Having Rafa Benitez as Newcastle Manager is still taking some getting used to.
After so many years of yes men who were prepared to say anything to cover for the shambolic running of the club under Mike Ashley, any improvement was going to be gratefully received.
However, for Ashley to at last accept that a Manager has to be the one to make key decisions where transfers and other issues are concerned AND for that person to then be Rafa Benitez, it explains so much as to why outsiders just don’t understand how Newcastle fans feel so positive despite relegation.
It is so refreshing to hear Rafa speaking so openly and honestly about the position Newcastle are in.
Despite already having six new signings safely eased in for pre-season training, Rafa Benitez makes clear the urgency he still feels to bring in more players and get his squad sorted in plenty of time for the new season.
With Alan Pardew and then Steve McClaren, we became so used to the same line being trotted out that there was no urgency on transfers, the transfer window still open well after the season kicked off…then the inevitable desperate start to the season.
Both 2014/15 and 2015/16 saw Newcastle fans having to wait until 18 October before the first win of the season, no doubt a big part of that due to chaotic pre-seasons.
No coincidence that the most successful season of recent times was when key players Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba arrived in June 2011, Newcastle going on to finish fifth after starting the season with an 11 game unbeaten run.
Hopefully players such as Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle (and others) can repeat the trick.
“We want to finish getting the squad together as quickly as possible.
“Then we can start thinking about what we want to do with the team. You want your team to be sorted as soon as possible but at the moment, we still have to wait and see what is going to happen with a few things.
“Little by little we are getting there though and we will soon be at a point, where we have to start finalising the team that will play at Fulham.
“Soon we will have to be saying – ‘OK, this could be the team that starts’.”