Rafa Benitez is in a very strong position at Newcastle United now.

It seems a very long time ago when many people questioned the Spaniard’s sanity in being  prepared to drop down to the Championship, only months after being in charge at arguably the biggest club in the World.

Newcastle were in freefall when Rafa had arrived in March 2016 and even an unbeaten six game run to end the season, which included a 5-1 hammering of Spurs and comeback draws against both Liverpool & Man City, couldn’t retrieve the hopeless situation created by Mike Ashley, Graham Carr, Steve McClaren and many others.

The narrative went, that if Rafa Benitez failed at Newcastle in the second tier, then any hopes of top jobs in the future would be ruined.

However, the Champions League winning manager did an astonishing job in the Championship, promotion as champions AND a £40m profit in the transfer market.

Despite no buys allowed in either January 2017 or January 2018 and a minimal net spend in summer 2017 – Huddersfield and Brighton both having far higher net spends – Rafa Benitez can now look back on a magnificent job this season.

Saturday’s results mean that any small lingering fears of relegation have now been swept away, 10 points clear of the drop zone and at least one game in hand on all but one club below.

There are actually quite a few clubs below as well now, Newcastle in 10th place ahead of today’s game against Arsenal, with Rafa Benitez and the fans dreaming of going even higher.

Beating a tired Gunners side with nothing now to play for in the league, would give the Magpies every chance of ending the season ahead of Leicester and Everton, who are currently 8th and 9th.

Apart from a few bitter Sunderland fans, everybody else has already now come around to the opinion that actually Newcastle fans were right all along, that Rafa has done a brilliant job in very difficult circumstances this season.

However, it would be the cherry on top of the icing if Newcastle could retain a place in the top half and then get eighth place.

Rather than tainted, Rafa Benitez has surely seen his stock significantly rise, after doing such a great job at a notoriously difficult club, with an impossible owner.

Last year Rafa said it was possible he could stay at Newcastle for a decade or more as he sees it as a great long-term project.

The reason he came to Newcastle United in the first place was because of the potential he could see and nothing he had seen since had changed that.

Asked to revisit the idea of staying at Newcastle for 10 years or more, Rafa Benitez has told Sky Sports that yes this is still in his mind, as he sees it as a ‘project’ to work on long-term, where he can work with and improve players/the team over time.

However, he adds…’but I like to win’ as well.

He wants to be ‘competitive’ and to do that it ‘means you have to spend some money because if not, you cannot compete now and win something’.

Rafa comes up against a manger today who he has a lot of respect for, Arsene Wenger is now aged 68 and in his long-term project has totally transformed Arsenal, making them the club they are today, including their excellent stadium. Even if so many of their fans treat him so disgracefully.

Imagine if Rafa stayed at Newcastle for even half the 20+ years Wenger has been in North London?

It would be a great early birthday present (Rafa turns 58 on Monday) if Newcastle beat Arsenal this afternoon and if the Spaniard did stay for 10 years at St James Park, he would still only be 65 years old.

Once again we come to the crux of the problem, Mike Ashley has to properly back Rafa Benitez this summer and let him have total freedom to work in the transfer market OR he has to arrange a sale of the club ASAP now the relegation question has been answered, and let somebody else come in who can work positively with the manager.

The alternative if one of these two scenarios don’t happen, doesn’t bear thinking about.

Rafa Benitez:


“What I say is you need a project.

“I like to work with young players, I like to improve young players, but I like to win.

“I want to be competitive and I want to win.

“You have to have a mix of young players and players with experience – that means you have to spend some money because if not, you cannot compete now and win something.

“I liked the way his [Arsene Wenger’s] team was playing, his behaviour.

“He is someone who respects others and his approach has always been nice, positive.

“He is upset like everyone when you lose or when you think that something is wrong, but still for me, there was a big difference between him and maybe the others [managers at top clubs in the past]

“Because I have been at a top side for a while, you know you have to win.

“Everyone is expecting that you have to win the league, or you have to win the cup, or you have to win the Champions League.

“I know it’s not easy, but at the same time, you know it’s part of the job when you are at a top side.”

  • Mayor Vaughn

    He’s a class act no question about it.

    • ghostrider

      He did take us down. He wasn’t solely to blame for it, obviously but he did take us down.

      • East Durham Mag

        FFS give your head a shake.

        • ghostrider

          Was he manager of this club for 10 games prior to relegation?
          If the answer is yes, then he took us down with arguably the best team ever to be relegated.
          Was it all his fault?…..NO it wasn’t. Was it partly his fault?….yes.

          • Mayor Vaughn

            He was in charge when we went down can’t argue with that, SMB seem to think that means he’s rubbish, not sure what that means for Coleman mind.

          • East Durham Mag

            Conversely he almost kept us up. It was Fatty, Carr, Schteve and Carver (i knew Sir Bobby) who got us relegated.

          • Dillon Tovak

            A wise man told me don’t argue with fools, cos people from a distance can’t tell who’s who.

          • East Durham Mag

            Good point.

          • Lakeland Mag

            Usual nonsense.

          • Cockneytrev

            He is a troll who knows nothing about football,,
            Best to ignore him,,

      • Ram Kishore

        Now u r talking without logic and u know that?

      • Lakeland Mag

        No, he was the manager when we went down, there’s a big difference. If McLaren had been sacked a few games earlier Benitez would have kept us up.

  • Ba ba.

    Ya joking #rafaoot. .. .he’s a dinosaur, past his sell by date, tactics a load of tosh… . Can’t you remember what happened … .. .oh wait it’s all gone quiet 🤫 on that front sssssshhhhhhhh. 👍

    • ghostrider

      It’s all gone quite because Rafa managed to find his reality brain and started to use it to change things up which was paramount if we were to move forward.
      He deserved all the stick he got from me and he’ll get it again if he reverts back to the trash he fed us earlier.
      There was a reason why I didn’t have a go at the players earlier on…because it wasn’t their fault.

      However, I’m also big enough to applaud the man when he gets it right and gives the fans something to shout about in a positive manner.

      • Ba ba.

        Right o.. He asked for four singings got two worked a miracle.
        You must be foaming at the mouth he’s succeeded…. You were desperate for him to fail, the things you said and posted on here we’re a disgrace and I vowed if we turned it around I’d call you out… And I have you should hang your head in shame.
        Coming up with managers names that would do better …with the money and restraints rafa had no one could do what he had done.
        Today was a great day especially for u e lads and lasses there today… No do us a favour and go quietly…. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh theres a good lad.

        • ghostrider

          Today was a great day.

          • Ba ba.


          • ghostrider

            Yesterday was a great day.

    • Geordiegiants

      Bunch of tossers the lot of them.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Forlorn hope if Rafa thinks the Pig will suddenly change his ways,
    you just have to look at the Fake News on players Nufc are watching,
    all 25 or under, all from fields afar and you have to Google them to see who they are.
    There will be no change as long as the Fat Lad owns Newcastle,
    it`s as simple as that !

    • Shields Mag

      Here’s hoping the pig won’t be here much longer!

    • Ram Kishore

      Martin Dubravka was unknown name..
      Come on u know that we can’t sign big names..if at all we sign well known ones.. most of them will be players who have been discarded as underperforming ones in the big clubs.. Then players like Wijnaldum will jump ship soon.
      At the same time, the underperforming players who couldn’t break into bigger club could be a hit here..
      There could be failures too.. u just have too see big name rejects who just had a good time at Sunderland..
      We don’t need big signings..we just need right ones and Rafa’s doing exactly that and I hope he will continue and not make mistakes.
      Let’s hope Ashley changes this season with money coming in

  • Leazes.

    When does the Rafalution start?

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Not anytime soon

    • Peaky

      The what ???

  • Leicester Mag

    Do I agree with every decision Rafa has made? No. Has he made mistakes with certain players? Possibly I will always feel Mitrovic is a natural goal scorer. But I’m in no doubt that we’ll go down quicker than the Titanic if he leaves as his tactical nous in worth 10 points. I know one thing 10 years of Rafa offers light years more hope than 10 years of penny pinching lies under Cashley

  • GlasgowMag

    Our current owner cannot even stick to a 3 month business plan without getting involved and tinkering with it!! The only way in my eyes for the club to move forward is for the fat boy to sell up and move onto his next workhouse project. The next owners will hopefully back Rafa in the transfer market with the main aim to edge our position up the league each season and also have a real go at the cups. As I believe with support give it 3-5 years Rafa will defo get this monkey of our backs and actually win some silverware!!

    • Ram Kishore

      All I want is what Moyes did similarly at Everton but with a go at cups