Newcastle United dragged themselves out of the bottom three with a surprise win at West Ham.
With one point from nine games up against a West Ham team that had experienced a mini rival of seven points from nine under David Moyes, this wasn’t how teh script was supposed to go.
Merson, Owen, Lawrenson and the rest of them had all forecast/hoped for a West Ham victory.
With no doubt many having already prepared a half-term report of David Moyes proving British managers are back in fashion and are what’s needed when clubs are in trouble, whilst Newcastle going into Christmas in the relegation zone and no doubt feverish anticipation that they might see Rafa Benitez give it up as a bad job at St James Park.
Newcastle’s win at the London Stadium isn’t proof of surefire safety this season but it did rubber stamp why Newcastle fans are still so wholeheartedly behind Rafa Benitez.
They know he has an incredibly difficult job after Mike Ashley failed to properly support him in the transfer market and he is getting the very best out of what he has got.
Like every manager he doesn’t always get it right but after such a poor run of results, Rafa inspired his team to play attacking football and by far the better quality on Saturday, despite having no choice but to rely on Diame and Saivet in the engine room.
BBC Sport have produced a half-term report on Newcastle United and the other 19 clubs after the weekend’s games.
Their Chief Football Writer Phil McNulty summing things up at St James Park…’Here we go again – never far from a drama (or a relegation) at Newcastle United’.
Things weren’t always brilliant before Mike Ashley arrived on Tyneside but McNulty’s words are indeed a perfect reflection of life under the Fat Controller.
Can Rafa at last break that disgraceful way of running a football club and will he get the much needed takeover to help him?
BBC Sport’s main man thinks Newcastle United is once again at a real crisis point and he says ‘Rafael Benitez will not be fooled’.
Mike Ashley has misled and undermined Rafa in the last two transfer windows but this time the United boss has already laid down his marker, saying he needs to have his transfer targets landed by 20 January or….who knows what will happen?
Premier League half-term report: How do your team rate this season?
Phil McNulty – BBC Sport Chief Football Writer:
Newcastle United, 15th
“Here we go again – never far away from a drama (or a relegation) at Newcastle United.
“Early season optimism has been replaced by a sense of crisis and unrest after a run of defeats set against the backdrop of £300m takeover talks between owner Mike Ashley and businesswoman Amanda Staveley.
“How the whole club needed that win at West Ham.
“Rafael Benitez will not be fooled. He needs funds freed up quickly for January or Newcastle will struggle.”
“Benitez is hero-worshipped on Tyneside but has looked increasingly careworn and frustrated (as he has before in his managerial career) as the politics continues behind the scenes.
“Will only be truly satisfied when a takeover is concluded – and maybe not even then.”
(See Alan Shearer’s reaction to the win HERE)
(Read the instant Newcastle fan/writer reaction to beating West Ham HERE)
(National journalist launches astonishing attack on Newcastle fans and Rafa Benitez after win over West Ham – read it HERE)
(Read the match ratings of all Newcastle players HERE)
(David Moyes reluctant to credit Newcastle with the win – read HERE)