As Newcastle United don’t have a game this weekend (until we face Aston Villa on Monday night) I decided to keep a close eye on the midweek games. In particular Arsenal against Bayern Munich and the subsequent turn of events this week down in London have thrown up some interesting reports of who could/should replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. If, as expected, he is to leave the club in the summer and the one name who tops the rumour/speculation mill is our own Rafa Benitez.
At present it’s just pointless paper talk but in the summer it could easily happen.
Arsenal’s problems are Arsenal’s problems, not to concern me in the slightest, but it is worth a look at how it could affect our club, Newcastle United.
The malaise at Arsenal has been created by one man, Arsene Wenger himself. Arsenal always seem to have a side that is capable of winning the Premier League, just in a couple of years time. A couple of pieces of the jigsaw are always missing, be it a top quality goalkeeper to back up the lovely free-flowing football they play, or a clinical striker to finish the many chances they create, or even a bit of steel to see out games instead of dropping needless points that end up costing them a trophy.
Only once during Arsene Wenger’s reign did they have an undeniably faultless side and that was when they went the whole season unbeaten way back in 2003/04.
That is the problem at a club the size of Arsenal, 2004 was the last time they won the Premier League, 13 years is far too long to be classed as nearly men, It wouldn’t happen at Chelsea or either of the Manchester clubs.
Since losing out in the Champions League final in 2006 they have only won 2 FA cups (we would kill for such a paltry return) but they have qualified for the Champions League in 19 consecutive seasons, a brilliant run. But all things must come to an end and when Arsene does leave Arsenal his legacy will be there for all to see, albeit not quite as trophy laden legacy as it should have been.
So who will they turn to down at The Emirates?
They will surely consider a young rising star from Europe but unlikely to appoint a young British manager as it doesn’t seem to be fashionable these days. They may well look at a current Premier League quality manager that is out of work (if such a candidate exists) – but my concern is if they look at a Champions League quality manager who has won the thing, who has experience of managing huge clubs and managing huge players.
My concerns are heightened when the club I support have a loose cannon as an owner, who has a history of wild snap decision making and a tendency to not back managers who can deliver reasonable success.
Our next four games will shape how the remainder of the season will go and I hope we are still in pole position by the time we enter April, for this will surely see us over the line and back in the Premier League where the hard work begins and where our owner/manager relationship will be tested.
I hope that in May, Rafa Benitez isn’t the perfect man for the job at Arsenal.
I also hope he isn’t available in the summer to anybody else.
I hope our owner realises how perfect a fit he could be in North London, at a club that will back their manager no matter what. I never dreamt that this club could attract such a high profile manager as Rafa Benitez and now that he’s here I certainly don’t want to see him go the way others have over the last 10 years under the current regime.
It’s been well documented by various people who’ve been at the club and treated shamefully, that Mike Ashley knows nothing about football.
Evidence of that fact is there in abundance but it would be scandalous if after all the lessons that Mike Ashley has been taught over the last decade, he learns from none of them.
In Rafa We Trust!
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])