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Will Rafa Walk?
The situation at Newcastle United is never straightforward.

And that has never been more true than at present.

Years and years of underachieving, under-investment and constant high drama. It has become the norm at this basket case of a club.

And yet, things could be so different.

Let’s look at it this way.

One of the biggest club’s in England, with one of the biggest and most passionate fanbases is managed by one of the best managers in the world.

So far, so good.

So we must have a really class side and be finishing in the top six of the Premier League every season, right?


Having just spent a season touring the Championship thanks to yet another unnecessary relegation, we’re back where we belong.

So we must be spending big money buying the top quality players we need to compete in the Premier League again, right?

Wrong again!

As I said at the beginning, nothing at Newcastle United is ever straightforward.

The lack of investment in top quality players in the current transfer window has been a matter of some concern to United fans.

This has been well documented and chewed over all summer long by journalists and fans in the many other media outlets so I won’t go over it again here.

But it is an established fact.

The thing that hasn’t been totally clear so far is what our world class manager thinks of the situation.

Until now, that is.

Quotes from Rafa Benitez have begun to emerge – and they don’t make altogether pleasant or reassuring reading.

Rafa has hinted that the agreement he had with owner Mike Ashley at the end of last season, covering the investment which would be available for team strengthening, hasn’t actually played out the way he expected it to. And that’s putting it politely.

Again, this has been well documented in the media and is actually of no surprise whatsoever to any fans who have endured the Ashley years.

More recently, Rafa has said this:

“When I decided to stay it’s because for me it’s a challenge. For me, I’m not totally happy with what we did but I will try to do my best”

“At the moment I am fully committed … The first thing is to try and be sure we don’t go back to the Championship … I’m very realistic. Let’s be sure we do very well every game and we’re out of the bottom three positions and then see where we go.”

Key words there are highlighted on purpose.

Rafa remains committed “at the moment”. But clearly if the situation doesn’t improve, he’ll be off. It’s just a question of when.

And given his record in management, he won’t be short of job offers.

I think there are only two things that are contributing to him still being here:

– loyalty to the fans

– the potential he can see in the club if it were ever to be managed properly at Board level

He’s committed “at the moment” and is hoping the owner sees sense and “speculates to accumulate”.

Sadly, the longer Ashley and his cronies continue to run our club like a clothes shop, the more likely that Rafa will lose faith, give up and just walk away.

And who would blame him?

They say there is no room for sentiment in football, however I think right now the fans have a lot to thank themselves for, because if we were any other middle of the road club with not particularly loving or vocal fans, Rafa would be long gone.

I honestly thought this summer would be the one where Ashley changed tact and spent some of the money that the club has rightfully earned. Sadly we are a few days away from the season starting and both Rafa and the fans have been lied to once again. There were obvious plans early in the window as Rafa eluded to the players that they missed out on, but every club should have a contingency plan, the question is, where was ours?!

Murphy is the only player I am confident will improve the first team, with the jury very much out on the other players we have signed. Knowing we needed at least half a new first team to stay competitive this season leaves me with no reason to believe we will stay up, other than the fact that we have a better manager than most of the other teams fighting relegation...

... that brings us back to will Rafa walk. I think he will, but I don't think it will be yet. He will give himself some breathing space and see how the start of the season pans out. Should things go pear shaped quickly, I can see Rafa walking long before the January transfer window. Rafa wanted a team that could go to the top 6 or 7 teams and be competitive. That doesn't necessarily mean win, or even take a point, just not be humiliated in the process. Rafa doesn't have a team that can do that, I can see us getting absolutely tonked again by some of the big boys and I have an awful feeling one of those defeats will come this Sunday against Spurs.

As many times as I have tried to give Ashley the benefit of the doubt, and understand we are a business and we can't spend 60 million on one player, I can't get past the fact he has lied to us again. We have the money to buy better than what we have, Ashley just won't give Rafa the money to do so.
I remember his words were "every penny that the club generates" I thought at the time that what he was saying was that Rafa could spend the meagre prize money from a season in the second division and what ever he pulled in through player sales. Sadly that looks to be what is happening. He needs to cull the squad before spending.

Ashley is having a gamble again isn't he? We are weaker up front than 12 months ago having lost Murphy as cover. We have one decent striker who is injury prone and won't play more than 20 games. The other alternative just isn't very good despite his fan club. The lad at Arsenal could make a huge difference but I don't think we'll get him. Lack of firepower will have us in trouble from day 1.

The sad thing is I don't buy in to all the media hype about the best league in the world. Just because you pay £30m for a £2m player doesn't make him any better. I watched PL games last year and most of the teams were fairly gash. With a decent striker I think we could easily finish 9th or 10th.

My prediction is that Rafa will walk September 1st as soon as the window closes.
Ashley =liar
mickey - your last 2 paras are very apposite

even as we are - i dont believe that we have anything to fear in the league - even the top 4-5 teams really arent as good as they think they are.

there isnt a team in the league that i could look at and think that we'd better beware or they'll tear us a new arsehole.

we'll be ok - this really is a league full of sh*t teams.

again ... nothing to fear
Nothing to fear Tatty with a fully fit Gayle. If we lose him two games in we are buggered. Every other position we have capable, if unspectacular options. Two strikers, one of which is a liability isn't very clever.
Great write up Mick I’m sorry though to have to say this but what Ashley says you have to take with a pinch of salt, how many times has he lied to other managers? and put a clause in their redundancy package that they were not allowed to talk to the Media about him or the club not to mention us supporters who have been shafted season on season by this low life.

I feel sorry for Rafa as he has been a breath of fresh air through all the crap we have been made to suffer for the last 11 years however one man can only take so much and the consequences look dire at the moment. I believe Rafa is an honourable man who would see it as a failure if he was to step down because of Ashley’s penny-pinching ways and I don’t for one minute think that Rafa would keep quiet about the goings on in this club.

feck feck feck feck

"Everyones Got To Believe In Something. I Believe Ill Have Another Beer" W C Fields.
That's the thing though, what goings on apart from what we already know can there realistically be? Ashley said there was money available, there isn't. Rafa has said that the transfer targets from the start of the summer have failed to materialise, which they continue to do so. I don't think there is a whole lot of smoke and mirrors anymore like there used to be.

We have an owner who won't spend, even with a world class manager at the helm.

If Rafa goes, then this club is dead until Ashley follows him.

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