Rafa Benitez takes another dig at Mike Ashley following move to Dalian Yifang

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Rafa takes parting shot at NUFC hierarchy

One of the biggest stories to come from the close season was the departure of Rafa Benitez from Newcastle United on 30th June.

The Spaniard had become a cult hero up in the north east, overachieving on a ridiculously tight budget, sticking with them despite relegation to the Championship and working in the most difficult of conditions under Mike Ashley.

He bought the club 12 years ago and in that period we've seen a number of controversial decisions, ludicrous behaviour and two relegations for what is one of the biggest clubs in this country.

Ashley's ownership has led to unbelievable amounts of criticism and protests from the supporters which is fully warranted, with many planning on boycotting their opening fixture of the new Premier League campaign against Arsenal.

He knows how unhappy they are with his leadership at the club which has led to him making it available for sale, but his huge demands mean that no takeover has been completed which in-turn has resulted in even more criticism.

He's now approaching a key period in the clubs modern history following the departure of Rafa. But they're still yet to make a new signing, they've sold one of their best players in Ayoze Perez to Leicester City and still don't have a manager.

Ayoze Perez
The loss of Ayoze Perez could prove to be a big one for Newcastle United, especially with Salomon Rondon unlikely to return to the north east

Former Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is currently the bookies favourite to take over at St. James' Park and despite him being Newcastle born and a fan of the club, it's an appointment that will not go down well in the slightest. Whoever comes in to replace Rafa has an enormous challenge on their hands - working under Ashley, trying to convince players to join a club that has uncertainty hanging over it and of course winning over the supporters. So it's an unenviable task to say the least.

But away from fiasco that is the current situation (12 years for that matter) at Newcastle United. Rafa Benitez is settling in well to his new surroundings in China with Dalian Yifrang, with him managing in Asia for the first time in his career.

He's opened up on his time there so far in his personal blog that gives a great insight into how things are going and he takes a little shot at his former employer in the process, which is bound to both please and worry NUFC supporters.

"Since the moment of our arrival we have really been touched by the kindness and respect that we have been shown"

"Our hosts have treated us with great consideration and are always keen to make us happy.

"As we all know from experience, in football, just as in everyday life, when people show you respect and affection and do everything they can to make things easier for you, life is much happier, even when you face difficult moments.

"I must say that I have had more meetings with the chairman, the president and the general manager this week, than I had in three years at Newcastle.

"They haven't just been work meetings, rather signs of respect in which we have been able to appreciate the differences and similarities in our cultures."

It sounds like Rafa is already being supported better in just over a week into his three year contract in China then he did throughout his entire spell at Newcastle United which makes damning reading whilst Mike Ashley remains at the club.

The next manager has a gigantic challenge on their hands to keep NUFC in the top flight and there's some really anxious times ahead for everyone involved. Rafa on the other hand is loving life. It really is a case of what could've been.

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