Many Liverpool fans keep a close eye on how Rafa Benitez is getting on.
Little wonder when it is a manager who brought you the Champions League trophy with a very average team.
Very interesting to see what Liverpool fans are now saying about the situation at Newcastle United.
Overall, they clearly have a far better grasp of what exactly is happening at St James Park compared to most other neutrals.
Whilst you will always get a few dissenters, the overwhelming majority are supportive of Rafa.
The most interesting, and surprising, comments for me, are those Liverpool fans who still see Newcastle United as a potential threat if Mike Ashley sold up and we ever got our act together.
Liverpool fans comment via their top Liverpool FC Forum message board:
‘For me Rafa has done a fantastic job there, but given no funds to strengthen, he’s got his hands tied behind his back.
Apparently he loves it up there as it reminds him of when he was at Liverpool, but his patience must be running out at this point. For me, Rafa deserves better than having a **** house of an owner like Ashley.’
‘No idea how they finished 10th last year.
Think it was following a similarly ominous looking start too so I’ll never write them off, but hardly surprising to see them struggle.
Shambolic owner and their only recruitment comes from relegated sides or football league teams, hence being left with a squad that is possibly no better than the best teams in the Championship.
I think Rafa has done well, all things given. Not sure what more he could do. He doesn’t have the side to try and play particularly expansively, and in turn no defensive solidity to try and build on.’
‘He may spring a surprise and keep this Newcastle team up. If he does he would have performed a miracle.’
‘Long may it continue.
Newcastle have potential to be a dangerous side if they get some decent money behind them. To me it’s just another potential rival we don’t have to worry about.
I’ve got no sympathy for Rafa really, the man is salted, knew what he was walking in to and nobody is forcing him to be there.’
‘It is criminal (albeit good for lesser competition for us) that Newcastle are so skint given their fanbase, merchandising and 50k in every week and that’s Ashleys fault
Rafa did a good job last year. Finishing lower mid table was a good result for them……relegation however would be a failure.’
‘Depends on 3 things really; mainly expectations
What the owners expect- in which case if they want more, put the money where their mouth is.
What the fans expect- see the owners.
What Rafa expects- Personally I don’t think he has anything to prove there, depends if he feels happy plodding along or not.
Its pretty simples really. If the fans want more they should put pressure on the owners, if the owner wants more they should put their money where their mouth is- if Rafa wants more he needs to give an ultimatum to the owners.’
‘Rafa deserves better, however I disagree that he has done a good job.
His tactics like Mourinho are outdated, he gave no chance to Mitrovic who is 10 times the player Joselu is yet he froze him out, sent him on loan and sold him.
Even the Newcastle fans are getting frustrated by his team selection and subsitutions.
He has his favourites always has.’
‘I’m not sure that his tactics are outdated more than his group of players are absolute garbage and not capable of playing good football.
That said, i also cant have too much sympathy for him as he knew – or should have known – what that job would be like.’
‘I agree he is somewhat outdated. He’s still a good manager though. I think he has done a good job. The trouble is Ashley is banking on Rafa doing what he did last season. This is a season too far though, it looks like.’
‘While not as damaging as what Mourinho has done, all the constant talk about the Newcastle team not being good enough & needing so much etc. has gone to his head (& his players’ heads).
Putting up with the ultra defensiveness against the big teams is one thing, but similar against Cardiff or Palace is unacceptable, especially when a lower division team has also knocked you out of a cup (& therefore showing that having a go with lesser players can bring results).
Like Mourinho is now realising, the big jobs are coming to an end for both of them. They probably need to both try and get their National team jobs after the current incumbents are done.’
‘Ashley will sell but he wants a full pound of flesh. He’s got a great income from TV and the ground so he’s not bothered as it’s profitable. He believes the clubs worth north of Â£400 mill. Which is steep but then again could be a bargain in these inflationary times.’
‘Benitez finished 10th last season with arguably the weakest squad in the league. I’m not sure how anyone can say he hasn’t done a good job there with absolutely no financial backing.’
‘Think only Huddersfield had a weaker squad. Looks like finishing in the top 10 convinced Ashley that transfer funds weren’t needed.’
‘This season feels like a season from hell for Newcastle. Everything started coming apart during the summer and it has spilled over. Rafa did really well last season but this season has been a struggle.’
‘Why is everyone writing Rafa off? He’s managing Newcastle that’s all. He’s still a top manager and consistently gives the top teams a very difficult game. He took points off quite a few top sides last season and this season they have had a very tough first few fixtures and only narrowly been defeated.
Rafa can do much better than Newcastle as a club and deserves a top job. If he was managing any of our rivals he’d have them challenging.
People compared his style to mourinho but this is nonsense. Rafa is not a defensive manager by default. He strikes balance between defence and attack.’
‘Surprised to see so many negative comments about Rafa on here.
He’s doing a great job and will end up a Toon legend.’
‘Rafa has a foot out of the door mentally in my opinion… He hasn’t received the backing he wants and I think he has completely lost interest… Props to him for trying to stick it out though… I can think of a few managers who might have walked on their own accord to go to greener pastures.’
‘Don’t think he is doing a good job at all, the squad is nowhere near as weak as some make out on here and the majority of their poor results are down to his negative tactics at times.
I like Rafa but currently he is doing a job as good as Warnock is.’
‘I don’t think he’s doing a great job either.
He’s receiving great sympathy due to hate toward the owener from all quarters. As far as the football pitch goes, he’s doing a poor job.’
‘The Newcastle fans love Rafa – and rightly so. They’d be a top six club with Rafa and a new owner.’
‘The Newcastle squad is terrible. They have, at a push, one player who would interest a club above them in the league. Everything else is rubbish that could be playing in the Championship and nobody would glance in their direction.’
‘What do people expect Rafa to do with that gang of championship *****? He’s not been backed at all. Mike Ashley is Jabba the Hut. If Rafa gets the boot, Newcastle fans will riot.’
‘He’s done his duty there. Got them promoted and finished 10th.
Now I’d be looking to leave if I were him.’
‘Shelvey and Lascelles are the only two outright Prem players in that squad.’
‘If he was sacked who would Ashley turn to ? He ain’t getting a manager in Rafas bracket any time soon, the fans would hate him even more if that were possible.’
‘I think it is a miracle that there is not a full out revolt at Newcastle.
I am not blinkered in terms of Benitez. If I for one minute thought that he should be doing better with the players at his disposal, I would say it.
But, no. He is the only thing keeping that club from imploding. He should be getting praise and not be getting criticised in any way whatsoever.’
‘I love the fact that he is sticking by them.
Good old Rafa.’
‘Their first target is the 11 points Derby got 9 or 10 years ago. Don’t wanna be holding that record, but they very well might.’
‘Only one person to blame for this mess and that is Mike Ashley. He was expecting Rafa to get him out the **** again without investing in the squad. This is all on Ashley.’
‘In the last 3 years Warner At Huddersfield has spent £70m net.
Rafa has spent -£19m…so about £90m more for Huddersfield… a club that that gets around half the attendance.
‘Let’s not forget that.
He has the fans on his side.
They know who to protest against.’