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@tfMich w o ll o F in t r a hael M

It’s been a peculiar summer. The season gone ended with Ashley making an “every last penny” pledge to Rafa and the support in terms of the monies available to improve the squad for our return to the Premier League! Then – this fanzine has known Rafa has been extremely unhappy at the club’s failure to seal deals he wanted done and get them done quick. We also know there are players who have been signed who might not be Rafa’s first choices. To coin and expression “this isn’t what it said in the brochure!” Frankly, we can’t believe a word Ashley says and the sooner he is gone the better. I’m writing this a week before the season starts and the mood music about the striking talent we need to recruit for the season isn’t great. What we’ve learned is Rafa will need to see several players leave the club before new ones can arrive. I think we are talking about tf 56

Saviet, Riviere, Krul, Haidara and possibly Mitrovic and De Jong being the players Benitez wants to be rid. As we have learnt from collapsed moves involving Riviere to Lyon, Haidara to St Etienne and De Jong to PSV is the money those players are on is unable to be matched by the buying clubs, though they are low by PL standards. This ultimately means United have conned themselves into believing they have been getting value in foreign markets whilst in reality it means they have been buying second and third rate players and making them unsaleable. This has been the folly of the whole model Ashley implemented with CarrCharnley and it is Benitez who has to pick up the pieces. Even Ashley has to understand however that if we can’t score goals we’ll be in trouble.

Hopefully Dwight Gayle’s ham-string will be well looked after this season. Along with our new editor (Alex Hurst) I was privileged enough to meet Rafa on several occasions last season. I can’t tell you how enriching the experience was to share hours of football conversation with one of the foremost coaches in the world – in reality – he spoke and we listened. Repeated in every meeting with Rafa was a plea for supporters to create a positive atmosphere at St James’ Park. We both explained that United has been a very unhappy club for much of Ashley’s time here and that isn’t easy to turnaround. We also told him that most supporters who have watched some good teams and very good players at SJP find it difficult to get up for games with Burton, Rotherham, Bristol and the expectation is we’ll win comfortably – rightly or wrongly. I think it was me who explained to Rafa that

...officials at the club who have agreed to a new singing section at the back of the Gallowgate and we can all expect that to have an impact at the match. Rafa and the lads are going to need every bit of support we can give them.

True faith 132  
True faith 132  

Newcastle United back in the Premier League with Rafa Benitez serenely assembling his squad for the new challenges and receiving every possi...