Rafa Benitez riding into Toon in March 2016 was a quite amazing turnaround
No wonder Newcastle United fans are happy to get carried away with the slightest encouragement.
It is now almost seven years since Chris Hughton was given the push by Mike Ashley and there have been some long long years in the meantime.
Rafa Benitez riding into Toon in March 2016 was a quite amazing turnaround, fans impressed not only by the fact that he saw a very likely relegation-doomed Newcastle as the right step after Real Madrid – but also the fact that it was he who approached Newcastle United wanting the job.
The Spaniard could see the potential of the club even in desperate times and obviously a plan was forming in his head as to how long-term he could transform Newcastle United.
If Newcastle could have survived that 2015/16 season it may have given him a shortcut to that longer-term positivity but maybe a 12 month shake-up in the Championship may not have been such a negative.
In bouncing back immediately you can gather momentum and maybe having achieved his second relegation in such a short space of time, it did help push towards Mike Ashley finally accepting that selling the club might be the best option.
Under his ‘model’ of ownership, even the Sports Direct supremo could possibly see that it would always carry a risk of another relegation, one where he wouldn’t be so lucky to have a Rafa Benitez or Chris Hughton to rescue him. Possibly third time unlucky?
After nine matches the Newcastle fans aren’t dusting off the passports but obviously hopes/expectations are bound to rise with each passing performance and points added to the total.
Interesting though that ahead of Burnley, Rafa Benitez says it is far too soon to judge this season after so few matches, insisting he wants to wait until January when it will be 21 played and only 17 to go.
It is an interesting concept to have a manager trying to rein in the aspirations of supporters, rather than the likes of Pardew and McClaren who would feverishly grasp onto any fleeting piece of positivity and claim it was a sign of success on the horizon.
We all hope supporters collectively will react in the right way if/when the luck starts going against Rafa and his players sometime this season, which it surely will.
Having said all that, a new owner completing a takeover would sweep everybody off their feet.
Let’s hope that this can happen whilst Rafa Benitez is still getting a great tune out of his relatively budget squad.
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