Date: 13th August 2019 at 2:43pm
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Rafa Benitez has opened up on his exit from Newcastle this summer in his first column for new outlet The Athletic

He said that he wanted to set the record straight after what “Lee Charnley, Newcastle’s managing director, claimed in the club’s match programme last weekend”.

He said that it wasn’t about money at Newcastle, but trust, and that he turned down  “bigger offers than the one I recently accepted with Dalian Yifang”.

“Newcastle’s board had a year to sort out my contract but, when we met after the end of last season, they didn’t make me a proper offer,” Benitez added.

“They told me they didn’t want to invest in the academy or the training ground — if they like, I can explain the reason why Mike Ashley refused to do that.

“Their idea of a project was a policy of signing players under 24 and, in my opinion, the budget available was not enough to compete for the top 10.

“After that meeting, I knew they would not come back with a serious offer and, when it arrived, 19 days later, it was for the same salary as three years earlier and with less control over signings. Charnley’s comments in the programme about having a deal agreed for Joelinton in February explains a lot that I couldn’t understand at that time.”

Benitez is gone – time to move on

Benitez is a legend at Newcastle but he’s moved on and really needs to stop raking over the coals.

To be fair to Benitez, this is his first column for The Athletic and there will have been pressure on him to talk about Newcastle and the manner of his departure, but with the season underway and Steve Bruce at the helm, it’s time to let go.

That goes for Charnley and Ashley too. They’re going to be fighting a losing battle if they want to win the fans over to their side from their former manager. And there’s a stark warning in the column that Benitez has more to spill if they paint him into a corner.

That won’t do anything to help the club and, as one fan pointed out on Twitter, both sides seem to know how to play the PR game. It’s time for both sides to start doing their talking on the pitch.