Rafa Benitez shocked football when he chose relegation threatened Newcastle as his next job after leaving Real Madrid.
The combined efforts of Ashley, Charnley, McClaren, Pardew, Carver and many other clowns, had dragged Newcastle to the edge of disaster, again.
The Spaniard given only 10 matches to turn it around, leaving it so late being just the latest disastrous decision by Mike Ashley and his minions.
Despite a run of six games without defeat to end the season, it was a task even beyond the magic of Rafa Benitez, too much damage done before his far too late appointment.
Rafa’s countryman and friend, Guillem Balague, had plenty to say 13 months ago when Rafa was rumoured to be considering the Newcastle job after talks.
The respected journalist indicating that he had an inside track on Rafa’s consideration of the job and what he would be demanding before he took it. With the running of the club being such a joke under Ashley in his nine years in control of Newcastle United.
Guillem Balague – March 2016:
“Rafa wants to take over at Newcastle but the main condition for him is that he gets the control Steve McClaren didn’t have.
“Without that, change will be difficult. As such, I’m pretty sure the negotiations have included that kind of conversation.
“Rafa will have asked if the position is a managerial role – that means having more control and authority than previous managers – to which Newcastle replied yes.
“Another part of the negotiations concerned the length of the contract, he didn’t want just a few months at St James Park.
“He believes in the potential of the club but will need time to work on it and take Newcastle where he believes they deserve.
“Once appointed he obviously has ten games in which to save (from relegation).
“I am convinced that with the order he will bring, the authority he will have in the changing room – from his CV and importance as one of Europe’s top ten coaches – the players will stand up and listen.
“I feel sorry for McClaren because he was never given that control.
“Without that you cannot change the culture of a club that absolutely needs to be changed.”
Coming up to the present day, Rafa Benitez has done a brilliant job of securing promotion at the first attempt, as well as producing a £40m transfer profit with his buying and selling.
As Newcastle supporters worry that the club’s owner could score arguably his biggest own goal ever (which takes some doing) by driving the Manager out, Guillem Balague gives a great insight into what is actually happening.
Balague saying ‘you have to listen to what Rafa Benitez is saying’.
Explaining that Rafa Benitez isn’t demanding limitless funds to get everything he wants and every player he wants to sign, rather that he just wants things to be done properly in a normal fashion at Newcastle United, just like other football clubs.
Ominously, Balague adds that ‘there is still a long way to go…’ before Rafa Benitez will definitely commit to stay at Newcastle United.
However, with a meeting between owner and manager reported to be scheduled to happen in the coming week, one word from Mike Ashley can sweep all these uncertainties away and leave us all only looking forward to Premier League football under Rafa Benitez.
Anything else would be a disaster.
Guillem Balague – 28 April 2017:
“You have to listen to what Rafa Benitez has been saying.
“Which is…’I need to sit down and see what is available money-wise and see what we can do’.
“Because remember, what has held back Newcastle managers in the past, is that the club has been run like a business more than a football club.
“And I think what Rafa has been implying is that he would love for it to be run like a football club.
“It is not about him getting all the players he wants, it is about making sure he has a say about who is coming and going – enough of a say for him to feel that the squad is his.
“So there is still a long way to go…”