Former Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi has urged his old club to extend Rafa Benitez’s contract with the club, and likened his impact to that of Bobby Robson.
Speaking to the Chronicle Live, Ameobi was effusive in his praise of Benitez and the impact he has had on the city as a whole, with the Spaniard’s contract entering its final months.
Ameobi said: “There’s nobody like Sir Bobby, and what he meant to the area as well. He’s all on his own – but I do get the comparisons because Rafa is a top-class manager.
“He understands he fans and he has that aura about him that you need at Newcastle. It will be such a shame if we don’t keep him because he is the key. When you have a manager like him you don’t want to be letting him go. It is imperative we do all we can to keep him.”
Ameobi is spot on here. There will never be another Sir Bobby in terms of what he meant to the club and how he inspired the fans, but Rafa is the nearest Newcastle have had since.
He feels loved at St James’ Park and clearly loves the club – otherwise he wouldn’t have stuck with them in the Championship or amid the backdrop of uncertainty and underinvestment Mike Ashley has created.
His future is the key to Newcastle’s future progress.