Sly digs like this one at Rafa Benitez from a Newcastle United player have to stop

rafa benitez flag gallowgate

As Newcastle fans, we are constantly being told that it is time to forget about Rafa Benitez.

That he is now history and we need to just get on with it and support the new head coach (not manager) and the team etc etc.

However, when Mike Ashley and the club are determined to still push their PR offensive into the season, attacking both Rafa Benitez and the supporters, it kind of undermines that argument.



Neither does it help when the club is so prepared to try and get as many players as possible to make disparaging remarks about Rafa Benitez, as the club try to prop up the latest team boss who should never have been considered for the job.

The latest Newcastle player to have crossed a line, in my opinion is Isaac Hayden (see below) who has said: ‘Under previous managers we have been a lot more defensive and solid but still ended up losing games. We lost tight games when being defensive. But against Arsenal we took the game to them and took a few more gambles. It paid off to an extent. If it wasn’t for good saves from their keeper and our final balls it could have been different.’

Previous managers? Well I’m not sure who all of these managers are, as Hayden was signed by Rafa Benitez and indeed arguably he has still only played under one Newcastle manager, seen as Mike Ashley has once again downgraded the job to head coach, Steve Bruce only having the authority to train and pick the team, with no say on transfers.

As for Sunday’s match, we all want to see positives but don’t try to tell us that this was any great improvement. Newcastle did ok in the first half against a seriously weakened Arsenal team, missing most of their star players, yet Leno didn’t have a serious save to make. Apart from the goal Newcastle did generally defend ok but until after the goal and subs were made, Aubameyang was the sole Arsenal threat and he scored the winner.

Newcastle players who weren’t getting games under Rafa Benitez, it is little wonder they have welcomed the change and it is easy to forget that Isaac Hayden had been totally sidelined with only one Premier League start in seven months (ironically the 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal in September 2018) before injuries got him back into the team in December. Also, when Isaac Hayden was desperate to leave for family reasons and a deal was set up for him to go (reported to be Brighton) it was Rafa Benitez who blocked it because he wasn’t able or allowed to get a suitable replacement.

I like Isaac Hayden and he did really well in the second half of last season but you can’t have it all ways.

After the transfer window ended, he gave a load of positives as to why he had stayed and admitted that his personal circumstances were no longer as big a factor in needing to move south.



However, less than a week before transfer deadline, Isaac Hayden speaking to BBC Newcastle on 3 August 2019 and was asked if he was staying:

“I couldn’t answer that question right now.

“I think it’s deadline day on Thursday, so you know, in football anything can happen.

“I’m not going to stand here and say to you: ‘This is me, I am 100% staying here’…”

“I don’t know what can happen.”

My take on it is, that if a club had come in that Isaac Hayden wanted to go to and who were prepared to pay enough money to satisfy Mike Ashley, then the midfielder would have left.

That doesn’t make him a bad person and who would blame anybody who left the Ashley circus BUT you can’t have it all ways.

The trouble is as well that Newcastle players talking so positively and saying how much better/great things are now under Steve Bruce, compared to before, well it is all meaningless until it is shown on the pitch.

I also get the impression that for some players who have spoken so favourably about the here and now, especially with regard to training, are genuinely enjoying it more BUT that is because Rafa Beniez was such a touch taskmaster and perfectionist, drilling the players so hard and often in what is expected of them. The kind of thing that maybe would have prevented the very poor goal that was conceded on Sunday and the chaos that was on show with so many players not knowing where they should be playing.



As for this negative Rafa and positive Bruce thing, the facts/stats simply say the complete opposite.

Before Sunday, these are the complete Premier League managerial records and as well as Rafa being streets ahead in terms of results, the stats say that his team score a lot more and Steve Bruce’s score far less than even JFK, Pardew, Allardyce and McClaren’s teams have in the top tier. In fact, any strength that the stats do show, is that Bruce’s team defend a bit better than those of the other poor to average former Newcastle managers (not Rafa or KK!).

Plus, when Almiron arrived and Rafa had more of a team that could attack, Newcastle scored 21 goals in the final 13 games, compared to 21 in the first 25 when he had more limited options.

Isaac Hayden speaking to the Shields Gazette:

“Our goalkeeper didn’t really have too many saves to make.

“That is credit to our defence and the way we defended.

“Under previous managers we have been a lot more defensive and solid but still ended up losing games.

“We lost tight games when being defensive.

“But against Arsenal we took the game to them and took a few more gambles.

“It paid off to an extent.

“If it wasn’t for good saves from their keeper and our final balls it could have been different.

“When a new manager comes in it is always difficult for himself and the players.

“But I think the players have taken to him really well.

“They have understood the direction he wants to go in.

“A lot of the players respected Rafa – myself included.

“He was the one who brought me to the club.

“Everyone has respect for him but at the end of the day he chose to move on.

“We now have a new manager.

“As individuals we have to focus on the new era.

“We have exciting new players and it’s a fresh start for everyone.”




The post Sly digs like this one at Rafa Benitez from a Newcastle United player have to stop appeared first on NUFC The Mag.

Isaac Hayden says he could leave Newcastle United this week

Isaac Hayden has been asked if he will still be at St James Park after 5pm on Thursday.

The midfielder’s response was to say ‘I couldn’t answer that question right now’, when speaking to BBC Newcastle.

For family reasons Isaac Hayden has been desperate to leave Newcastle these last three transfer windows but due to the weakness of the squad, hasn’t been allowed to move south to be with his partner and child. His young daughter needing regular follow-up visits after experiencing serious medical problems as a baby.



A transfer to another Premier League club (reported to be Brighton) was even set-up, only for Rafa to have to pull the plug when he was unable to bring in a suitable replacement.

The second half of last season saw Isaac Hayden suddenly look arguably Newcastle’s best outfield player, after looking mediocre at best after promotion, no doubt family worries playing a part.

Newcastle fans have been worried about Hayden and even assumed he would leave this summer. If he was to leave at this late stage then the worry would be that no replacement would be brought in.

Mike Ashley no doubt believing that in Longstaff, Shelvey, Ki, Colback and Saivet there is enough strength there. However, most fans would only see the first three named as Premier League level.

With Steve Bruce seemingly set to play with three central midfielders and five in defence, then Almiron and Joelinton in forward positions, another central midfielder would be essential if Isaac Hayden did end up leaving.

When he (Isaac Hayden) talks about the uncertainty, I’m guessing it all depends on the right offer/club coming in for him at a price that Mike Ashley would accept.



Isaac Hayden speaking to BBC Newcastle and asked if he is staying:

“I couldn’t answer that question right now.

“I think it’s deadline day on Thursday, so you know, in football anything can happen.

“I’m not going to stand here and say to you: ‘This is me, I am 100% staying here’…

“I don’t know what can happen, football is a crazy game…

“But as I have said, I have really enjoyed pre-season.

“I have enjoyed the manager coming in.

“It has been good for me and good for the squad.

“I think especially after the off-season and obviously the uncertainty regarding Rafa Benitez.

“I think with Steve (Bruce) and his staff coming in – because it is not just Steve, his two staff, Clem (Stephen Clemence) and Aggers (Steve Agnew), have been fantastic as well.

“I think everybody is enjoying it and you can see on the pitch that everyone is enjoying playing under them.”



The post Isaac Hayden says he could leave Newcastle United this week appeared first on NUFC The Mag.

West Ham linked with a move for 24-yr-old PL midfielder who will cost around £15m

West Ham linked with a move for 24-yr-old PL midfielder who will cost around £15m – originally posted on Sportslens.com

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Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden has been linked with a move away from the club for a while now.

The 24-year-old wants to join a London club so that he can be closer to his family.

According to the Northern Echo, West Ham are likely to be contenders for his signature this summer. Newcastle value the player at £15m.

It will be interesting to see if the Hammers make a move for Hayden in the coming weeks.

They need to add more depth to their central midfield positions and the 24-year-old would be a superb addition.

Hayden has done well in the Premier League at Newcastle and he won’t need time to adapt. He can make an immediate impact at West Ham next season.

Also, £15m is a very reasonable price to pay for a player of his qualities. He could be the long term replacement for Mark Noble at West Ham.

Joining West Ham will allow him to stay close to his family as well. The move makes a lot of sense for all parties involved.

The report adds that Wolves wanted to sign the player in the past. It will be interesting to see if the Molineux outfit renew their interest in him once again.

West Ham will not want to get drawn into a bidding war but they have the finances to pull off the transfer. Also, the player prefers a London club so they will have the edge over Wolves anyway.

From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog

Shearer brands Benitez’s Newcastle departure a ‘shambles’ as players and fans react

Former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer has labelled Rafael Benitez’s departure from the club a “shambles”.

Opinion: Aston Villa should sign £22k-per-week Newcastle man for £15m

Opinion: Aston Villa should sign £22k-per-week Newcastle man for £15m – originally posted on Sportslens.com

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With Glenn Whelan and Mile Jedinak leaving Aston Villa this summer, Dean Smith may be on the look-out for a replacement – a defensive-midfielder with Premier League experience, combative qualities, composure in possession and high levels of industry would be the ideal signing.

Isaac Hayden may fit the bill perfectly for £15m. The 24-year-old is expected to leave Newcastle United before the transfer window shuts as he wants to be closer to his family in South Wales, so a move to Villa could benefit all parties. Hayden has wanted out of United since last summer but hadn’t been granted a departure until now.

The £22k-per-week midfielder made 28 appearances in all competitions last season, scoring and creating five goals. In the Premier League, Hayden has racked up 1864 minutes of football, made 22 chances, boasts a 75% dribble success rate, won 54 aerial duels (57%), blocked 34 shots/passes/crosses, made 28 clearances and averaged a tackle (73) or interception (40) every 17 minutes.

If Hayden wants to keep playing at the highest possible level, he may have to be content with a move to the West Midlands. Birmingham and South Wales are approximately 90 minutes apart on the train and less than two hours apart on a coach. It currently takes Hayden three-and-a-half hours to travel from Newcastle to South Wales.

Whether Villa are considering a move for the Englishman remains to be seen, however.

Stats from Transfermarkt.

From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog

Report: West Ham keen on signing £15m midfielder who wants to leave the club

Report: West Ham keen on signing £15m midfielder who wants to leave the club – originally posted on Sportslens.com

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According to reports from Claret & Hugh, West Ham are showing interest in signing Isaac Hayden from Newcastle United this summer.

The Hammers primarily targeted to sign Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes this summer.

The Londoners have already seen an £18m bid knocked back by the La Liga champions for Gomes and they have returned with a second offer of £20m.

However, Football London reports that they are losing ground in the race to sign the former Valencia midfielder who enjoyed a fantastic loan spell last season at Everton.

As a result, West Ham have turned their attention elsewhere and have earmarked Hayden as a potential option.

The defensive midfielder has time and again expressed his desire to leave the Magpies as he wants to be closer to his family.

The report claims that Hayden would cost somewhere in the region of £15 million.

SL’s verdict

Hayden was one of the best players for Newcastle last season. The 24-year-old may not be an eye-catchy signing, but he would certainly be a decent alternative for Gomes.

The defensive midfielder is good at tackling and passing, and could be a perfect long-term replacement for West Ham skipper Mark Noble.

From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog

‘Not good enough’ – Some Tottenham fans aren’t too keen on their £20m summer target

'Not good enough' – Some Tottenham fans aren't too keen on their £20m summer target – originally posted on Sportslens.com

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Tottenham are apparently interested in signing the Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden.

According to the Chronicle, West Ham and Crystal Palace are interested in the player as well.

Hayden has been linked with a move away from Newcastle for a while now. The player wants to join a London club so that he can be close to his family.

He wasn’t allowed to leave the club this past season and he will try to get a move this summer.

Hayden has had a good season with Newcastle and he could prove to be a decent squad player for Pochettino’s side.

However, he hasn’t shown the quality needed to play for a title challenging side. If Spurs want to fight for the top honours, they need to sign better players.

As per the report from the Chronicle, Newcastle will look to demand around £20 million for the player this summer.

Tottenham can certainly afford that fee and it will be interesting to see if they make an offer for the player in the coming weeks.

Some of the Tottenham fans have already taken to Twitter to share their thoughts on the potential signing. Here are some of the reactions from earlier.

From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog