FIVE things Mike Ashley must do to keep Benitez at the club this summer

After such a good win at the weekend, it’s natural for Newcastle fans to allow on eye to the summer already. The key to Newcastle keeping momentum and continuing to build is of course keeping Rafa Benitez at the club. If we move the takeover aside for a moment, what would have to change to persuade the boss to sign a new deal for the long term?

1) Sign Kenedy and Dubravka

Rafa once again had his hands tied behind his back in the transfer market in January but pulled off two excellent loan signings in Kenedy and Dubravka. Both have transformed the side and allowed us to climb the table towards safety. Its three clean sheet at home in a row for the Slovakian stopper and a fee of £4m to make it permanent seems a normality surely.

Tying Kenedy down from Chelsea will be more problematic and certainly expensive.  Chelsea are tough sellers and despite reports, I think it will take a club record fee to land the Brazilian. He has been infectious since arriving, is enjoying his football and is open to the move full time. As always under Ashley, the financials are the sticking point. Rafa will want him for sure so this deal will be good indication for the fans and Benitez if we mean business this summer.

2) Keep Lascelles at the club

More reports have resurfaced linking our club captain to Chelsea, a move first mooted in the New Year. He has been outstanding for us and his influence off the pitch can’t be underestimated either. A bid of £30m will be arriving apparently, as the London side look to bounce back from a poor season by their standards. Lascelles is happy on Tyneside but will want to see progress to try and get in the England side. If we show some ambition for once by insisting he isn’t for sale it could further persuade Rafa to stay here for the longer term and build the project around our best players, like Lascelles.

3) Finally deliver on a top striker

Slimani came on against Huddersfield and looked decent but the two glaring misses from Gayle earlier in the game highlighted just why we need someone more deadly at this level.  Whether Slimani delivers and we sign him permanently or it is another option, we need to break our transfer record on a striker to show some real intent. Rafa won’t settle for penny pinching again this summer.

4) Implement long awaited training ground improvements

Upon arriving at the club, Rafa admitted he was shocked at the poor level of facilities we have for a club of our size. Plans we released to develop the training ground when Llambias presented his ‘five year plan’ but like much of the Ashley regime, this never materialised or was a PR stunt.  To retain our best players and attract better ones, our facilities need to be up t scratch.

We feel like a much bigger club than say Brighton, yet the Seagulls’ training facilities totally outdo ours. Investment is needed to bring back the ‘big club’ feel Benitez wants to see return on Tyneside.

5) Overhaul the under 23’s and youth set up

In tandem with the training ground, we need to begin to yield better results from the reserve and youth teams. We have a very poor record of brining top level players through in the last decade and you get the sense a real malaise has set in. Several U-23 ‘stalwarts’ lik like Curtis Good and Tom Heardman have been released, meaning severe investment will be needed at that level, with Rafa clearly showing his ruthless streak in a bid to vastly improve the first-team underbelly and the amount of youngsters actually breaking through.

The Beardsley case should be cleared up one way or another soon but either way, a total overhaul is needed.

How likely is Rafa to stay at Newcastle? What other things do you think are key?

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

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.

61 thoughts on “FIVE things Mike Ashley must do to keep Benitez at the club this summer

  1. Sell up! Simple as that. As long as Jabba is here the club will be run on the cheap. It’s not possible to improve under him.

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  2. Stuart79:
    Sell up! Simple as that. As long as Jabba is here the club will be run on the cheap. It’s not possible to improve under him.

    Agree Stu says it as it is,after 1 years its not going to change

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  3. georgio:
    Pardew finished 5th Stuart. It’s not impossible just highly unlikely.

    That was sheer luck. He sold our best players, got lucky with a couple of decent players and thought he could do it again and again. He failed miserably.

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  4. This site is a nightmare. 2 hours trying to post on here ! Done a clean up, turned off the pc and back on 4 times to get to this point. No probs with other sites, madness.

    Anyway, he needs to sell up or I can see us losing Rafa, Lascelles and anyone else worth owt.
    Show some ambition or sell up Mike.

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  5. kimtoon:
    This site is a nightmare. 2 hours trying to post on here ! Done a clean up, turned off the pc and back on 4 times to get to this point. No probs with other sites, madness.

    Anyway, he needs to sell up or I can see us losing Rafa, Lascelles and anyone else worth owt.
    Show some ambition or sell up Mike.

    Ime having the very same problem with my apple iPad,doing my head in

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  6. I must say I don’t have too many technical issues with the site but I do have issues trying to find the “live” thread sometimes.

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  7. Icedog:
    No wonder I don’t post much

    same ice, I like to pop on and off when I’m free but, it’s taken too long today in particular for some reason. Went out back to weed the rose bed in the end lol. I imagine that every weed I yank out is one of Jabbas teeth and I get through it in no time. 😉

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  8. No problem accessing site for me I’m pleased to say

    I would agree with others that until our odious owner sells up we’re unlikely to improve much. Benitez competence won’t get us too much further even if he is willing to stick around

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  9. kimtoon: same ice, I like to pop on and off when I’m free but, it’s taken too long today in particular for some reason. Went out back to weed the rose bed in the end lol. I imagine that every weed I yank out is one of Jabbas teeth and I get through it in no time.

    ???

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  10. I don’t have any problems with the site, just continuity. When you move to the 76th post you lose all context from what has been said before, similarly with new threads. Maybe carry over the last few so you don’t have to keep jumping back to understand the discussion.

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  11. Olly: isn’t this whole Merino story based on the fact that he said he would EVENTUALLY like to play again in Spain? Is there any substance to this supposed rumour of Bilbao being interested or is it the usual put 2 and 2 together and equal 537 because he is from Pamplona?

    Nice part of the country although it rained the whole time I was there. Pintxos were good though.

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  12. These transfer rumours are a joke most of the time. If you believe them then Mourinho would have signed the whole French, Brazilian and Spanish teams by now. Plus Gareth Bale 1025 times.

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  13. Eric Sykes:
    Olly: isn’t this whole Merino story based on the fact that he said he would EVENTUALLY like to play again in Spain? Is there any substance to this supposed rumour of Bilbao being interested or is it the usual put 2 and 2 together and equal 537 because he is from Pamplona?

    Nice part of the country although it rained the whole time I was there. Pintxos were good though.

    No, it seems that Bilbao do want him. Plenty ‘reputable’ outlets in Spain are suggesting there’s real interest, however I don’t buy claims that we’re willing to sell him for £15m and that he wants a return ASAP.

    The return to Spain comment was taken out of context really. He just said some day he’d like to (and you’d fully expect that).

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  14. I think we will see Merino on the bench instead of Hayden. Rafa likes a bit of push back as long as you don’t question his authority.

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  15. I saw a picture of Butch Wilkins with Alan Brazil on Talksport. What has happened to Alan Brazil’s heed? It makes Paul Merson’s Giant Balloon Head look tiny in comparison.

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  16. Olly – I don’t know if that list is in order of priority mate, but if it is the top priority on that list for me would be keeping Lascelles. He for me is so much more than just a bloody good centre back – he’s a captain beyond his years, and a big reason behind the grit we’ve shown this season I reckon.

    One not on that list would be to keep the ‘promise’ that Rafa will get any profit to spend on new recruits. He’s had to make do this season as the big TV money doesn’t come until the end of this season – well let’s see how that does, coz I don’t think Rafa will put up with another window without strengthening.

    But yeah, as Stu said, if he wants to just go ahead and sell up then I’d take that too please.

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  17. Trying not to count chickens but anything from our game would be a bonus as those below us have very important games:

    B’mth v Palace – Mr. Roy back in the sh!t if they don’t win.
    Brighton v Huddersfield – relegation battle of the day. C’mon Chris Hughton.
    Stoke v Spurs – a loss for Stoke and it is probably curtains.
    WBA v Swans – at least the Baggies don’t have Pards. Shock win?
    Arse v S’ton – bye bye Southampton.
    Chelsea v WHam – probably meaningless.

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  18. Sharpy – I think what happens with Lascelles will tell us everything. If Rafa goes so will Lascelles. To be fair it would be hard to keep him if a Chelsea cane in for him but not impossible if we decided to be a club with ambition. I’m still convinced we can achieve what Spurs have done if only we had a owner willing to be ambitious.

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  19. Stuart: Spurs’ revenue was 300 million last year and that is with the CL and being in London. I think we will be about 200 million next year so we are not that far behind. They have that stadium to pay for which will cost them about 100 million a year (assuming 6% interest and paying it off over about 15 years).

    They will also either lose all of their good players or have to double their wage bill. The Spurs model is not sustainable because there is no way they will get as lucky again and replace Kane, Alli, Erikson, Son, Rose, Alderweldereid like for like. Although they did somehow get Lucas Moura for 25 million.

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  20. Spurs should worry because it is like Bayern in Germany times 4. Whoever is any good in Germany Bayern just buy to sustain their dominance. Spurs are faced with Man U, Man City, Chelsea and to and extent Arsenal who can all just come in and take their best players. Not to mention Madrid and Barcelona.

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  21. This may seem like heresy but I am not sure that Rafa would want the Fatman to sell. It is now Rafa NUFC. He has complete control over the club, money, transfers, scouting, staff. He is a control freak who has just worked for overbearing and demanding owners at Chelsea and Madrid. What more can he ask for if Ashley sticks to his word and gives him all of the money generated by NUFC.

    Fatty also incentivizes the managers at Sports Direct by giving them bonuses and shares. If I was him I would give Rafa 10% of NUFC to keep him sweet and interested. If we stay in the PL for 3 years he will reap the rewards and NUFC will be worth 400 million minimum.

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  22. Stuart79:
    Sharpy – I think what happens with Lascelles will tell us everything. If Rafa goes so will Lascelles. To be fair it would be hard to keep him if a Chelsea cane in for him but not impossible if we decided to be a club with ambition. I’m still convinced we can achieve what Spurs have done if only we had a owner willing to be ambitious.

    Stu – Chelsea will obviously be a better team than us for many years to come yet, but I don’t see them as a major force in the league anymore personally. I think there is a clear top 6 – but I think that is a top 3 of City, Utd and Lpool – the Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal after that. Those 3 will compete for 4th spot and have a chance at cups – but I think they as much at risk of loosing their big players and falling back.

    I think, with the right approach in the next few windows, we could quite easily catch up to the likes of Everton, Leicester and Burnley – and I think that’s the bank of teams just behind Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal.

    If I was Lascelles I’d be holding out for another season or 2 and aiming for the top 3 and winning big trophies. He’s young enjoy to do that, unless they come calling sooner.

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  23. Wenger has partially come to his senses and taken the Captaincy from the Oompaloompa. Should have dropped him.

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  24. Arsenal fans are singing “we’re the loyalist supporters the world has ever seen”. Do they understand irony? Have they watched Arsenal TV? Did they see the empty seats on Sunday?

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  25. Icedog:
    That’s a shock Eric Bristow dies 60

    He was always entertaining. I liked the way he put his pinky up to throw darts like he was having tea with the Queen.

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  26. Would you like another cucumber sandwich Ma’am (says Eric Bristow). Nah, just be a good lad and let me have a pint of whatever Jocky Wilson is having.

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  27. Probably the worst performance ever by the Oompaloompa. It was like Arsenal were playing with 10 men and yet his Pals on the pundit couch and in the press will call for him to be in Russia. Hopefully in a Stalag and leave him there, but I should be so lucky! Stared 11, scored 1, assisted 2. And that is in an Arsenal team who are usually in the ascendancy.

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  28. I see plenty of chat on here about why people dislike clubs.

    I’ll never underdtand why folks compare Newcastle and liverpool fans as similar.

    I travelled extensively with Newcastle as a teenager / 20 something and have been to plenty of grounds. The only place I ever experienced persistent, widespread violence or hooliganism as it was called then was anfield.

    Coaches i travelled in ended up worse than the man city one

    I’ve also had the misfortune to work there .. on thankfully limited occasions

    So from personal experience not just media bull**** i am happy to say; Shit city .. Shit club .. **** fans persistently involved in problems in english football.

    Hope they’re hooked from football

    Eric Sykes:
    The Liverpool/City game should be replayed or Liverpool should forfeit.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-5583597/Why-did-police-expose-Guardiolas-Man-City-players-baying-red-mob.html

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  29. Jim Bowen and Eric Bristow both dead. Funny old world – the non dart player going first!

    RIP Eric Bristow.

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  30. Prem – All scousers being funny is one of life’s many fallacy’s. Like Newcastle fans being demanding and thinking we should be challenging for the league. On both fronts I’m yet to find one person who fits the stereotype.

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  31. Stuart79:
    Prem – All scousers being funny is one of life’s many fallacy’s. Like Newcastle fans being demanding and thinking we should be challenging for the league. On both fronts I’m yet to find one person who fits the stereotype.

    going to the ground as a small child with my family there was never talk of winning titles in the family end but fans were quite happy if it was a good game and were entertained which was the main thing

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  32. Example a guy I knew for nearly 20 years. Whenever he upset somebody by being plain rude it was ‘banter’ and therefore ok. But if anybody said anything to offend him he was all over it like a rash and totally unforgiving. I know that is true of many people, but I just see it most clearly in the scousers I know.

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  33. I am guessing you lot are going to enjoy the Liverpool Derby tomorrow 🙂 I am going to the Pub to watch our match and the owner is an Everton fan so there will be fan spillover from the previous game. Should I ask them if they think they are funny and that I am delusional? I could do a rough poll. I will let you know the results from hospital.

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  34. Eric Sykes:
    I am guessing you lot are going to enjoy the Liverpool Derby tomorrow I am going to the Pub to watch our match and the owner is an Everton fan so there will be fan spillover from the previous game. Should I ask them if they think they are funny and that I am delusional? I could do a rough poll. I will let you know the results from hospital.

    ???

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  35. Never been to Liverpool but I did enjoy a really nice trip once to where their fans come from – Ireland.

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  36. I can understand Bristow passing away at a young age. It wasn’t exactly a healthy lifestyle playing darts in the 70s and 80s. Butch though, I don’t get. Surely he was around the club Dr.s at Chelsea and had physicals. How did they not catch that he had a heart condition. I have a friend who had a triple by-pass 10 years ago and is still going strong.

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  37. Isn’t most of the stuff that is passed off as banter really just ****ery and bullying. If someone has to say it was only banter, you know they were being a ****.

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  38. Eric Sykes:
    Isn’t most of the stuff that is passed off as banter really just ****ery and bullying. If someone has to say it was only banter, you know they were being a ****.

    spot on there mate, never banter if you have to say it.

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  39. Eric Sykes:
    I can understand Bristow passing away at a young age. It wasn’t exactly a healthy lifestyle playing darts in the 70s and 80s. Butch though, I don’t get. Surely he was around the club Dr.s at Chelsea and had physicals. How did they not catch that he had a heart condition. I have a friend who had a triple by-pass 10 years ago and is still going strong.

    I think Wilkins was a heavy drinker which I’m sure contributed to his condition. Although having said that, I know someone who’s about 65 and he’s had a stroke, a heart attack and a triple bypass. He drinks every night and still goes away on trips with the lads drinking copious amounts of alcohol! Go figure!

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  40. Lawro and Merson both go for a 2-0 win for Leicester. That means we will be stuck on 24 points in the Merson prediction table. I would be interested to know where we are in the Lawro prediction table.

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  41. 24 points with 6 games to go is almost certain relegation. Merson yaps about what a good job Rafa is doing and that we are a solid team but he doesn’t back it up with his predictions. It shows where his true biases are and that he has no idea about football management. At the start of the season none of the press or pundits predicted us to go down mainly because of Rafa. They did say we were a championship team which is untrue. Most of our players have PL experience or experience in one of Europe’s other top leagues.

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  42. Stuart79:
    Think we’re on about 8 points, Eric.

    Is that true? I wouldn’t be surpised. Liverpool probably have 110 out of a possible 99. lawro probably awarded them some extra points for Artistic Impression like in Ice Skating which I have heard is his favourite sport, the big Puff.

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  43. Sorry, I meant Ponce. I am not at all homophobic. That word was used so often in my youth it just comes out sometimes. I know it is probably inappropriate nowadays.

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  44. Dictionary definition of Ponce = an effeminate man. I think that describes the man with a tan quite well but I am not going to think about it too much.

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