Thursday morning has seen Spanish media reporting that Rafa Benitez has agreed a three year contract at Newcastle United.
The claim has been made by Spanish radio station Cadena Cope as we move into the latest day of excitement/mischief at St James Park.
I must admit I’m not too up on my Spanish radio stations and whether Cadena Cope is more BBC or….Talksport, I’m guessing the latter.
Whilst these reports/claims do look premature, Newcastle fans move to within four days of the next match and if any change is to happen, it wouldn’t appear to be in time for any new manager to work with/influence the players/tactics before Monday night at the King Power.
Yet another thrashing there would hardly help Rafa Benitez or whoever to lift the team for what looks to be a….well I don’t think ‘six pointer’ quite gets close to describing what the derby with Sunderland means this time around.
As an article this morning on The Mag points out, only nine and a half weeks (66 days) until the season ends – if there is a genuine wish to bring in a proper manager with proper authority then it has to happen now.
Even a spirited defeat at Leicester could do the Newcastle players some good, as opposed to another Chelsea/Bournemouth demolition.
Back in January 2008, Keegan was announced as manager only hours before an FA Cup replay against Stoke City.
Under Allardyce, Newcastle had been the usual ultra negative outfit away at Stoke and were ridiculously lucky to escape with a 0-0 draw.
Only days later and despite Kevin Keegan only sitting in the stands, Newcastle looked a completely different team as they buzzed all over the pitch, pressurising the opposition and showing great attacking play and commitment to win 4-1, despite playing for over an hour after Emre was sent off.
I’m not suggesting that Rafa Benitez simply sitting in the stands at Leicester would produce the same outcome but it appears that everybody, especially fans and players, are desperately in need of some kind of fresh start/impetus and on paper the former Liverpool boss looks easily the most likely to produce that change in climate.
The thought of heading into Monday night with Steve McClaren, after simply another imaginary wild goose chase orchestrated by the NUFC spin department, hardly bears thinking about.