How Mike Ashley can get away with this latest stunt is ridiculous

Another home defeat for the Toon with another two goals conceded. We had never started a season losing our first four home games in a row, but that stat has well and truly gone. We are in dire straits.

Jamie Vardy converted a softly awarded penalty before Harry Maguire sealed our fate late in the second half, as the England heroes put us to the sword. I don’t even remember the last time we had an England hero, that tells its own story.


Mike Ashley was in the crowd
We had an extra guest in the stadium on Saturday afternoon in the rotund shape of Mike Ashley. The Newcastle Utd owner has had the nerve to show his face at two games in a row now, after he sneaked into watch us at Palace last week. 

How 50,000 angry and disillusioned Geordies can allow this man a) into the stadium, b) tolerate him sat there with his mates with a fat clueless grin on his face and c) let him get back out the stadium with all of his limbs still attached is completely beyond me.

This man is overseeing Rafa Benitez walking away to a top job somewhere else and this football club going back down to the Championship for which it may not return for a very long time. We are in crisis mode and all the fans can do is sing “stand up if you hate Ashley”.

This lad is not a comic book villain you love to hate. This man is killing this football club and needs to be removed asap. Don’t sing songs about him. I won’t go into details, but the fans job is to make this man know under no uncertain circumstances that it’s time to cut and run. Now.

Long hard season
Last seasons 10th place finish looks like an absolute miracle compared to this year. We have similar players but look a shadow of the side that managed to beat Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal. We are without doubt one of the three worst teams in the league.

I can’t see how we can win any match at the moment. We can’t score goals and unlike last season, we can’t keep them out either. What makes it 10 times worse is we are looking elsewhere at Mitrovic banging them in for fun and Dwight Gayle helping West Brom storm the Championship. 

These two strikers were part of our team that helped us get in the PL and Gayle especially, helped us stay there. Yet some genius thought it was a better idea to have Rondon and Muto instead. Absolutely ridiculous.

Rondon doesn’t have a decent record at PL level and Muto was an average forward in the Bundesliga. Whereas Dwight Gayle may not be the PL best striker himself, but at least we know what we are getting when he is in the line-up. We are desperate for goals and don’t look like getting any soon.

January business
Looking back at our 10 years of Ashley, the only time he lets the club spend money in January is when it looks like it might be relegated. A couple of years ago when we did go down, we made a desperate attempt to prevent it by bringing in Shelvey, Townsend and Saivet. It was too little too late.

A few years before this we went on a booze cruise across the channel and brought in five French players all in one go. We managed to stay up that year and baguette sales went through the roof. This year I suspect something similar might happen. 

Partly because its obvious we need players, and secondly because Rafa will demand it like he has never demanded it before. If he doesn’t get it, there will be massive trouble.


Mike Ashley is a small-time, cheap, unambitious, pig-headed, clueless, stubborn fool

Mike Ashley has done a lot of things at Newcastle. Most of it inconceivable to a Newcastle fan. But his latest venture in making Rafa Benitez' time on Tyneside untenable tops the lot.

The question is why is he doing what he is doing? Why is he blatantly refusing to support him and not making every effort to keep him here for years to come?

Some say it's perhaps there is a possible sale of the club in the offing so for him to spend any money isn't in his interest, nor is the future of the club. This is wide of the mark IMO. 

Others say it's because he refuses to allow a manager with one year left on his contract to spend money on players and then leave at the end of the year, which would then leave a scenario of a new manager wanting his own players. This is closer to the mark IMO.

But even this doesn't really make sense as the ONLY way Rafa would sign a new deal is if the club back him. Not the other way round that Ashley wants it. If you sign a deal, then we will spend...promise. Despite our diabolical record of doing so. Rafa is not so stupid to lock himself into a no-win situation, again.

Mike Ashley is a stubborn clueless fool who only plays by his own rules based on the fact it has served him well in creating the UK's biggest sports retailer, so in his head, why change?

Well isn't it obvious why you should change? If you have the record Ashley has over the past 10 years as NUFC owner, whatever mindset you had must be torn up and start again, This should have been done years ago, never mind now.

If you have been making terrible mistakes and nonsense decisions time & time & time again, then at some point you basically give up trying to make decisions and let someone else do it.

That person should be Rafa Benitez. Ashley has a hard time trusting people. He tends to trust morons and con artists like Llambias, Jimenez, Kinnear, Wise etc. Which says a lot about his character.

Ashley should be feeding off Rafa and listening to his plans and be helping him build his project. The man clearly knows what he is doing. It's obvious. Look at his career!

But no. Ashley refuses to be playing second fiddle to some Spanish manager who thinks he's special. It's his club so he calls the shots. Total ego-maniac moron. The lack of ambition inside the walls of the boardroom is frightening. Terrifying in fact.

Imagine having a manager whose last job was Real Madrid and has the trophies he has on his CV and not trust him to make signings when we were in the Championship not long ago?

Imagine not allowing him to do what he wants to do? Unthinkable to anyone with a brain. Or to anyone with true ambition. Charnley, Bishop and Barnes are not fit for purpose.

All men hired by Ashley are idiots and con men. This massive stain on Ashley's character is the biggest issue NUFC have had and continued to have. We never have the right men in place where it counts.

We have a thoroughbred horse of a manager in the stable but his keeper doesn't know how or even want to feed him and his trainer can't be bothered to keep him fit. His owner nowhere to be seen and deprives him of what he needs. So will he fulfil his potential? Of course not.

Newcastle need a new owner. Once they do this will bring a new chairman, CEO etc and finally the manager can be able to do his job. There is only one way this happens and it's if Ashley sells up.

Two things can create a sale. Someone comes along from no where and pays a fee Ashley can't refuse or Ashley lowers his price and looks for a sale himself.

The fans have a job to force Ashley's hand. A half empty stadium speaks volumes. Disrupt his Sports Direct stores, this will also send a message to him "directly". The fans must try to force Ashley to sell as a random billionaire coming along has much chance of a Euromillions win for you or me.

The fans must do their part. To continue to just fill out the stadium and carry on regardless will do nothing. Rafa will leave in the summer and Ashley will remain to do whatever he wants.

Ashley is a small time, cheap, unambitious, pig-headed, clueless, stubborn fool. He must be removed for Newcastle to ever reach its potential. This is a fact.

The Ginger Pirlo

Newcastle accused of signing Asian players for purely commercial reasons.

Newcastle Utd are set to sign their second Asian player in a matter of weeks with Yoshinori Muto on his way to Tyneside from Japan to complete his medical. This follows the free transfer of Ki Sung-Yeung from Swansea.

This raises some questions of what is the sudden interest in Asian players, considering that before these signings Newcastle had never had an Asian player in their history? Ever.

Now I am not saying these aren't good players and won't do well for us. They might. However, if you take a look at our new shirt I think the main answer is staring us in the face.

As of last season, NUFC gained a new shirt sponsor from the awful Wonga debacle to the new and 'funky' Fun88bet.com who are an Asian online betting company. So I don't think it really requires an investigation from Sherlock to work out where I sudden interest in Asian players has come from.

Now, I am not saying investing in Asian players to make moves into the Asian market is a bad thing, in fact I have been asking why Newcastle haven't done this in the past as it's easy money to be made with the right player on the books.

However, given our massive restraints in signing football players, especially ones that Rafa Benitez wants, if we are in anyway signing footballers for mainly commercial reasons to appease our main sponsor, then more serious questions need to be asked of this Ashley establishment.

I personally have analysed Bundesliga matches for two seasons as part of my job as a performance analyst and I can sum up what I have seen of Muto as; he is ok. Nothing special. So, to spend just under £10 million on him would be a massive punt on our part.

If Muto ends up being our only investment in the forward line come the start of the season then Lee Charnley deserves to be hauled up in front of parliament never mind a petition. Muto at best will serve as competition for Ayoze Perez in the no.10 position. He is not a prolific goalscorer by any stretch.

I am still of the belief that once Mitrovic is sold to Fulham we will bring in a No.9, most likely Rondon from West Brom but I will put nothing past our administration in leaving any sale until deadline day and we end up with no replacement.

However, sticking on point, Fun88 bet will be extremely happy with our two Asian signings and no doubt they will both be front and centre of all our commercial campaigns this season as they promote the bright blue Fun88 logo with pride.

It just so happens Keisuke Honda is available on a free transfer and reminded everyone of his quality in the World Cup so don't be surprised if Charnley has made an enquiry to his agent.

I am just surprised he hasn't brought in Southampton's Maya Yoshida instead of Fabian Schar...

All hail Fun88.com. Bet now!

We need a campaign to finally get rid of Ashley #DontTakeYourSeat #DontBuyTheShirt

Newcastle Utd are at a crossroads.

Ashley and Rafa have drawn their line in the sand on how this football club moves forward.



On the side are the fans, they have a choice and must make a decision on which side of the line they want to be on.

Ashley side of the line is to carry on regardless, filling out the stadium and accepting lack of investment in the team.

Rafa's side is to make a stand against this nonsense and refuse to accept it. This choice is the most obvious, however, is the most difficult to make. As it would require some harsh actions...

Ashley's side of just carrying on regardless in this mindless fashion of sitting motionless in back seat of a car as it rolls down a hill towards the edge of a cliff is pathetic.



Two things are set in stone in the current climate. Rafa Benitez WILL leave in the current state of play at the end of the season and there WILL be anger and uproar when it happens.

So my question is very straightforward. If we know both these things WILL happen, why wait? Why are 50,000 people buying the new shirt, filling out the stadium and waiting for inevitable?

What are they mindless, cowardly sheep?

I have witnessed and lived through every situation under Ashley in the past 10 years but I have to say this latest one is showing badly on the fans more than him.

We all know what Ashley is by now. A cheap, ignorant and unfathomable moron when it comes to his understanding of running a football club. He doesn't know what he is doing.

He only understands a handful of things. A premier league team, with passionate supporters filling out a 53,000 seater stadium with his Sports Direct banners all over it promotes his baby.

That is it. That's why he is here.

So fans must realise that they have it in their power to get rid of him? Surely?



If you want rid of Ashley then don't fill out the stadium. It's that simple. An empty stadium on a Premier League level embarrasses him. It embarrasses the logos surrounding the empty seats.

This embarrassment is the only message that will get through to him. Bed sheets spray painted with small cliche messages don't get through to him. He laughs at you. You know why? Because you paid him the privilege of getting into the stadium and paying for your seat.

The situation of Mike Ashley vs The People of Newcastle has come to a head now. It must be resolved. The fans have a direct choice.

Continue to fill out the stadium, sell out the £65 new kit and try to enjoy Rafa Benitez last season as manager.

Or

Kick up a fuss and refuse to take your seat or buy the new kit and make Ashley realise once and for all what he needs to do. He needs to go.

Once Ashley enters serious and genuine negotiations to sell the club, then the Toon Army can flock back into the stadium to support Rafa and his boys.

It's short-term pain for long-term gain.



Newcastle fans have the power in their hands to end this nonsense and save the club from inevitable doom.

The only way forward is with Rafa. The only way to keep Rafa is if Ashley goes. The only way Ashley will go is if the one thing keeping him here is killed. That one thing is passionate match day support to a worldwide audience that actively promotes his sweatshop.

Once he goes, the new owner will invest in the team and in Rafa and we will be free to reach our potential.

If he stays, Rafa will leave, some average manager will come in and we will go round the same old wheel of misfortune all over again.

It's your choice lads and lasses. Make it.

#DontTakeYourSeats #DontBuyTheShirt

Ginger Pirlo (I've not stepped foot in St James nor bought a kit for 10 years now. It really isn't that hard knowing it's for the greater good)

Why Rafa Benitez taking the Spain national job makes sense.



Fernando Hierro has left the Spanish football federation and with it leaves the Spain job open for a new manager and beginning.

Rafa Benitez name has been linked and dismissed by many as nothing but paper talk. However, when you consider it logically, it makes sense.

Spain have been horrendous in the last two World Cups since becoming champions of the world in 2010. Dumped out in the group stage in 2014 and embarrassingly losing to Russia in 2018.

Defensively they were shocking and in attack they were several lacking in cutting edge as they pass, pass, passed the ball around side to side seemingly for the sheer sake of it.

Their midfield maestro's of Xavi and Iniesta are now gone and Cesc Fabregas won't be around come the next World Cup and wasn't even picked in the squad for Russia.

What Spain need is a new generation and with it a new style. Tiki-taka looks like yesterday's style and boringly out of date. They also don't have the right players to do it.

When you have Diego Costa up front then passing the ball around for fun is not going to get the best out of him. Going slightly more direct is just what the doctor ordered.

They have young players like Asensio who is full of pace and full of running. Iago Aspas is in a similar mould. They need a manager who will carry the transition from purely possession based football to effective football. Rafa Benitez could be the perfect fit.

He will build their team from back to front and make sure they are defensively sound first and foremost. He will also pick and develop the players that will do the best job to do the end goal; win.

Rafa also has an incredible record in cup tournaments. Champions League, UEFA Cup, FA Cup & Italian Cup are on his CV. He knows how to win. Plus he is obviously one other thing. Spanish.

Not just Spanish but a boy from Madrid who would be nothing but proud to take control of his country. He cried tears of joy when appointed Real Madrid manager. He would do the same as Spanish national coach.

As a Toon fan, I clearly don't want it to happen right now as he has a job to do building my club into something special. But if Mike Ashley messes him around over the next few weeks of the transfer window, it could be an offer to good to turn down.

Let's hope Spain don't ask....

Mitro is on fire and making Rafa look ridiculous

Just a word on the Mitrovic situation.

Mitro has not been given one league start all season. The one game he did start was in the League cup and scored. He mugged off Joe Hart in a Premier League game whilst scoring, elbowed someone and seemed shunned for it.

On fire
His (basically) replacement Joselu has been nothing short of terrible in front of goal this season. He had a 7 game spell where he started each game but scored in none of them. Yet Mitro was not brought in to end this nonsense.

Joselu has only 4 goals to his name in 20 appearances. One of those goals was the ridiculous ricochet against Liverpool and two were open goals. Mitro was only two goals behind despite no starts and a handful of appearances which were mainly 10 to 20-minute spell at the end of games.

Mitrovic has gone to Fulham on loan and has already bagged 5 in 4 games. He is actually Newcastle Utd's top scorer with 7 goals...

Sheff Utd boss said the following after he tore their defence apart, "Mitro is too good for the Championship and should be playing for Newcastle. He is a £15m Premier League striker who is going to the World Cup."

Whereas Joselu hasn't started any of Newcastle's last four games or had many minutes off the bench since ironically the 31st January, deadline day, where he missed a penalty and missed a massive chance against Burnley to seal all three points. We ended up dropping two points that day.

Rafa Benitez may be a lot of things. He may have a lot of trophies. But if Newcastle Utd are relegated this season by a point or two, than Rafa Benitez will be 100% responsible. 100%.

I want to make it this perfectly clear so everyone understands this. 

It won't be Ashley's fault. It won't be Lee Charnley. It won't be Amanda Staveley. It will be Rafa's. Ashley gave Rafa a shorthand this season, no doubt about it. Rafa moaned every week at the lack of quality to choose from and rightly so.

Useless
However, he has refused to select arguably our best all-round striker for the entire campaign, who no doubt would have scored and created more goals than Joselu and would have put more points on the board to have kept this club up.

Make no mistake about it. Don't be confused. This is pretty much a cast iron fact
when you look at the young Serbian tearing up the Championship and dragging his country to the World Cup.

Rafa Benitez hasn't properly explained his decision as to why he has made our clubs job a whole lot harder in trying to stay in this league. Quotes of 'not working hard enough in training' or 'he doesn't fit tactically' are weak explanations to say the least.

Especially when you consider just how dire Joselu was and still is with his
supposed extra ability to run more in training and tactical efficiency. Plus speaking of tactics, I could go on about how Rafa's over-cautious approach in home games has also cost us this season but that's for another day.

Bye and good luck

If we go down. Rafa will walk off into the sunset to a top job and restart a project for himself somewhere else, whereas it will be the Newcastle fans who are left to pick up and deal with the unimaginable sh**house he left behind.

Explaining himself isn't even the start of it.

Mitro's on fire and Newcastle don't have a pot to p**s in. Work that one out. And people say beggars can't be choosers.

@ToonBano

Weird Transfer XI - Some shockers in here!

There have been some weird transfers over the years. Some that just didn't make sense at the time and seem even worse when you look back. Here are some that stick in my mind: 

GK: Edwin Van Der Sar - Juve to Fulham.

The whole thing was just weird. Clearly too good for them. Eventually made his move to Man U and won it all. What's unreal is he was at Fulham for FOUR years. What a total waste of time.

RB: Mat Debuchy - Newcastle to Arsenal.

May not seem that weird but as a Newcastle fan, we couldn't believe Arsene Wenger paid us twice as much as we did for him, to take him off our hands. He's done nothing at Arsenal and none of us are surprised. Weird.

(I also have to mention Julian Faubert from West Ham to Real Madrid on loan. Very strange one)

CB: Laurent Blanc - Inter to Man Utd.

Seriously this one was weird for the entire time he was there. He was clearly too old and contributed to Fergie's worst ever season in the Premier League. So ridiculous. 

CB: David Luiz - PSG to Chelsea.

This one was weird right? No-one could understand it. He then helped them win the league. So weird. He's now not in the team. Not so weird.

LB: Mikael Silvestre - Man Utd to Arsenal.

I found this one just very strange. I couldn't get my head around it. Fergie never sells to a rival, so he must have been past it, but he wasn't that bad, which made it all just weird.

CM: Thomas Gravesen - Everton to Real Madrid.

Has there ever been a weirder permanent transfer? He actually played as well. Twilight zone.

CM: Edgar Davids - rocks up at Barnet.

This wasn't a transfer and he was player-manager (kind of) but come on. Edgar Davids playing for Barnet? Weirdo.

CM: Ivan Campo - Real Madrid to Bolton.

I could have put Fernando Hierro in this team or even Djorkaeff but Campo was still in his prime and had only recently stopped polishing his Champions League medal. He would spend six years at Bolton. Six.

FW: Nicolas Anelka - Fenerbahce to Bolton.

PSG, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Man City, Fenerbahce, Bolton, Chelsea, wait what? If Anelka were to go for a job interview, he would need to explain the gap in his CV for that 2-year spell at Bolton Wanderers. How? Why?

FW: George Weah - Milan to Chelsea.

This was just weird. It's like it never happened but it did and I for one can't forget it. George Weah was a mirage, a mysterious idol to be watched only on Football Italia, winning World player of the year. Not struggling to play up front with Chris Sutton. No. No. No.

FW: Ian Rush & John Barnes - Leeds & Liverpool to Newcastle.

First off, these are two players so technically makes my XI a 12 man team. However, they came at the same time and given their ability at their respective ages, they just about make up one players worth.

As a Toon fan, I watched Kevin Keegan sign Ferdinand & Ginola in 1995 and almost won us the league. I then saw Kenny Dalglish sell them both in 1997 & replace them with over the hill Ian Rush & John Barnes. What? I know they say 'sign what you know' but this destroyed our team and put the club back for years. Perhaps forever. Why Kenny? Why? Utter nonsense.

Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano

Mike Ashley: Lies, Damned Lies And Spending Statistics

Now that the January window has slammed shut. Let's take a look at how much clubs spent on their squad and also net spend, for the season as a whole.

Newcastle Utd are the second lowest spenders with only £36 million being spent on permanent transfers. Only Bournemouth have spent less with £30 million.

Now, you could put the Cherries spend into context, in that they sold nobody and gave Defoe a massive contract & signing on fees for his 'free' transfer, so could be seen as more than £30m, but there we are.

If you look at Net spend (everyone's fave) then there are 6 clubs below Newcastle in the "table" who themselves had a net spend of a putrid £11m.

They are Liverpool, West Ham, Burnley, Arsenal, Swansea and Southampton. Now, let's look into that for all of two seconds.

Coutinho £146m, Ayew £18m, Michael Keane £30m, Oxlade-Chamberlain £35m, Sigurdsson £45m and Van Dijk £75m.


Each of those clubs had at least one major sale which drove down their net spend massively. Some had more than one.

Whereas Newcastle didn't. They sold their prized assets last season after relegation. The only option they had this year was to spend.

To put this into some context, if you look at fellow promoted teams in Brighton & Huddersfield who also have no prizes assets to sell.

They spent £57m & £49m respectively, with total net spends of £57m & £43.5m. This places them 5th and 8th in the net spend table.

This is where you would expect them to be given their lack of selling power. Brighton sold nobody for eg.



All of this means one thing. Mike Ashley has drastically under-funded his business that he is supposedly looking to sell.

To the point that if NUFC were to go down, it will be worth half as much and he will have cost himself millions.

He will also be unable to receive the total amount he has invested in his time at the club. Around £250m. So he will have lost money if and when he sells.

In the last two occasions that NUFC have gone down, he has been obliged to pump in his own money into the club to keep it running. The only time he has ever spent something himself.

"Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has loaned the club £33m to help it cope with the effects of relegation. ... The £33m loan has been made available through St James Holdings Ltd" - The Chronicle, 6th Jan 2017 

So even if he doesn't sell, he will cost himself millions by needing to spend to keep it running and there is no guarantee the club will bounce back up.

So to conclude, not only will relegation mean the business he is trying to sell will be worth half as much than if it were in the Premier League, but it will cost him a fortune to keep it running...again.

People say Mike Ashley is a sound businessman. They base this totally on his supposed wealth and Sports Direct.

When it comes to running a football club, he is arguably the dumbest owner in football history.

At least when other idiots make mistakes, they sell up and leave. The bloke has been here for 11 years!!!



He has learned nothing over that time. Nothing. What kind of a moron would act the way he acts over and over again? How dumb can you be?

He said if he couldn't find a buyer before Christmas he would invest in January, he lied. He spent nothing.

He said he turned PCP's £250m offer for the club down because he has other people willing to pay the £350m. He lied, he doesn't.

The man is a compulsive liar and has been proved to be so in court when Keegan took him to trial.

Yet, amongst all of this, his chosen mouthpiece in Sky still hire people like Craig Bellamy, Simon Jordan and Dennis Wise, plus others, to tell the viewing nation he has done a great job and that they really like him.

It's a disgrace that this man isn't known throughout the world of football for exactly what he is. A liar and a terrible football club owner. One of the worst, if not THE worst in history.

Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano

The shocking truth behind Newcastle's failure on Kenedy deal. It's totally unacceptable...

Charnley

As a Newcastle fan, it is obvious our window was beyond a joke built up of lies and misery. However, I just want to make clear to everyone how either incompetent our administration is or how scumbaggery they are towards our official 'UEFA Elite Coach' Rafa Benitez. Or perhaps they are both.

We had in place a deal for Chelsea left back Kenedy sorted TWO WEEKS AGO but it could only be finalised once Chelsea brought in a first team wing back themselves. Fine.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was their first choice but that fell through on Deadline Day morning as he joined Liverpool. So, my amazing club concluded that the Kenedy deal was off.
Now, this is where some serious explaining needs to happen, as at 2.30pm Chelsea agreed a fee for Zappacosta in light of missing out on the Ox. The whole football world knew this as the fact he had Costa in his name brought great attention. So, the Kenedy deal to NUFC is back on right? Apparently no.

Despite there being a good eight hours or so for Newcastle to get in contact with Chelsea and sort out arrangements for Kenedy making his way to the North East in anticipation of the Zappacosta signing, which in turn we could confirm Kenedy...Newcastle Utd announced at 7 pm that they had shut up shop with no more business for the day.

Are you having a laugh?
Rafa Benitez has woke up this morning to a first team that is minus a left back. A left back that he had lined up a fortnight ago. Chelsea have their new wing back in place to make the deal happen, so why don't we have it sorted?

Where is Kenedy? Why was he not on Tyneside when the news broke at 2pm on Deadline Day that Chelsea were signing the wing-back they needed? Why was the Kenedy loan deal not completed, literally, a minute after the Zappacosta deal?



This isn't due to time restraints as Zappacosta was in place many, many hours before the window was due to shut. If the Zappacosta deal somehow fell through, then Kenedy would too. That's fine.

But to not have Kenedy at the training ground last night with his medical done and dusted and the deal at that point just being a case of waiting for the nod from Chelsea after they confirm Zappacosta, is totally unforgivable for its senseless incompetence.
Newcastle Utd is ran by con men who should be nowhere near the positions they hold. A 15-year-old boy addicted to Football Manager could conduct transfer activity better than them. Or maybe it's down to they just don't WANT to bring any players in. That means spending money. Which we all know Premier League clubs don't have right....?

So in which case...what are you doing here? Get out of my club. What possible enjoyment do Ashley and his administration get out of it? Name me one thing? Shambles. This Kenedy deal may seem not like a big deal, but it could be the straw that broke the camels back.

If Rafa walks, everybody else should too. Fans first, then Ashley will follow. It's the only way to get rid of him. He isn't interested in owning a club with an empty stadium. He will sell and we can finally move on.

Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano

Is it actually Rafa to blame for Newcastle's poor start?!


My thoughts on Sunday's game are similar ones to those I have had over the past year watching Rafa Benitez’s team. We lack depth, we lack width and we lack movement off the ball whilst in possession. Pretty much the absolute basics of attacking play. Rafa may (rightfully) moan about missing out on specific transfer targets earlier in the window but this does not explain his needlessly negative strategy, line-ups and substitutions.

Before I go off on a possible rant I would like to make one thing perfectly clear, we are not a bad team. Don’t buy into the mainstream football media’s avalanche of misery they insist on piling onto our club whenever things don’t seem 100% right from the outside looking in. We were not outplayed by Huddersfield, much like we weren’t outplayed by Spurs last week when 11v11, and apart from their goal, the newly-promoted side hardly made a dent in terms of hurting our back line.

Out of both sides, it was us that had the biggest chance of the game when Ayoze Perez blasted over when completely unmarked from about 8 yards out. Substitutes Joselu & Murphy had opportunities to have a clear shot on goal but failed to make the most of them. Out of both goalkeepers, it was Huddersfield’s Jossl that had to pull off a fingertip save to keep out Ritchie’s effort in the first half. If that chance, or any of these chances, go in then it’s a different game and likely different result.


Now that the positives are out of the way, yes, they were positives honest, there is a big elephant in everyone’s room on Tyneside that nobody wants or is prepared to talk about. Some refuse to even acknowledge its very existence under any circumstances mainly due to bigger worries and concerns. However, at some stage, this has to be discussed and looked at. At some point, we need to talk about Rafa.

Amongst all the lack of transfers stuff & the Mike Ashley stuff and whatever other stuff fans want to talk or moan about, there has been one massively concerning issue that has been staring us all in the face over the past year. Rafa Benitez’s overly cautious and needlessly negative approach to our games. More specifically his tactics and use of the personnel he has at his disposal. Do we lack some quality? Yes. Do we have any quality? Yes. Is that quality being used in its capacity? No.

How we managed to win the Championship was quite remarkable to be perfectly honest. You can count on one hand the amount of games where we actually looked impressive and destroyed teams that were below our level. No one can say our Championship season wasn’t one hell of a long struggle. Some say, ‘well that’s the Championship’, maybe.

The more accurate thing to say however, is that we caused our own frustrations by not going about our business on the pitch anywhere near as positively and ambitiously as we should have. Wingers dropping deep and always coming short. Full backs chained to the halfway line and unable to get forward. Both centre midfielders dropping deep right in front of our centre-backs. It’s needless and it’s wrong.

Against Huddersfield these demons in Rafa’s philosophy raised their ugly head once again. 99% will put this down to ‘lack of quality’ or ‘they need more players’. I am telling you now, even with new and/or better players that won’t dispel the demons. The football club needs to change its philosophy when it comes to being cheap in the transfer market. But Rafa also needs to change his philosophy with the players he has. Neither are good enough at the moment.

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Transfer requests are a scam - they're tactics used by clubs. Here's why:


We live in an age where players look to demand transfers and force their way out of their current football club to go to another, as player power rules all and contracts aren't worth the paper they are written on. They do this by issuing a transfer request to the shock and dismay of their club. Right?

Wrong. On most occasions transfer requests don't come from the player, they are instigated either directly or indirectly by the player's club for a couple of reasons. The main one being when a player signs a contract with a club they (somehow) have a 'loyalty bonus' within that which is paid out to them if they were to leave the club before the contract expires. Mental, I know.


Now for a club to get out of paying such 'loyalty bonus' the player himself needs to show a distinct lack of 'loyalty' by doing something like issuing a transfer request to enforce a transfer away from the club. Once this is in place the club don't have to pay him squat in any 'loyalty bonus' and save themselves millions of pounds.

The other reason a club will want their superstar, or not, player to hand in an official transfer request is accountability. We all here fans & pundits criticise their clubs when they sell a big player as they wanted them to stay.

Remember Liverpool making a huge mistake selling Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid? Fans and experts alike will still tell you today that it was. The fact is, the only mistake Liverpool made was to not get Xabi Alonso to make his desire to join Madrid public and officially request a transfer. If they had, then this myth that Alonso had any remote chance of staying at Anfield wouldn't exist.


We sit here as I type with Philippe Coutinho and Virgil Van Dyke wanting to move to bigger football clubs but both of their respective clubs have issued unwavering statements categorically stating 'he ain't leaving, no matter what'. Since both statements were released to the media, sure enough, the player's agent have released their own 'statement' of sorts with official transfer requests.

Now, if and when Coutinho and Van Dijk make their moves before 1st September, not only will Liverpool and Southampton have made an eye-watering amount of transfer money, they will have saved a few million by not having to pay the player his 'loyalty bonus and also NOBODY can criticise the club for not trying to keep the player. It seems to be a win-win for everyone involved, although that isn't necessarily true.


The party which will have a cloud hanging over them will be the player. Liverpool fans are already burning their Coutinho shirts as we speak and Southampton fans will never name their child Virgil if they were for some reason thinking about it. Plus, they also miss out on a few million of a loyalty bonus but the dent in reputation will hurt more than in their hefty pockets.

Have a look at the criticism Chelsea have received by selling Nemanja Matic to Man Utd and the constant questions Antonio Conte has to answer for his clubs 'strange' behaviour. The fact is, Matic wanted to work with Jose Mourinho and Chelsea had already replaced Matic with a younger player in Bakayoko weeks previous.

Now if Matic had handed in an official transfer request, would Chelsea be receiving any criticism? Doubtful. Would Conte be needing to defend his clubs actions in selling Matic to a rival? No. With all this in mind, it makes you actually wonder why the club didn't go down the tactical transfer route to save them the trouble. Perhaps they did but the player refused.

Gary Neville has questioned Chelsea's decision to allow midfielder Nemanja Matic to join title rivals Manchester United this summer. The Premier League champions sanctioned the Serbia international's departure to Old Trafford in July for a fee of £40m. However, the Sky Sports pundit has labelled the sale "strange", especially given the role Matic played in helping the Blues win the Premier League last season.

Football is a dirty business at times. We all know that player power rules football. But the factor of an official transfer request before any deals go through actually puts the club in a very controlling position.

They can sell a player, potentially destroy his reputation (at least with its own fans) and keep their own reputation intact by avoiding any potential criticism for lack of ambition or being a sell-out.
The player issuing a transfer request gives them 'no choice' at the end of the day. No responsibility.

In some instances, like the Andy Carroll £35million transfer from Newcastle to Liverpool in 2011, the club rang Carroll up as he was already on his way to sign for Liverpool (in Mike Ashley's private helicopter!) requesting that he handed in a transfer request otherwise the deal was off!

Carroll didn't have much choice and did as he was asked which saved Newcastle a couple of million quid by avoiding paying his loyalty bonus but at the same time destroyed the local lad's reputation with some Geordies that will never be fixed.

So the next time you see a player hand in a transfer request ask yourself why? Is it him throwing his toys out the pram and demanding a move or is the club forcing it upon him?

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VIDEO INTERVIEW: Rafa Benitez confirms he is "not happy" at Newcastle

It's Premier League launch day and one of the several guests in attendance is our very own 'special one' Rafa Benitez. As the standard procedure, he has taken part in several interviews for the likes of Sky, BT Sport, BBC & TalkSport with the main talking point being the seeming lack of spending and investment in the squad over the summer.

Rafa seems more than happy to talk about it and hasn't held back in what he thinks. On Sky Sports this morning he blatantly made his stance be known to the world by categorically confirming he is "not happy" with Newcastle's transfer business thus far and hopes to bring players in over the coming weeks. Watch the interview by clicking on the below:


Rafa is a very political manager who uses threats and concerns through the media in order to strengthen his own hand with certain issues he has with his club, usually transfer business, and has done this throughout his career.

How his latest comments will go down with the club executive Lee Charnley and owner Mike Ashley no one knows for sure. Will it inspire Charnley to get his finger out? Or put his back up? We will find out in due course but one thing is for sure, Rafa is not happy with his current squad and wants the whole world to know that 'fact'.

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Keiran Gibbs set on joining Newcastle after FA Cup Final omission

Arsenal have signed left-back Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer for next season and with Nacho Monreal first-choice, Kieran Gibbs' days are numbered at the Emirates.

The Englishman has been plagued by injuries his whole career and was reported as injured, then ill, before the FA Cup final but was angered after not being told about his omission from the squad by Arsene Wenger.

So Gibbs is set to leave Arsenal in the summer after a massive 10 years since making his debut for the North London club, with Newcastle his most likely destination. A fee of around £6 million should be enough to bring him to Tyneside and would be a much-welcomed addition to take over the left-back duties from Paul Dummett.

The semi-retired Welsh international Geordie wizard just isn't up to scratch for the Premier League. He was decent in the important games during our Championship campaign, with keeping Brighton's 'Championship Player of the Year' Anthony Knockaert quiet being the highlight, but he still showed on countless occasions his lack of positional sense, total reluctance to ever get forward and still has a massive mistake waiting to happen in his locker.

Gibbs is an experienced 27-year-old with a point to prove, given he has never quite made the most of his potential. If he can stay injury free, then he will be as solid a left-back as we could ever hope to bring in for a reasonable fee.

Watch this space.

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