Rafa Benitez: Why are Newcastle so angry about their manager leaving?

Last updated at 10:22
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Newcastle United fans have reacted angrily to the news that their manager, Rafa Benitez, is leaving the club.

Celebrity fans Ant and Dec tweeted: "Disastrous. Those 'at the top' of our great club should be ashamed. The great shame is that they won't be."

Former Newcastle player, Alan Shearer, also tweeted: "A world class manager. A manager who performed so well in very difficult circumstances."

Benitez will leave the club at the end of his contract on 30 June.

Who is Rafa Benitez?
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Rafa Benitez has been the manager of Newcastle United since 2016.

He is one of the most successful managers in European football and is the only manager in history to have won the Europa League, Super Cup, Champions League, and the Fifa Club World Cup.

When he joined Newcastle it was seen as a really good move for the club who were struggling in the bottom half of the Premier League.

Benitez couldn't prevent Newcastle's relegation in his first season but he managed to make an instant return, winning the Championship in 2017.

He followed that up with finishes of 10th in 2017-18 and 13th last season in the Premier League.

Why has he left?
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Newcastle's owner, Mike Ashley

According to reports, Benitez has been arguing with Newcastle's owner, Mike Ashley, over transfer funds.

Mike Ashley is a billionaire businessman, but is well known for not spending much money.

In Benitez's three years with the club, his net spend has been minus £11 million. That means the club have received a lot more money in transfers than they've spent.

The BBC's chief football writer, Phil McNulty, said Benitez was not happy with a summer transfer budget of £60 million.

He reportedly wanted to secure Newcastle's position in the Premier League top 10 but didn't feel as though he had the financial backing to do so.

According to McNulty, Benitez has been given a management offer from the Chinese Super League team, Dalian Yifang, where he would be paid £12 million a year. That's double his salary at Newcastle.

Why are Newcastle fans so disappointed?
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Newcastle's owner Mike Ashley is very unpopular with the club's supporters.

Benitez is a very high-profile and successful manager who did well as the boss, despite having limited resources.

Ant and Dec directed a tweet at Ashley saying "get out of our club" following the news that Benitez was leaving.


Since buying Newcastle in 2007, Ashley has overseen managers and seen the club relegated twice.

He has also been criticised by managers for interfering in their business.

For example, former manager Kevin Keegan revealed he was forced to sign a Uruguayan midfielder called Ignacio González in 2008 as a favour to two South American agents.

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