Newcastle manager ordered to stop moaning

Rafa Benitez has been told to button his lip by the Newcastle hierarchy.

The message was delivered on behalf of owner Mike Ashley, who has become fed up with his manager’s continuing comments about a lack of spending power. Despite yesterday’s 3-0 win over West Ham, it has now placed St James’ on the edge, with the closing of the transfer window just days away.

Benitez has openly questioned Ashley about what he has perceived as false promises over what funds would be available to him. Ashley, though, suggested in a TV interview that his manager knew all about the constraints. The Sports Direct tycoon knows that if Benitez walks out, the terms of his contract insist that he pays back a year’s salary, £5 million in compensation.

If he is sacked, then it is Ashley who would have to pay up.