It would be a pretty safe bet if in a straw poll of Newcastle fans, you chose Matt Ritchie as Rafa’s best signing of the summer.
The Scottish international would also top the list of players that supporters believe would have little/no trouble in the Premier League, IF Newcastle keep on the way they are going and bounce back at the first attempt.
On Tuesday night Matt Ritchie was once again at the heart of the action, creating chances/goals with quality delivery in both open play and set-pieces.
All those years of Graham Carr jetting off around Europe and wasting the club’s money on the ineffectual Florian Thauvin, Remy Cabella and others, when he could have simply went on one of those nice coach trips aimed at the more mature person to the south coast and ‘discovered’ Matt Ritchie at Bournemouth.
For me it was clearly the moment of the transfer window, it had become apparent that Andros Townsend was the kind of player to bail out after only a handful of games – despite thanking Newcastle United for giving his failing career a new lease of life.
Rafa seamlessly produced Matt Ritchie through the St James Park entrance, as Townsend and the other rats scuttled out the exit door of the sinking ship.
It was like the work of a magician, having no power to stop our most creative player from last season leaving, whilst at the same time producing someone who was more than a match for the spineless Andros Townsend.
“It’s nice to have been part of history, although it is a bit of a shame not to have beaten the record because we went close to getting a seventh.
“We dominated the first half and took our chances, then in the second we got a real foothold in the game and controlled it throughout.
“I want to have nights like that, and I want to have success and try to be part of something special at Newacstle United.
“I don’t want to speak too soon as it is still early days but hopefully we’re building the foundations to achieve that.
“Football changes quickly, and that was only one win, we need to keep the foot on the gas and make sure we continue to progress.
“The good thing is that we have a good squad, a big squad, and the players who didn’t play at QPR will be champing at the bit to get into the team.
“Some people will say Tuesday was a bit of a statement but we all know we have to keep fighting in every game, to stay in and around the top of the league.
“We need to follow the win up now and make St James Park a fortress – we have had a couple of good victories there of late and we have to continue that with the couple of home games coming up.
“Hopefully, we can perform and most importantly, keep clean sheets and score more goals – that’s a great chemistry to have.
“A lot of credit has to go to the back four, we scored six goals but the most important thing was keeping another clean sheet, a key thing in this league – keeping clean sheets.
“With the quality that we have got up top, we are always going to score goals.”