Rafa Benitez arrived at Newcastle United in March 2016.
After the initial disastrous decision to appoint Steve McClaren in the first place, Mike Ashley left it far too late before he eventually sacked him.
Rafa left with just 10 matches to save the situation.
It proved an impossible ask despite Newcastle ending the season with three wins and three draws in the final six games.
A lot of debate as to what he would now do but Rafa Benitez quickly committed to a new three year contract, despite starting is first full season at St James Park in the Championship.
The rest, as they say, is history.
However, at some point last year, the talk started as to whether a contract extension was going to be signed by the manager.
Very soon we had Rafa Benitez repeatedly asked the question and repeatedly giving the same answer.
The manager stating time after time that he would see what happened in this January 2019 transfer window before making any decision on a new contract.
As we reached the start of this transfer window, the signs weren’t exactly positive. Rafa Benitez saying no transfers were imminent and he hadn’t even been told if he had any money to spend as yet.
The Spaniard has followed this by refusing to answer any questions at the last few press conferences, on a potential club takeover and the transfer window.
We are now 10 days into this January transfer window and with three weeks to go, it looks as feels as if absolutely nothing of any substance if going to happen.
With not a single signing in January 2017 and no buys, only loan, in January 2018, Mike Ashley has form. Never mind the last (summer 2018) window when he (Ashley) insisted on a £20m+ profit on transfer deals rather than backing the manager in any way.
It is now just surely a case of when, not if, Rafa Benitez reaches breaking point this month.
Since promotion in April 2017, all the transfer windows have followed a similar pattern. The manager outlining his hopes ahead of the window opening, days and weeks going by without his first choice targets being landed, either no players or only bargain basement signings being allowed, the manager then letting us know his disgust/unhappiness at what had/hadn’t gone on, before then simply getting on with the job once nothing can be done.
We ave already had the manager’s hopes expressed ahead of this window only for his mood to already change in the final days before it opened, as he as failed to be assured of any backing whatsoever, now we have had 10 days of inaction whilst the window has been live, and now we just are waiting for that next stage to be moved onto. The point when Rafa Benitez lets rip.
For me, everything points to next weekend, the Cardiff match.
Newcastle could well already be in the relegation zone before that game and with Man City at home and Spurs away to follow it, even if Newcastle beat Cardiff at home, the Premier League table could look grim as we move into February.
I believe at either his pre or post-match press conference, Rafa Beneitez will choose to break his silence on this transfer window.
After all, what has he got to lose?
He might as well go all in and crank up the pressure on Mike Ashley to try and get some transfer backing with just less than two weeks of the window to go, rather than wait until the end of the month.
After the Cardiff game, the only Premier League match to be played before the January window shuts is against Manchester City….
Rafa Benitez kicking off after the Cardiff match about the complete lack of backing from Mike Ashley is hardly going to matter when it comes to that Man City match, or indeed the one at Wembley against Spurs that follows.
Rafa needed added quality brought in early who would be able to be involved in this Cardiff match but that hasn’t been the case, so Rafa Benitez has nothing to lose in trying to publicly shame Mike Ashley into doing at least something before January ends.