debt it is never going to happen. But control of operations and budgets is a different matter.

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  22. PremAndUp:
    Rafa has a history of playing politics with the owners at every club he has ever been at.Partly this is to popularise himself with the fans, but mainly it is his control issues. I cant imagine that playing politics with Ashley will be productive. Personally I think it comes down to his need to be in control. If Ashley says, here’s the club you run it, then he stays. If Ashley says heres your budget do the best you can then he walks. All this media stuff is padding. Statements about ambition are irrelevant. If he expects Ashley to cough up more of his personal fortune or increase the club debt it is never going to happen. But control of operations and budgets is a different matter.

    Why do you think Rafa would or even should stay if Ashley continues to run the club like he has done over the past ten years? Don’t you think Rafa is too good to be at a club who’s only ambition is to stay up? Not being able to compete with the likes of Bournemouth, Burnley, Everton, West Ham or Southampton is surely too much for a manager of his ability to accept.

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  23. Stewie:

    4 hours before the game.

    Southampton are Donald Ducked.

    I said it 2 months ago when they hired Mark Hughes.

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  24. Stuart.
    Try reading what I said. If Rafa is in control of the club, which includes the budget within the frame work of no further loans of debts he’ll probably stay. But if Ashley is dictating budgets and how mach and on whom he spends it then he will probably walk. I think your scenario is included in the second option..

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  25. Eric, it’s a All or nothing game. Pressure is on Southampton as they won’t better Swansea’s result against Stoke on Sunday. It could well be a draw which will be a bad.

    Southampton have the better players and are playing pretty well but Swansea are at home. Big game and looking forward to it.

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  26. PremAndUp:
    Stuart.
    Try reading what I said. If Rafa is in control of the club, which includes the budget within the frame work of no further loans of debts he’ll probably stay. But if Ashley is dictating budgets and how mach and on whom he spends it then he will probably walk. I think your scenario is included in the second option..

    But Jabba has never left a manager to get on with it. Charnley has to check with Jabba before any deal is done. It’s unlikley he will change.

    Should Rafa have to put up with a club who needs to wait for the owner to get off his sunbed before sanctioning signings and then it’s too late?

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  27. Eric Sykes:
    Stewie:

    4 hours before the game.

    Southampton are Donald Ducked.

    I said it 2 months ago when they hired Mark Hughes.

    Well, Eric…

    I still say Huddersfield are in the shite. What about you?

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  28. So, Chelsea need to beat Huddersfield in order for Sky to have anything to talk about on Sunday.

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  29. Stuart79:
    Eric, it’s a All or nothing game. Pressure is on Southampton as they won’t better Swansea’s result against Stoke on Sunday. It could well be a draw which will be a bad.

    Southampton have the better players and are playing pretty well but Swansea are at home. Big game and looking forward to it.

    You did hedge your bets a bit there Stuart. Southampton could win or it might be Swansea, or a draw 🙂

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  30. But… Stuart has said it would be Huddersfield for quite some time. All they need is a point or Swans not to win to avoid relegation. I was pretty sure that Swans would be the new Sunderland and stay up by the skin of their teeth again, so I am not making predictions ever again.

    Spurs 1 NUFC 1 🙂 🙂 🙂

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