Aston Villa are set for an extended stay in the Championship, whilst Newcastle United are set to bounce straight back to the Premier League – that is the view Ray Wilkins.
The former Aston Villa assistant manager thinks that Norwich are also ‘well equipped’ to get promoted alongside Newcastle.
Ray Wilkins is ideally placed to comment after being part of the Villa management team as recently as just over seven months ago.
Wilkins had only been at Villa Park for four months as Tim Sherwood’s assistant, before the entire senior management/coaching team got their marching orders on 26 October 2015.
Asked on Sky Sports whether he thought any of the relegated clubs could get promoted at the first attempt, Ray Wilkins said:
“I think there could be two – Norwich are well equipped to get themselves back out of it.
“Newcastle United – I’m sure Rafa Benitez will add some good British blood to the squad and I think they could bounce straight back too.”
With Rafa Benitez secured and with written assurances regarding having control of all footballing matters, including transfers, plus assured of funds to spend this summer – Newcastle fans experienced massive relief when this was confirmed.
In contrast, there have been a number of media reports claiming that Norwich may need to sell their best players this summer to help deal with the drop into the Championship.
Then we have Aston Villa…
This is surely a case of Newcastle fans seeing a situation of what could have been at St James Park.
As well as having an even worse set of players than Newcastle and Norwich, Aston Villa are still yet to appoint a Manager despite there being just 66 days until the Championship kicks off.
Roberto di Matteo is claimed to be on the brink of taking over but even if that is imminent, he is still faced with a huge job of judging what he has inherited, with the players not due to return to the club until around five weeks before the season starts. If Rafa hadn’t stayed, this is exactly the problem Newcastle would have faced.
Also, the ownership situation at Aston Villa appears to be shaky and there appears to be little confidence in knowing exactly what level of support any new Villa boss will be receiving, to turn around a set of players who are arguably the next worst in Premier League history after the shocking Derby and Sunderland teams of years gone by.
There is clearly no room for any complacency whatsoever but just how grateful do you feel that Rafa Benitez agreed to stay at Newcastle and therefore ticked so many boxes, in giving supporters confidence that the club will be ready to take on the Championship.
Plus of course, the three months he has already experienced on Tyneside will have given so many answers to what he needs to keep as the core of his team/squad, as well as those he wants to be well shot of.