Stan Collymore has been talking about Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United.
Specifically, he has been comparing the recent fortunes of Newcastle and Sunderland.
Not a difficult story to come up with, considering Sunderland haven’t won a match in the first three months of the Premier League, whilst Newcastle have won 13 of their last 15 games in all competitions, losing only one.
Stan Collymore calls most of the situation right and correctly points to the key part being Rafa Benitez being able to demand full control, if Mike Ashley wanted to protect his asset.
Although claims that Rafa has more control that any of the usual top six clubs looks a bit dubious, as Arsene Wenger clearly has total control, whilst for the likes of Manchester United/City and Tottenham to have attracted their managers, you can only assume that they also have the final say on transfers.
In seeing David Moyes and Sunderland’s position as hopeless, you clearly don’t need to be a genius to work that one out. The FA and Sam Allardyce conspiring to leave the new boss with a near impossible job and almost certain disaster/success (depending on who you support!).
On Newcastle United, Stan Collymore does also state the obvious, pointing out that if/when Newcastle get promoted they will need more quality to do well in the Premier League. Yes, I think we have all worked that one out!
As well as pointing out the obvious, like a lot of pundits who decide to write about Newcastle, they think they can do it without making the effort to research what they are actually talking about.
Talking about the summer signings that have already proved successful, as well as naming Gayle, Clark and Ritchie, Stan Collymore also picks out Grant Hanley.
The only problem being that the former Blackburn defender has only started one Championship match for Newcastle, playing really poorly as United lost at Fulham on the opening day.
Still, far better having those outside the region talking positively about what is happening at St James Park, rather than the latest disaster/circus that Mike Ashley and Pardew/Carver/McClaren were presiding over.
Stan Collymore speaking to The Mirror:
‘In Rafa Benitez Newcastle have a manager who has taken control of their destiny in a way Sunderland can only dream about.
Then again, Rafa loves control. And in Mike Ashley and Newcastle he’s found the perfect combination – a club and owner desperate to be led out of the wilderness. Even if it meant handing the reigns over completely – something Ashley never seemed willing to do with past managers.
The way the Spaniard played his hand in the summer was classic Benitez, negotiating his terms with the hard-ball stance of a manager who believed he could guarantee better days ahead. Rafa’s time at Liverpool fizzled out because he could never have the main say over transfers and key policy he wanted.
And he knew only at a place desperate for success like Newcastle could he get the kind of control a top six Premier league club just wouldn’t sanction.
Summer signings Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie, Ciaran Clark and Grant Hanley have all been early successes – especially Gayle who has scored 11 in 13 games so far.
A red-hot goalscorer in the Championship like Gayle can paper over a lot of cracks and Newcastle need a lot more quality than they’ve got if they want to make a splash when they get back in the Premier League. But Rafa will have a plan for that and his first priority is to manage the crazy Championship schedule which he appears to be doing just nicely.
While Benitez has the vibe of a man who knows what he wants and is on track to accomplish his goals, Sunderland boss David Moyes looks shot to bits just three months into job. Moyes looks a beaten man already and listening to him he sounds like he’s not had his finger on the pulse of today’s football for a while.
During the summer Rafa went into Newcastle and swept away the stench of failure with a cleverly executed shake-down. But Moyes is still carrying deadwood, has-been players and right now you can’t see it turning around.
Like Newcastle, Sunderland have always been one of those clubs you just think need to be dusted down, given a cuddle, a proper manager and they could fly.
But while Newcastle finally look to have got it right Sunderland are a million miles away. If they go down with that squad I’d fear from them in the Championship. And that’s a Fact.’