Garth Crooks has named his Premier League team of the season.

He has also named his manager of the season…

No surprise that no Newcastle players feature in the team but equally, no surprise that Garth Crooks makes Rafa Benitez his manager of the season.

He has sung the Spaniard’s praises throughout the season, applauding him for the job he has done at St James Park despite the shocking lack of support from Mike Ashley.

In naming Rafa his manager of the season, Garth Crooks has also laid out the stark reality, as the fans wait to see what will happen, as Benitez is refusing to sign an extended contract until Mike Ashley convince him things will change.

Crooks sees two potential paths ahead: ‘Give Benitez the resources and he would do what Kevin Keegan failed to do, and win Newcastle a trophy. Don’t give him the resources to compete with the very best and he will leave – and quite rightly.’

Only a fool wouldn’t recognise the above as the reality.

Time for Mike Ashley to do things properly at last and not hide behind empty PR statements.

Garth Crooks:

“Manager of the Season – Rafa Bentez.

“I was asked recently who were my top three managers this season. Without a moment’s hesitation I said Rafael Benitez, Sean Dyche and Chris Hughton – in that order.

“I never expected Burnley to qualify for Europe, for Brighton to survive a season in the Premier League, or for Newcastle to finish with 44 points, ensuring safety with games to spare having started the season with seven Championship players in the team.

“Anyone who has watched Newcastle United this season will have observed Benitez and his boys refusing to compromise one iota on the brand of football their fans want to see.

“I wish I could say the same for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United.

“If Newcastle have lost a game they have done so with their dignity intact. They have taken the opposition on trying to play.

“There have been times when they have been outplayed, even outclassed, but they have never turned their backs on giving their fans 100%, which you have to do when playing for the Magpies.

“That is why Newcastle fans love Rafa Benitez, because they have seen the Spaniard turn their team from a Championship squad into a credible Premier League outfit.

“Give Benitez the resources and he would do what Kevin Keegan failed to do, and win Newcastle a trophy.

“Don’t give him the resources to compete with the very best and he will leave – and quite rightly.”



  • porciestreet

    If only twer that simple. We as Newcastle fans are permanently left hovering in a void . Lies, more lies , damned lies and deception.
    Mike Ashley is not a fit and proper person to be chair off one of the biggest and oldest institutions in the country.
    Is there nothing in the Premier League that stipulates regulation regarding fit an proper status…if not, there bloody well ought to be.
    It is time that the football authorities and major media outlets took this crook to task……or is there a lack of backbone. ??????
    No one person is ever too big to ensure not being dealt such a blow , it just needs balls to deliver it.

    • mentalman

      fans interpretation of fit and proper is different to the actual requirements of being fit and proper

      • porciestreet

        I fully understand that but hey, surely the whole football community knows by now that this illegitimate son of a Cockney git is gradually and very steadily destroying our club. It seems to be a deliberate move
        Something HAS to done.

        • mentalman

          He’s got a club running on a reasonably well basis without making massive loses and they have finished in the top half of the premier league, there’s a lot in the football community would say he is running the club well.

          The only people with any interest in doing anything are the fans and we have little if any power

  • Wor Monga

    Excellent this from Crooks…because he knows exactly how many other managers that have regularly won titles and trophies at some of the top European clubs who would have risked staying at a club that somebody else had effectively taken down into a countries second division…and then have to face that unknown league without 4 of the most valuable and ever present players at the club and leave him scrambling around to pick up as many experienced players as he could find among the bargain basement offerings, in a very short time…

    …the answer is none would have stayed and risked more failure that could easily lead to a second relegation, and draw a line through any chances of any further top club success, but after an immediate promotion to the PL his players have struggled to score and been rubbished by the media (and the keyboard crusaders on here), but they have never lost their brilliant organisation and strength at the back which has paid off in terms of a magnificent goal difference, which would ultimately have kept them up, and has then gained us a top 10 finish…

    …Rafa gets my vote, and I suspect that would apply to every other Toon supporter on the planet!!!

  • That was a low blow against Keegan. Even if Rafa is backed to spend 200m I still don’t think we can beat City/Man Utd. for 1st and 2nd for at least a few more years now.
    Getting into the top 6 is what Newcastle need to do and stay there.
    That is a minimum of 64-66 points per season and that is a lot of points in the Prem.
    I say with 50-80m to spend Newcastle should be challenging for 55-60 points next season. Will this get the to Europe? I think it won’t be enough but it should give us the players required for a good Cup run and Rafa has a chance of winning silverware and going for Europe even without a Top 6 finish and I think this is what the club should aim at. Top 10 is enough but a Cup win will Light The Streets of Newcastle with joy and take us to Europe!

  • Cockneytrev

    Never used to like Crooks, but this season seems to have a soft spot for us,,

  • Rich Lawson

    I frequently don’t agree with Crooks on Football Focus but he has got this spot on.

  • Peter

    Well said Garth… one of the few London-based pundits who gets it…