They say a week is a long time in football.
Last Saturday at St James Park, fans were full of gallows humour, sarcastic comments about how ‘good’ certain players are and talks of who would make up our starting eleven in the Championship.
The expected vitriolic tirade towards McClaren and the team was tame in comparison to past moments of crisis, as I got the feeling people felt there seemed little point in trying to galvanise our troops as we were sleepwalking to relegation.
Something had to change and not just the man who sends the team out before the game, the whole model from recruitment and coaching had to be ripped up to start again – whether there’s enough time to salvage our top flight status remains to be seen.
The saga of replacing McClaren with Rafa Benitez was like a rubbish version of the usual annual transfer window tripe.
I tried to distract myself by giving Greggs the bakers some stick on Twitter over their removal of ham & pease pudding stotties from the shelves of their shops. It’s a crying shame these won’t be available to pick up before the match for a half time snack. I for one was content with their diminishing size over the years as they fit rather snug in my various jacket pockets. I digress (told you I was distracted).
Like previous transfer windows, I was sick of hearing various tittle tattle about agents, meetings, seeing ‘comical’ photo shopped images etc, to the point of questioning why football is my chosen pastime. I can’t abide the circus that surrounds football, it’s like kids trying to sneak a peak at the Christmas presents.
I read a great tweet:
‘Remember the press conference when it was announced Ossie was sacked then Keegan walked in the side door? That’s how it should be done.’ (Credit: @BlaydonRaces150)
That would represent a football utopia for me, no gossip and learning of the ins and outs of every deal going or not going on, just news of when things are done. Mebbies I’m just getting old.
I Imagine there was all sorts of negotiations, meetings etc when KK replaced Ardiles, but they weren’t made public. I bet that the scenario McClaren found himself in, is very much the done thing at the majority of football clubs. We were just unfortunate enough to learn about it as it played out. We’re forever being reminded every time a manager loses his job that football is a ruthless environment, a dog eat dog world etc [insert pundit cliche].
I just think everything gets hyped up far too much. Rafa Benitez was the best NUFC manager since Sir Bobby after only one training session. If we lose at Leicester is it immediately a bad appointment? Give the guy a chance is all I say, see how he does.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it has the potential to be a great appointment, and it’s probably the first appointment since Sir Bobby with genuine potential attached to it – which is certainly reinvigorating for the club and its supporters.
For far too long the ‘head coach’ hasn’t really ruled the dressing room, players committees etc have had too much say. In Rafa Benitez we have someone who has a presence, none of the players can now feel they’re above the guy in charge. I think we have a guy who commands control, a real leader.
If the players knew a defeat to Bournemouth would get Steve McClaren the sack, then now they have their wish and I fully expect a dramatic improvement in performances.
For us to land a manager of Rafa Benitez’ pedigree is nothing short of remarkable, when you consider the bleak outlook we had on things last week. A week in football is a long time, a week in NUFC is a lifetime!
NUFC – never a dull moment.
Good luck Rafa, howay me bonny lads!!!
You can follow the author on Twitter @lyon1892