Benitez throws clear dig at Mike Ashley following the closure of the January transfer window

Rafa Benitez has sent a subtle dig to NUFC owner Mike Ashley following last night’s frustrating 1-1 draw with Burnley, saying that we knew the importance of bringing players in early ahead of games with Swansea and Burnley – suggesting the last minute arrival of Islam Slimani may have cost us a few precious points.

Rafa may have been happy with sign Slimani and Dubravka in the end, with new-boy Kenedy also putting in a superb performance, but he’s clearly not ready to forget Ashley’s costly mistakes last month.

It’s quite simple. Rafa had his targets from January 1st and made it clear to Mike Ashley and the NUFC board that he’d set a deadline of the 20th January to bring in new players. Ideally he’d have had them in early to play Swansea the week before, but it’s so so simple to see why he wanted business concluded early. If Islam Slimani had been playing up top last night and against a poor Swansea side a few weeks ago, I am quite certain that we’d have won at least one of those games.

Last night we may have secured the shrewd loan signing of Islam Slimani and Martin Dubravka, but it’s further proof of why our business was done too late when you see us drop yet more points at home due to a lack of quality in front of goal.

Here’s what Rafa said when asked what he made of last night’s result:



“We (Ashley included) knew that bringing in players early was important to us especially with games against Swansea and this game.”

“We have to manage the situation we have.”

Ironically, missed chances from Joselu and an unfortunate own goal from Karl Darlow ended up costing us two points. This is harsh on the latter, but what Benitez would have gave to have had his new striker and new stopper signed in time to play this game.

Slimani may have a knock, meaning he couldn’t have played anyway, but that’s not the point – Benitez warned Ashley why he didn’t want to leave it until the last minute, and you can bet your bottom dollar that this was partly due to the risk of dropping big points in such ‘winnable’ games.

Here’s hoping Slimani and Dubravka can have the desired effect – we need some fresh impetus!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

5 thoughts on “Benitez throws clear dig at Mike Ashley following the closure of the January transfer window

  1. Would dearly love to get a look at the accounts to see the real picture of the clubs finances, but I bet even that is all smoke and mirrors………Looks like shifting the fat cuckoo is going to be expensive for someone, just hoping someone sees the value the City and fans bring to the club.

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  2. Outside of Rafa and his team the NUFC management team is inept and dis-functional. Only one person can make decisions and he is not interested. Transfers should have been set up for 1st week in Jan not the last day. We can only hope that making loan signings indicate that MA still plans to sell up. He has gambled again and looks like he will loose again and we will be relegated unless the loan players make the rest of the squad up their game. Amanda Staveley presented more of a strategic vision for NUFC in one interview than he has presented over 11 years of ownership. KK’s words that were shown at last nights game ring very true. As we all know NUFC will go nowhere with MA as the owner. I am 65 this month and supported the club all my life this is the most dressing time and that is saying something.

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  3. You are so right. I am now the same age as SBR would have been and was taken to see Newcastle in 1942 when dear old Tommy Swinburn, Albert Stubbins and Harry Clifton were in the team. Even then the directors were poor but nothing like the mess this current bunch have the club in. I now live on the West Coast of Cumbria so cannot get to see my team (only when they are on TV) as my son is a rugby man. Get rid of the ‘leach’ as fast as you all can. HWTL.

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  4. My dear”Lum “born in49 and my first game in 56, i qholy cconcur with every word. Us long in the tooth old hits have had to suffer so much over the last 60 years or so but even Westwood and Co can’t compare with this b*****d.
    Perhaps we’ve missed the boat.,but let’s hope our grandkids can get something out of this car crash.

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