Rafa Benitez guided Newcastle United to an excellent 10th place finish in 2017/18, this was despite an October-December run of nine games producing only one point.
This season, a disastrous summer transfer window where Mike Ashley insisted on a £20m+ transfer profit and signings that did arrive played little part in pre-season, has meant the manager was really up against it.
The first nine matches producing only two points, though seven points from the last three games, has pushed Newcastle up to 14th amid signs of better things to come.
Bizarre timing then, for a report on Saturday that claims ‘At first, fans attributed this poor form to a lack of financial backing from owner Mike Ashley. Now the fans have directed their frustration towards Rafa Benitez instead, as some of the team’s performances have been inexcusable. A lack of spending does not justify a -6 goal difference and only two wins in twelve games.’
Very strange to claim fan unhappiness with Rafa Benitez at all, never mind after two wins in a row.
To cap it all, this bizarre report has put up three possible replacements if Rafa Benitez leaves.
Don’t laugh…but the report claims Antonio Conte or Julen Lopetegui could be the next Newcastle boss under Mike Ashley, I’m sure the former Chelsea and Real Madrid bosses would be queuing up to work for Ashley, with an expectation they would have to make a profit in the transfer market.
Whilst the third name put forward is even better, yes, Sam Allardyce. Bring it on!
The 2018/19 campaign hasn’t started in the way most Newcastle fans thought it would. They came into this season believing their beloved team would once again establish themselves as a mid-table Premier League side with the ambition of going further.
Instead, the Magpies sit 14th in the table, one point above the relegation zone. At first, fans attributed this poor form to a lack of financial backing from owner Mike Ashley.
Now the fans have directed their frustration towards Rafa Benitez instead, as some of the team’s performances have been inexcusable. A lack of spending does not justify a -6-goal difference and only two wins in twelve games.
Either all the players leave in January or the manager gets fired, unfortunately, it’s always more economically viable to serve the coach his marching papers.
Here are three managers who could replace Rafa Benitez at Newcastle.
#3 Sam Allardyce
There isn’t a more experienced and seasoned Premier League manager in history than Sam Allardyce. The 64-year-old is currently taking a break from the stress of the game but a return home to Newcastle would revitalise his career.
Over the course of his managerial career, the Englishman has overseen over 965 games. It’s that pedigree of experience that the Magpies need to salvage their crisis of a season.
Big Sam’s first reign at St. James Park only lasted for 24 games as he became the first man to be sacked in the tyrannical reign of Mike Ashley.
#2 Julen Lopetegui
For Lopetegui, Newcastle is a redemption story waiting to happen. The Spaniard’s free-flowing style of play would transform Mike Ashley’s most valuable asset into an attractive proposition that could go toe to toe with the league’s best.
With players like Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Richie and Joselu and Jamaal Lascelles at St. James Park, the former Madrid manager will have enough players comfortable with the ball at their feet to implement his philosophy.
#1 Antonio Conte
If placed at a team where he doesn’t have to fight with the board, he will succeed. His record speaks itself, seven domestic trophies and title wins in every country he’s managed says it all.
At Newcastle, the 47-year-old will have a group of players that are hard-working, energetic and disciplined. These are the only three traits that an Antonio Conte team needs to do well.