We’ve all got our opinions on Newcastle United, but there’s some ‘unpopular’ beliefs that are whispered quietly on social media or inside St James’ Park.
Here, we plan to share a series of ‘unpopular NUFC opinions’ over the coming weeks and create new debates along the way, with us encouraging anyone reading this to share their own in the comments section below.
First up, here’s our first three – featuring Rafa Benitez, Fabricio Coloccini and Graham Carr:
1. Rafa Benitez
He made an awful lot of bizarre signings during his time at Newcastle United.
To make it clear, Benitez had to work on a shoe-string budget under Ashley and was so often forced to sign players ‘down the list’ or search for a bargain, but some of his buys were wasteful to put it mildly.
- Jacob Murphy (£10m)
- Yoshinori Muto (£9m)
- Matz Sels (£5m)
- Joselu (£5m)
- Grant Hanley (£5m)
- Achraf Lazaar (£3m)
- Jesus Gamez (Free)
A lot of money spent (almost £40m) on players who not only never seemed good enough, but barely got a chance after being brought in by the Spaniard.
Rafa made several outstanding signings and Mike Ashley’s decision not to back him was unforgivable, but he must’ve been scratching his head with a few. There wasn’t much in between..
2. Fabricio Coloccini
Under-appreciated by some and remembered by too many for the wrong reasons.
Many look back on the curly-haired Argentinian with fond memories, but it always surprises me just how many choose to remember his late decline and wish to return to Argentina – not the fact he was one of the best CB’s this club has ever seen and arguably the Premier League’s best during that 2011/12 season.
I also believe he would’ve taken his game to the next level under a better manager (imagine him in a Rafa Benitez defence?!), with him doing well to impress given he often operated in an exposed four-man defence alongside several shocking centre-backs!
3. Graham Carr
He would’ve been seen as an absolute genius had Mike Ashley pursued several of his top targets instead of penny pinching!
The former NUFC scout didn’t cover himself in glory at times, with some of his Ligue 1 buys being huge flops (Riviere, Yanga-Mbiwa, Cabella to name a few), but things could’ve been very different.
He may have got a few wrong, but if Ashley had gone the extra mile and spent that bit extra to secure ‘target A’ – not ‘target F’ – we could’ve ended up with the likes of Aubameyang (Saint-Etienne), Lacazette (Lyon), Gameiro (Lorient), Alli (MK Dons), Varane (Lens), Matuidi (Saint-Etienne) and Payet to name a few.
If you hunt for nothing but bargains and go too far down the list of targets, you’re bound to miss out on some gems and end up with some stinkers!