Rafa Benitez led Newcastle United to Premier League safety with five or six matches still remaining.
After being badly let down by Mike Ashley, the Spaniard has won widespread praise, not just from Newcastle fans, for the job he has done at St James Park.
Indeed, only this [Saturday] morning it was announced that Rafa Benitez was one of six nominations for the Premier League Manager of the Season award.
However, despite Premier League safety being achieved some weeks ago, on Friday Rafa made clear that things have to change at Newcastle before he commits beyond the year he has left on his current contract.
The Newcastle Manager yet again citing a lack of backing in the transfer market from Mike Ashley, saying this can’t continue if he is to stay and try to progress the club.
Responding to this, Ed Malyon – Sports Editor at The Independent, has had a go at the United boss, saying: ‘The problem with Rafa is he will always want more…rarely a sweet spot where he gets what he wants and is happy with that. Fighting follows Rafa wherever he goes – Valencia, Liverpool, Inter, Madrid, Newcastle – but I’m sure it’s the owners’ fault every time.’
I’m not an expert on other clubs Rafa Benitez has been at but what I do know for sure is that it’s pretty ridiculous to include Newcastle United in this argument/generalisation.
A host of players demanded a move after relegation in 2016 as well as a load of others having to be cleared out, Rafa Benitez creating a £40m transfer surplus whilst still winning promotion as champions. I don’t remember any complaints back in summer 2016 from Rafa Benitez, claiming he wasn’t happy and demanded more.
However, when we got to January 2017, Rafa made clear when not a single player was bought that ‘promises’ from Mike Ashley had been broken to back the manager.
Summer 2017 was more of the same, players were bought but it was a low net spend, as the other promoted clubs massively outspent Newcastle. Rafa once again saying promises hadn’t been kept and he couldn’t even compete with Huddersfield and Brighton on transfer fees and wages.
January 2018, with relegation threatening, Ashley blocked Rafa Benitez from buying any players, having to settle for loans, with two of the three only arriving on the very final day of the transfer window.
Rafa Benitez was happy with the first transfer window but gutted with he way he has been treated in the next three, how could he be happy after that?
Ed Malyon has had his say on social media and some entertaining replies from Newcastle [and Liverpool] fans.
Ed Malyon – Sports Editor of The Independent:
“The problem with Rafa is he will always want more.
“There is rarely a sweet spot where he gets what he wants and is happy with that.
“Good coach, but that causes problems.
“You can like Rafa, he’s been good for Newcastle, but he gets in these scrapes at every club.
“I don’t really care what you [Newcastle fans] have to say about it because it’s true.
“Fighting follows Rafa wherever he goes – Valencia, Liverpool, Inter, Madrid, Newcastle – but I’m sure it’s the owners’ fault every time.”
‘You think he enjoys not having money to spend?
‘I hope he keeps on fighting Mike Ashley. I’m sure he’d prefer having the money and not having to fight.’
‘Ed you have had a mare here mate.’
‘Rafa isn’t the problem here it is the incompetence of mike Ashley and Lee Charnley to do their part of the job.’
‘Why is that a problem? Why shouldn’t he aspire to be better?
‘There’s not a manager out there that doesn’t want more than they have – surely a normal trait in the best managers?
‘Fact is, if we don’t give him a chance to achieve things here, another club will. Good for him.’
“The problem with Rafa is”
‘No point reading any drivel that follows that to be honest.’
‘So you’re saying he likes the rows….give it a rest.’
(Liverpool fan) Keep Khan:
‘What makes you think he enjoys it?
‘Wouldn’t it have been better for his career if he worked for better owners who gave him the resources ?
‘Valencia didn’t pay out his contract.. Hicks and Gillette almost led LFC into administration .. Ashley is useless owner… and he had no “political” issues at Madrid or Inter,was raved about by the Napoli president, and did really well under Abramovich ,but you stick to your story.’
‘The man is quality and in trying to get blood out of Ashley’s stone he can poke the bear as much as he likes.
‘As soon as the Jan transfer window shut it settled and having signed Kennedy and Dubravka it changed our team, momentum and season.
‘Ergo – Rafa was right. Fancy that.’
“He will always want more” – this is precisely what I want from the manager of my football club. This is an asset, not a problem.’
‘I think you see his striving for perfection as a negative because typically you don’t want arguments / politics at a Club.
‘However, this is exactly what NUFC needs (which is why the fans defend him). Ashley wants to do the absolute bare minimum. Rafa wants absolute perfection.’
(Liverpool fan) Levi:
‘If you are using Hicks and Gillette taking Liverpool within days of liquidation to make a point against Rafa to suit your agenda then it shows how clueless and naive you are.
‘Those owners tore our club apart, lied to the manager, staff and fans. We sold to buy.
‘Think Rafas net was 10m a season? He fought for our club big time.
‘We nearly lost our club because of Hicks and Gillett. I suggest you read the epic swindle and you’ll probably never mention Rafa’s ownership troubles at Liverpool again. Unless it’s to heap praise on him.’
‘It’s odd how mainstream sports media is so desperate for us to turn on Rafa. Why?
‘Through thick and thin, he’s been our constant. He’s been our cool head. Infinitely more capable than the last 3 managers.
‘He stays, we succeed. Why would we complain?’
‘Well aware of his career. Still doesn’t mean he isn’t right to be ambitious and to bring this up in a Newcastle context is an incredible overlooking of the current situation.
‘Rafa still in defecit spending since taking over.’
‘You need to know more about NUFC to understand the fans defence of Rafa.
‘After almost a decade of complete apathy from the top down, Rafa has given some hope, he will fight Ashley rather than sit back and be thankful.
‘Politics at NUFC is not gratuitous, it’s essential.’