Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez ‘get on like a house on fire’ at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez and Mike Ashley “get on like a house on fire”, according to Newcastle United legend Peter Beardsley.

Ashley has moved to reassure a frustrated Benitez over the club’s stalled summer recruitment.

The club’s billionaire owner stands by his pledge to give Benitez “every last penny” generated through promotion and player sales.

And Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley is working on a number of proposed deals ahead of the start of pre-season training on Monday.

Beardsley, United’s football development manager, has a close working relationship with Benitez, who went into the dressing room before the Under-23s played their Premier League 2 Division Two play-off final against West Ham United last month.

Benitez called up a number of players from Beardsley’s squad last season, notably for the club’s FA Cup ties against Birmingham City and Oxford United.

Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley

Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley

United’s manager has regularly watched Beardsley’s side since taking charge at the club.

“Rafa’s been brilliant,” said Beardsley. “He came in again before the (West Ham) game.

“He gives these kids as much encouragement as he can in terms of encouragement.”

Beardsley also believes Benitez has a good relationship with Ashley, who he met for talks last month after the club won the Championship.

“Going forward, he (Benitez) has got a lot of (first-team) decisions to make, and I don’t envy him,” said Beardsley.

“You look at the reaction of the city (to winning the Championship). It’s what everybody wants.

“He’s had a chat with Mike. Him and Mike get on like a house on fire. There’s no doubt about that.

“Everybody wants to know what goes on. They know what’s going on. That’s all that matters.”

Meanwhile, Gateshead have confirmed a friendly against a Newcastle XI at the International on July 22 (3pm kick-off).

Benitez’s side take on Preston North End at Deepdale that day.

United’s Under-23s also have a pre-season game against Darlington (July 17) at the Northern Echo Arena.

Beardsley’s team will also compete in a four-team tournament hosted by Whitby Town on July 27 and 29.

Newcastle are still to confirm a final senior friendly.

Hellas Verona, managed by former United coach Fabio Pecchia, are expected to be the opposition for a home fixture on August 6.