It is almost six years since Rafa Benitez parted company with the Liverpool fans.
Winning the FA Cup and the Champions League whilst at Anfield, as well as the Community Shield and UEFA Supercup.
Rafa was at Liverpool for six years, from 2004 to 2010.
So what do Liverpool fans think about their former boss landing on Tyneside?
Is it a match made in heaven and most importantly, do they believe he can be a success…?
We searched out the reaction of the Liverpool fans, via one of their top websites/forums This is Anfield:
‘Rafa is not getting another ready-made “big” club anytime soon, you’d expect …so this is a very good career move for him. Newcastle are simply a potentially massive club and their support is fantastic, but Rafa must first stay-up (I do think that he will here).
Then #2 Rafa must have full and total control of transfers-in too (not Carr pulling all-the-strings anymore here). For sure Rafa would not have signed for them without that basic guarantee in place either.
Newcastle are for sure upper-end EPL material historically. Rafa is also probably Newcastle’s first proper manager since Bobby Robson (or else King Kenny or else Keegan). The kudos that Rafa could get, from just awakening a sleeping football giant would be massive. I do not put it past Rafa to achieve that type of template either.
I would expect that Rafa will now enjoy just doing his job and focusing on football matters instead of the poisonous atmosphere at his boyhood club (Real). Righting Newcastle is a huge ask, but Rafa can also see it as a big project too. Maybe first time since his Valencia days, that Rafa is now going back to basics again. Should be an interesting ride.’
‘I do get the kudos of turning NUFC around but he’s against the odds – how many others have tried? They have been in the Championship more recently than they’ve been a top half PL side. The common theme is Ashley and that’s why I think it’s an odd move.’
‘Rafa does not need the money…he loves coaching. He loves the job as manager. And why not. It’s a huge challenge and who would not want to take up a challenge of trying to save NUFC from relegation?’
‘This is one hell of a coup for Newcastle. To me, Rafa isn’t one for the big, dominant clubs like Real Madrid, he’s great at the “underdog” clubs like Liverpool. I really do hope he does well there. Newcastle have a decent squad but they’ve been horrible due to dumb managers like Carver and McClaren.’
‘If there is anybody that can make that club successful that man is Rafa but he has very little time to keep them up but if he manages it watch out for them next season. Good luck Rafa.’
‘He could be the man to finally make Newcastle a proper enough team, they’ve far too much going for them to have been the joke that they’ve been. Or it could end in tears…’
‘Feel sorry for him because it’s going to end in tears, guaranteed. Ashley won’t keep his word. Feel sorry for the great NUFC fans as well. More false hope.’
‘I find it odd how so many people are shocked he’s taken this job. Newcastle is still a fairly big club with a big following, if he keeps them up they’ll love him there. And he’d be by far the best manager they’ve had since Robson. It’s easy to see why Newcastle would be attractive to him. I’d love to see him in the premier league with them next season.’
‘Rafa has more than enough good players on-board to avoid the drop for Newcastle …and Rafa is also a very accomplished and a very tactical manager. A lot is being made of Fat Sam’s expertise at this level of the game …but I would expect Rafa to show far better game management in the remaining games here. A very good career move for Rafa, I’d like to think.’
‘I still worry about their strike force…the finishing is abysmal and it’s schoolboy stuff at the moment with them up front.’
‘There are some good players for him to work with. He likes to have one playmaker and one runner in midfield, a goalscorer/runner on the right and a creative player on the left, and then a #9 and a #10 with good complementary qualities. Would be interesting to see how he put together that front six. If he stays true to his old formula then maybe Anita/Shelvey and Sissoko/Colback in midfield; Wijnaldum, Shelvey/De Jong and Ayoze behind Mitrovic..?
Hopefully he can manage to keep them up on the expense of Allardyce.’
‘I guess the initial introduction will give them a boost, but you can’t polish a turd, and the Newcastle team is full of them.’
‘I think Newcastle is probably a good fit for him, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he was to stick around there even if they were relegated. Where else is he going to go? If he wants to manage in England I’m not sure there’s really any other team available with as much potential upside as Newcastle.’
‘I hope he does well, Newcastle are a good club, limited of course by Mike Ashley, and his henchmen. He only seems to own them to promote his franchises.
Rafa will be at Anfield on April 23rd, he should get a warm welcome.’
‘What I don’t like is the fact that Rafa has to join a small club like that. And that he has tied himself to the club if they don’t get relegated. Rafa is still much bigger than Newcastle. I feel sorry for him that it didn’t really work at Real Madrid.
From Real to Newcastle in the same season. I still can’t believe it.’
‘He can say whatever he likes now…. I have lost respect for him for making such a desperate move to come back to the Premier League. I mean Newcastle? Really?
Most gutted for me now is Xavi Valero… he is probably in Newcastle now making their keeper hard to beat.’
‘Taking the Newcastle job he has gained a lot of respect with me. Really shows the type of man he is. We all know he could have done a lot better than Newcastle and went to a club ready to challenge for trophies but decided
he wanted to really test himself. Keeping Newcastle up and having them in European competition I’m sure he is dreaming of.’
‘The player I’m most interested in watching under Rafa is Shelvey. He’ll either turn him into a lesser Gerrard or refuse to play him at all. Crazy to think that he is essentially playing as a deep-lying midfielder whereas I’m sure Rafa wouldn’t let him go anywhere near that role under him.
Leads me to the question of whether Newcastle have anywhere near the amount of defensive players required to play his style. They seem very top-heavy (especially with their injuries) and I’m not sure what he could do to fix that.’