Aston Villa have been flirting with relegation this season whilst Newcastle United are top of the table.
Two relegated clubs and January spending took Aston Villa way beyond what Newcastle have spent in their promotion push, never mind the difference in net spend once players sold are taken into consideration.
Newcastle United making a £30m+ profit in the transfer market under Rafa Benitez, whilst Aston Villa have a staggering transfer deficit since dropping into the second tier.
So what’s the difference?
Well Newcastle fans know that it is all down to Rafa Benitez, although the United boss is far too modest to suggest that.
The Manager pointing to ‘The commitment of the players and staff from day one was exceptional’.
Rafa also points to the brilliant support Newcastle have had with home average gates of over fifty one thousand, whilst Aston Villa have closed whole sections of Villa Park for the season as thousands of fans have deserted.
Rafa Benitez talking to the Chronicle:
Happy to have stayed at Newcastle?
“To be the manager of Newcastle United is a great privilege. I’m really enjoying being at this fantastic club and so of course, I’m happy with my decision, yes.”
Why are Newcastle top of the table whilst the other relegated clubs (Aston Villa and Norwich) have struggled?
“The commitment of the players and staff from day one was exceptional.
“Everybody was helping us and trying to improve in their own departments and the competition between players too has been fundamental to the results we have achieved so far. We have also benefitted very much from not having a situation where jobs and funding had to be cut at the end of last season. That allowed us to invest in some important changes to improve the squad and the facilities before the start of the season.
“Also to have so many fans behind us, having a full stadium at home and an incredible away following too, everywhere we travel. This gives you a great sense of the size of this club.
“Everybody put a little bit more effort in, if that was possible. It is not an easy division and it is not easy to ensure you can recover immediately from demotion. Demotion means there have been a lot of things wrong with your club, which you have to address very quickly, I think we have managed to do that well.
“We are really pleased with our business during the summer. To make a profit and also to bring in new players and help them to perform at the level they are performing at is very difficult.
“Just check the teams that have been relegated in the last five years and where they are now. So credit to our players, staff, fans and the club.”