We have a problem with Rafa Benitez.

After the years of Mike Ashley neglect when he planted stooges such as Alan Pardew, John Carver and Steve McClaren inside St James Park, it was always going to need a major change of mindset to get used to having a proper Newcastle Manager once again.

In the last 40 years, I would say we have had six ‘proper’ managers:

Arthur Cox

Jim Smith

Kevin Keegan

Sir Bobby Robson

Chris Hughton

Rafa Benitez

I’m not saying they were all equals but I think they were all the right appointments for the post and did a decent to brilliant job. Jim Smith may be a surprise to some but with the Hall takeover going on in the background and a relegation to deal with, he did remarkably well to put together that Quinn/McGhee team that should have went up but after finishing clear in third they blew the play-offs….

After the ridiculous running of NUFC for so many years by Mike Ashley, having Rafa Benitez approach the club with his offer to manager surprised everybody.

Rafa recently celebrated a full year in the job (see his brilliant stats HERE compared to other NUFC Managers) and the improvement is there for all to see.

The problem is though that many Newcastle fans get a little bit too carried away and start leaping one, two, three or more steps forward in their heads. Expecting/thinking that it is already a done deal that Rafa Benitez will carry us far further forward than simply getting promotion this season.

When anything negative happens, such as the defeats against Blackburn and Fulham, the only two league losses this calendar year, the reaction to it is far too extreme. The problem being that with Newcastle supporters building Rafa up to be something he is not (at Newcastle United so far), they are like lost souls as they can’t grasp how these things can happen.

Rafa Benitez hasn’t come close to achieving anything like what Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson did at St James Park, yet.

So whilst it is vital we all support him, it is unfair to put those unrealistic expectations on the United boss, as though he has already achieved far more at NUFC.

The danger is that by putting Rafa on such a high pedestal, Newcastle fans are creating a potentially fatal scenario when predictably, the Manager fails occasionally to live up to those expectations and then has so far to fall off his pedestal in so many fans’ minds.

Rafa Benitez can properly turn this club around but it is going to be one step at a time.

Rafa Personalised Gifts  - shop.themag.co.uk


  • steve

    Lets be honest, Rafa hasn’t come close to achieving anything like what Chris Hughton and Alan Pardew did at St James’ Park never mind Keegan or Robson!
    The reason for the “extreme” reaction when we lose is that the flaws in Rafa’s tactics are so obvious even when we are scraping results, its just harder to criticise when we win.

    • GeordieReeva

      this comment is awesome and so true, you da man

    • Gareth Marshall

      What a guy. You’ve hit the nail on the head.

    • Damon Horner

      look hard enough you can find flaws in anything, not sure why your main thought at the moment is to point out faults which haven’t affected the mood or the end goal?

      • steve

        They could quite easily affect the end goal though, with Yedlin injured we know look vulnerable at the back and if Shelvey were to pick up an injury we would be completely screwed.

        • Whickhamrobbie

          in other words our squad is c84p .We as a club have the spending power and pull to easily win this division so how come we struggle so easily at home ?
          True the visiting teams up their game but our squad should easily overpower them but if as you say miss a couple of players and we are screwed then that just sums up the state our squad/team is in .
          I dont blame Rafa totally but the years of decline find you out in the end as the Mackems will soon find out.

  • Jimblag23

    When The Mag lists Ashley’s terrible managerial appointments, it’s always Pardew, Carver and McClaren. As if the JFK debacle didn’t happen. He was the worst and most depressing one too imo.

    This article lists the 6 “proper managers” we’ve had in the last 40 years, Ashley has employed 33% of that list. (I’m not counting Keegan)
    That’s a strange thought. ?

    • Alreet

      Well hes been in the hotseat now for near 10 years. Some teams have 5 managers in 2 seasons. He was bound to get 1 or 2 right.

  • Rich Lawson

    It’s harder now because a manager has to hit the ground running without a proper bedding in period,the money these days means everybody is looking for instant success with a lot of bosses not given anything like one season,we’re still top of the table ffs.

  • Leazesl Ender

    …’one step at a time’ doesn’t sound like a Rafalution to me!….. it was just a soundbite nicked from Liverpool wasn’t it?

    • Damon Horner

      What does a Rafalution sound like?

  • Damon Horner

    I don’t think he is considered to be on a pedestal, I just think some fans think any issues we have as a club are more easily fixed at times than they are and have unrealistically high expectations in general.

  • funlovingexpress

    I think the oppisite to this article is true. It is very very rare we even get a decent manager never mind a world class one.
    This isn’t even an Ashley thing, its been like that as long as I can remember.

    The problems start when the fans start taking the world class ones for granted.

  • Desree

    Results are all that matters. Through in the mix that Rafa treats the fans with respect, why is he getting so much grief?

    Our team isn’t that great and if we could dominate games, we would. We create lots of chances and don’t put them away. Not Rafas fault.

    Fulham have outplayed us twice. They have a high tempo game and were up for it. Every team has been pumped playing at St James Park. 50,000 silent fans occassionally making some noise to boo the home team helps visiting teams.

    We are [email protected] at home because our players can’t handle the pressure. They were relegated last year and have underperformed at SJP for 5 or 6 seasons.

    They have a lot of mental baggage. It doesn’t help that we slag off our players.

    • Jimblag23

      Hit the nail on the head.