Newcastle fans are unbelievably relaxed.
When you wake up tomorrow there will be only 47 days until the Championship kicks off and the reaction of pretty much any supporter to any concerns that are raised…’Don’t worry man, Rafa will sort it’.
Going back to early March, only three months ago, before Steve McClaren was given the boot. Imagine the reaction most Newcastle fans if you had told them the following.
Despite relegation we are still stuck with Mike Ashley.
Despite relegation Lee Charnley remains as Managing Director and on the board.
…and Graham Carr as Chief Scout and on the board.
…and Bobby Moncur on the board.
…and the youth set-up sees Peter Beardsley and Dave Watson still looking after the Under 18s and Under 21s.
That only 3 days before the fixtures come out and 9 days before the players report back for pre-season, there aren’t any new signings as yet, or even anything in the public domain that suggests progress is being made.
The whole thing is a double edged sword and it is Rafa Benitez at the heart of it all.
It is a massive compliment to the Manager because without his calming reassuring presence there would be all out civil war.
So many things that would have been the cause of anxiety and/or open to ridicule from both Newcastle fans and the media, are instead just brushed away.
Not saying we should all start to panic but I do think that we should be preparing ourselves for potentially far tougher days ahead than many Newcastle fans appear to be anticipating.
I think the team are still desperately short of goals and creativity, Andros Townsend is head and shoulders above anybody else in the team on both counts when I look ahead to next season. Wijnaldum will surely leave and Mitrovic is probably looking like the main striker at the minute but where else do the goals come from.
The mood is so very different from last time we ended up in the Championship, with Chris Hughton surprising everybody when proving to be such a star.
The players in 2009/10 proved to be so much better than almost everybody expected and so much better than the other 23 clubs.
Despite the struggles of the past few seasons and the disdain shown to so many players over the course of that time, Rafa’s arrival and the six game unbeaten room have seemingly transformed that outlook for most fans. Now it is more or less taken for granted that Newcastle will have a better quality team/squad than the other Championship clubs.
Having faith in Rafa Benitez is one thing but taking for granted success next season is quite another.
This coming season is going to be a struggle rather than a stroll and I think the quicker that Newcastle fans accept that then the better prepared we will all be for the ups and downs ahead.
So many things need to change and recent years have seen an abdication of personal responsibility, epitomised by Captain Fabricio Coloccini.
That whole mindset has to be turned around and players prepared to stand up and point out when some are letting the side down, as Jamaal Lascelles so spectacularly did last season.
Rafa Benitez can’t do it all by himself and success will only happen with both fans and players also onboard. The supporters are already doing their bit with healthy season ticket sales but there are clearly more than one or two players desperate to desert the ship that sank into the second tier.