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:
Sir Bobby Robson
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.
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.