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Celtic fans convinced Rafa Benitez is favourite to take over this summer – Remarkable

3 years ago

Rafa Benitez is once again the name on the lips of all Celtic fans.

With it very much in the balance as to whether Mike Ashley is even going to try and convince the much decorated manager to stay.

Newcastle supporters fear the worst, as the much reported (and very very belated) meeting between NUFC owner and manager is set to take place in the coming days.

The total lack of urgency/interest shown by Mike Ashley, of great concern to Newcastle fans AND raising hopes of supporters of other clubs.

There has been an ongoing back story in recent months where Celtic fans and media north of the border have spoken about the possibility of Rafa Benitez going to Glasgow.

The latest excitement/raised expectations have come alongside/on the back of Rafa now being the short priced favourite to get the Celtic job, with some bookmakers.

That is meaningless in itself, as it takes next to no money at all for odds to change on these manager markets, plus of course the bookies might just do it (put Rafa at a short price) to get publicity and dupe punters into piling on with their own money.

Last month, Celtic legend Davie Provan (see below) best summed up the chances of getting Rafa Benitez to take the job, saying  it would take ‘Chloroform’ to get the Spaniard in charge at Celtic.

I don’t blame the Celtic fans for dreaming that this is an actual possibility but it is surely laughable to think that the job could remotely interest Rafa, regardless of whether he stays at Newcastle or not.

Yes we all know Celtic are well supported and if they were in the (English!) Premier League they might be able to do this and that if they had the PL revenues BUT that isn’t reality.

Instead, they play in a very small league that has no interest to anybody outside Scotland.

Of Celtic’s 11 league opponents this season, only one averages 18,000 or more home crowds and seven of the 11 average less than 7,000. Some clubs getting only two or three thousand crowds.

There is no way Rafa Benitez is going to drop into this minor league after competing in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A.

Some Celtic fans will say the lure of European football but now there is a Champions League place for the winners of the Europa League, Celtic have zero chance of competing in even that now. Evidenced by these last few years where Premier League clubs won it two years ago (Man Utd), Arsenal were beaten in semis last season by eventual winners Atletico, whilst two PL clubs are in this season’s final.

Celtic can’t pay the wages and transfer fees, Scottish football earns a pittance around the world because nobody is interested in paying  decent money for the TV rights.

These last three seasons have seen Celtic pay out only £32m on transfer fees (2016/17  £8m, £11m 2017/18 and £13m 2018/19).

This past season saw Celtic sign five players on free transfers and five on loan.

For a manager who wants to compete in the final 10 years of his career, there is absolutely nothing in Glasgow to attract Rafa Benitez.

There is a glass ceiling with no realistic way of going higher. Which is where Newcastle United are different, run in an ambitious way there is every reason why Newcastle could increase revenues to a massive degree on commercial, matchday and broadcast.

The potential is massive and that is what attracted Rafa in the first place.

If/when Rafa Benitez leaves Newcastle United, I can’t say for sure where he would go, but it certainly wouldn’t be Celtic.

The Mag – 14 April 2019:

Rafa Benitez had the look of a man on Friday night, who knows that it is job done.

Newcastle beating Leicester and now 10 points clear of the relegation zone with four games to play.

It is also now exactly four weeks until the manager takes charge of the final match of his current NUFC contract.

Plenty of rumours and speculation but short on action so far, with fears that Mike Ashley has no intention of doing anything close to what it would take to convince the Spaniard to stay on.

As to alternative clubs Rafa Benitez could move to, that is also provoking a lot of debate.

Recently, Newcastle fans and neutrals alike found it laughable when reports emerged claiming Celtic were a credible destination if Rafa doesn’t get any satisfaction from Ashley.

The idea of a manager of Rafa’s standing dropping down to Celtic in the uncompetitive Scottish League, not taken seriously, no matter how much Celtic fans tried to convince themselves it could happen.

Now a Celtic playing legend has joined the debate and agrees with Newcastle supporters and neutrals, rather than hopeful Celtic fans.

Davie Provan declaring that you ‘would need chloroform to get Rafa to Glasgow’ if he left Newcastle United.

Having played nine years for Celtic, Provan says ‘I’d give my right arm’ for his old club to land Rafa Benitez.

However, he accepts there is zero chance of that happening, with Celtic fans having to accept that the most likely outcome will be Neil Lennon getting the job permanently.

As for Newcastle fans, now that Premier League safety is realistically here now, they will expect a quick resolution to Rafa’s contract extension, or fear the worst.

Davie Provan speaking to The Scottish Sun:

‘Peter Lawwel must have chuckled at the names being linked to the Celtic job.

Bookies have taken money for Rafa Benitez, Roberto Martinez and Andre Villas-Boas.

Martinez and Villas-Boas quickly ruled themselves out, leaving Benitez as the last man standing.

Frankly, Lawwell would need chloroform to get Rafa to Glasgow.

I’d give my right arm to see the Spaniard succeed Brendan Rodgers.

No disrespect to Neil Lennon, but Benitez is in a different bracket.

A Rafa appointment would be like throwing a fox into a hen hut.

Benitez doesn’t defer to directors, he makes his demands and expects them to be met.

For the last three years, he’s had Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley up against the wall demanding better players.

During that time he’s played the Geordie faithful like a fiddle. Benitez could torch the local hospital and still have Magpie punters eating out of his hand.

In contrast, on the rare occasion Ashley attends St James’ Park, the Sports Direct tycoon needs his own security team. In the battle for the hearts and minds of supporters, Rafa has outfoxed Ashley.

…the Celtic job has lost it’s glamour.

When Celtic fan Owen Coyle knocked it back to stay with Burnley, alarm bells should have sounded.’


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