Does Rafa Benitez promise a brighter future for Newcastle?

The footballing world were shocked when Rafael Benitez decided to take the Newcastle job, briefly after being sacked as the Real Madrid manager. People were even more shocked when he decided to stay at St James’ Park after the club were relegated. He is one of the most decorated managers in the game, and still belongs at the top level. However, the project at Newcastle excites him as he will be given full control at footballing matters, something he hasn’t had throughout his managerial career. Benitez has also fallen in love with the fanbase and has made several comparisons between them and the Liverpool fans. It is a huge coup for the club to have Benitez as their manager, especially in the Championship and it marks a new dawn on Tyneside.

Newcastle have been a poorly run club under Mike Ashley and it isn’t a coincidence that they have suffered two relegations since the Sports Direct tycoon bought the club. He has been badly advised on footballing issues and trusted the wrong people with influential roles – Joe Kinnear and Dennis Wise being two pertinent examples. However, things finally seem to be changing for the better, despite the recent relegation. Supporters are beginning to get excited about the club, with big queues for season tickets and the atmosphere at the final home match highlighting this.

 

Benitez has been at the centre of all the positivity and Newcastle made the correct decision in ripping up their blueprint and handing Benitez the keys to the club. He knows how football works, and is a lot better placed to make decisions on Tyneside than anybody else who has been involved in the past. Lee Charnley and Derek Llambias both lacked footballing knowledge, while Joe Kinnear and Dennis Wise weren’t astute when it came to the business side of the game. Graham Carr has also been trusted with an important position at the club, but he is a good scout and shouldn’t be given a bigger role than that.

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There has never been so much positivity at a club that has just suffered relegation before, and it’s an odd combination. As a result, Newcastle are big favourites to win the Championship and achieve an instant return to the top flight. There is a lot of work to do before that. Rafael Benitez needs to do deal with the futures of Daryl Janmaat, Moussa Sissoko and Gini Wijnaldum, who are the most likely to leave the club. Benitez has said that he doesn’t need to sell anyone and Newcastle are in a strong selling position despite relegation, with all three on big contracts. It is the incomings that will be more intriguing and the Spaniard told Chronicle Live:

“We have to think about the type of player who is best for the Championship, because everybody knows it is a very different league, more physical and it is tougher in different ways than the Premier League.

“But also we cannot just focus on building a strong squad for the Championship, because we hope we will only be there for one season; we have to build a squad that we are confident can help us out of the Championship and then can perform also strongly in the Premier League.”

 

This is an interesting insight into the plans of Benitez. He is a proven winner and although he is dropping into the Championship, he will have aspirations to win a major trophy during his spell as Newcastle manager. The club haven’t managed to do so since 1969. However, they haven’t had many managers of Benitez’s calibre. As he says in the quotes above, he is recruiting with an eye on the Premier League and he won’t want short term fixes. A season in the Championship will allow the new signings to gel with the players already at the club in Benitez’s plans and if promoted, they will arrive in the Premier League stronger for it.

The future looks bright for Newcastle and although they are starting from a lower point than they would have hoped, they finally have a manager worthy of the title. Neither Alan Pardew nor Steve McClaren looked comfortable in the hot seat and were overwhelmed at times, while the less said about John Carver, the better. Benitez instantly stamped his authority on the club and has already overseen changes to the training ground and the academy. The Spaniard is in charge of a root and branch reform of the club, and I expect him to leave Newcastle in a much, much better position to where he found it.

Featured image: All rights reserved by hellaslive

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