A brilliant midfielder in his day, Terry McDermott is now more remembered for his managerial partnership with Kevin Keegan, than as a player in the 70s and 80s for Newcastle United.
Looking at what has happened at his old club in the past 12 months, he declares ‘The Toon Army and Rafa is a match made in heaven’.
However, he also has a word of caution, with Terry McDermott adding that no matter how connected Rafa Benitez may feel to his new club, he thinks there is every chance the former Real Madrid boss would leave Tyneside if promotion isn’t achieved.
He surely wouldn’t be short of offers from Premier League clubs and from abroad if United didn’t go up – but fans would hope that the Newcastle Manager would still see this as the right long-term project whatever happens on the pitch this season.
Rather than not getting promotion, many supporters see a more realistic potential problem being Mike Ashley.
After failing to back Rafa Benitez with signings in January, McDermott pleads ‘Please God, if they do go up, Rafa will be given the money to establish them in the top half’.
As he points out, it is ridiculous ‘for a club of Newcastle’s size’ to have been relegated twice in seven years under this current owner and that ‘it can’t be allowed to happen again’.
Terry McDermott speaking to The Mirror:
“It would have been a disaster if Newcastle had not kept Rafa last summer after they were relegated.
“He’s a very, very shrewd man – you don’t win the Champions League at Liverpool, and reach another final two years later, if you don’t know your way round a football pitch.
“The Toon Army and Rafa is a match made in heaven.
“If he had not stuck around, I’m not sure they would have been anywhere near going straight back up this year, certainly not as close as they are now.
“He’s a winner and, please God, he stays at Newcastle. That’s absolutely imperative.
“And, please God, if they do go up, Rafa will be given the money to establish them in the top half of the Premier League.
“For a club of Newcastle’s size and history to have been relegated twice in seven years is astonishing…and it can’t be allowed to happen again.
“Hopefully Mike Ashley will provide the funds to improve the squad and make sure they come back stronger but for now, the most important thing is that Newcastle finish the job and do go up – because if they don’t do it this year you do wonder if Rafa will stay.”