A new era or are we getting ahead of ourselves?
With the state of the club and the inherent apathy that accompanied that, I haven’t been very active in writing of late.
Part of that was because I couldn’t add much that wasn’t already being said, or had been reinforced day after day by countless other fans.
Then I awoke to the news that we had all been awaiting for weeks now, Steve McClaren had finally been sacked and Rafael Benitez was the new manager – note MANAGER, not head-coach.
That in and of itself is a huge signal of intent, not just of the incoming Rafa, but that the club has all but admitted that the model it was using with McClaren simply wasn’t working.
It’s hard not to get excited and see this as a new era dawning, I mean lord knows we’ve waiting for a long time to have something this good to get excited about; this is a huge signing for Newcastle United.
Here is a manager of top pedigree, has been in charge of a number of high profile clubs and has won plenty of trophies in his time at Liverpool. Tactically he is as astute as any manager out there and it bodes well for being able to organize our current players and finally get the best out of them.
He also has a good track record of picking players in the transfer market and also knows how to bring players through the youth set-up.
The coaches that joined him are top drawer in their own right and will add some much needed professionalism. The fact Cathro has stayed on is a big plus in my eyes, as he has huge potential and helps give Rafa a quicker insight into the problems here – and what each player’s strengths and weaknesses are. It all looks too good to be true – right?
So is this the big turnaround for the club, or will it just be another unmitigated disaster?
Like it or not, we are in deep trouble and there is almost a sense of hopelessness about our relegation fight, so he needs to get the players’ heads in the right space and get them performing on the pitch like we know they can – but it needs to happen in a matter of days.
There is a media driven sense of the Geordie faithful only accepting flair football, something Benitez is not known for. I hope that he doesn’t buy into that media myth – what the fans want is to win football matches; the only reason they complain about dull football is when it is dull AND still results in losses.
If he comes in and tightens things up and gets a few tight 1-0 wins under his belt, the fans aren’t going to care how the points are acquired – he needs to be his own man, not try and please the fans (a big problem in his time at Real Madrid).
To do his job though, he needs to also be given a chance from the fans, no turning on him if the Leicester game doesn’t go according to plan.
Much has been made in his first interview of how he joined for the fans, so time to get back to being those fans and get behind him, the players and hope that gives everything a lift.
Should we stay up, then he also needs to be backed in the market in the summer. That doesn’t mean a huge spending spree outside of our budget, just on what we should be able to spend. We need to get rid of some dead wood and I hope this is all in Ashley and Charnley’s grand plan in snapping him up.
Let’s hope it doesn’t end in tears with Carr wanting final say or Ashley vetoing anything. We need the whole club to learn from its mistakes, without that it doesn’t matter who is in charge of the team.
Long-term, I think he is a great signing and could hopefully start our push up the table.
I’ve seen fans claim he is the best manager appointment since Sir Bobby and that is actually fairly accurate.
If he can stabilise things then it is a success, if he manages to win a trophy then he will be an instant legend
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