Chris Wilder has laughed at the suggestion that Rafa Benitez was ever going to struggle in the Championship.

The Sheffield United boss saying that the Newcastle Manager ‘knows football’ and that ‘whatever level, whatever country – he is a winner’.

Speaking on Football on 5, Chris Wilder says that it is a ‘fantastic achievement’ for Rafa and Newcastle United, especially because there has been more pressure on NUFC than any other Championship club.

He also had uplifting words for Chris Hughton and Brighton, saying that once they get over Sunday’s disappointment, they will ‘realise what a magnificent achievement it has been’ in also getting automatic promotion.

When Chris Wilder speaks of magnificent/fantastic achievements, he is registering a few of his own.

After a slow start to management in non-league football, Wilder got Oxford promoted to League Two in his first full season in charge.

Eventually leaving there in January 2014, he moved on to Northampton and in his first full season in charge (2015/16) he got them promoted to League One with 99 points, 13 points clear of the runners-up. That season also saw Northampton lose 4-1 in the League Cup at St James Park, Florian Thauvin’s most effective game in a black and white shirt as he scored one and made the other three.

The 49 year old immediately left Northampton after promotion to join the club where he started as a player and has this season taken Sheffield United up to the Championship as champions, registering 100 points – 14 better than anybody else.

It is funny how those inside football who know what they are talking about and/or are not just trying to attract attention, all say what a brilliant job Rafa Benitez has done.

As opposed to the dross we see from so many pundits/experts, now even claiming that because Newcastle only won the title on the final day, it is somehow a failure!

Never mind the fact that in the previous 10 seasons, only Leicester and Newcastle themselves (2009/10) bettered this season’s 94 points total for NUFC.

Chris Wilder speaking on Football on 5:

“They said Rafa Benitez might struggle because he knew nothing about the Championship. He knows football and I don’t think it changes from whatever level, whatever country – he is a winner.

“He’s won in every country and he will have done his homework on the Championship.

A fantastic achievement by Newcastle because the pressure has been on them more than any other club, right through the season.

“A great run in their final three games to steal the Championship from Brighton.

“You looked at the reaction of the Brighton players and Chris Hughton afterwards.

“The two outstanding teams in the division and they (Brighton) would have wanted to win the Championship. 

“For it to be taken away from them…

“Once they get over Sunday, I think they will realise what a magnificent achievement it has been in getting out of the division and into the Premier League.”



  • BinTanG

    I was listening to the coverage of the game on the radio. After the game there was a live phone in where a chap was complaining about the systems Rafa the Gaffa used through the season. These are the people we call armchair tacticians/ managers with FIFA 98 experience.

    At the end of the 46 grueling slog. We scored the most goals joint with fulham. The best defence joint with brighton. Best away record. And 4th best home record. Oh yeah and we won the league…

    Thats with suspensions to key players. And some atrocious refereeing which was disgusting.

    I don’t know what the fuss is about… the system Rafa used clearly worked.
    In rafa the gafa we trust!

    Bring on EPL!

    • Peter Robson

      Give yourself a slap for talking sense !!!
      The comments section is only to be used to bemoan the manager/team, selection, results and most of all; to downplay all, not just one or two, all of the brilliant achievements this season !!!
      Nowhere should you/we ever mention how Rafa has restored the bond between us (the fans) and the club.
      Please refrain also from pointing out that Rafa assembled a team filled with competition for all positions including 12 new signings, some of whom slotted straight in as if they´d been here for years !!
      I could go on and on about all the things we should never mention, but I think you get the picture !!!
      Cut out the common sense and enthusiasm or you´ll get in hot water with the misery police on here !!!

    • Lord

      Sadly, you’re getting an insight into the sort of pressure our own fans will put on Rafa when an inevitable losing streak crops up.