Newcastle’s players close in on £11m bonus

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley alongside managing director Lee Charnley
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley alongside managing director Lee Charnley
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Newcastle United’s squad will be rewarded with a £11million bonus – if they can finish 10th in the Premier League.

The club’s players were involved in a dispute about this season’s bonus sheet when the campaign kicked off.

Newcastle’s initial offer was rejected by the squad.

The players had wanted a scheme more in line with their rivals.

And the dispute, which had the potential to damage dressing room morale, was only settled by a phone call between owner Mike Ashley and captain Jamaal Lascelles.

United’s players agreed to a revised scheme which guaranteed the players a £4million bonus pot if the club finished 17th in the league.

The payment will rise to £11million for a 10th-placed finish.

Last season, each league position was worth £1.9million in prize money alone.

Newcastle – who take on West Bromwich Albion at St James’s Park tomorrow (3pm kick-off) – are 10th in the table with four games left to play.

United are three points ahead of 11th-placed Bournemouth. They also have a game in hand on Eddie Howe’s side.

Newcastle, beaten 1-0 by Everton at Goodison Park on Monday night, are three points behind ninth-placed Leicester City.

Meanwhile, West Brom’s James McClean has spoken about the “great job” Benitez has done at promoted Newcastle.

The former Sunderland winger said: “Rafa Benitez has done a great job.

“I watched the game against Everton the other night.

“They seem very hard to break down, and they also pose a threat going forward.

“They’re safe now, and they’ve had a great season, especially from December onwards.

“We know the task ahead, especially going there too, because it’s very noisy, they’re very passionate and it’s a big stadium.

“So we’ll have a battle on our hands, but, with the results in the last couple of weeks, we’re going there with confidence, and hopefully we can build on the last few games.”

Basement club West Brom are unbeaten under caretaker manager Darren Moore, who succeeded the sacked Alan Pardew earlier this month.

And McClean has praised Jay Rodriguez and Salomon Rondon, who have scored six goals between them in the club’s last dozen games.

“They’re chipping in and they’re getting goals,” said McClean.

“On Saturday (against Liverpool), Jake Livermore got himself a goal from midfield as well.

“From us midfielders, I know there’s only three games left now, but we need to try and get as many goals throughout the team as we can.

“But it obviously helps when your strikers are putting away the chances too.”