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Welcome to a new Gallowgate civil war

12 months ago

Rafa Benitez. Remember him?

He was the serial trophy winner who used to manage Newcastle United before he was forced from his job by one of the most cack-handed regimes ever to run a football club of our stature.

It was all totally avoidable. The two sides should have reached some sort of agreement. It’s shameful that it fell apart. We’re in a new Gallowgate civil war.

This speaks volumes for the Ashley era – which has surely now hit one of its lowest moments, and that’s amid a club record signing. It’s such a joyless existence it feels hard to enjoy the arrival of Joelinton, our new Brazilian Number 9.

Rafa has been gone for one month and we are seeing the real face of this regime once again.

They can gallop ahead with a bone-headed plan not to buy experienced players.

They bring Graham Carr back.

They can cut costs and sell who they like to shore up the coffers. Balancing the ledger comes before footballing acumen.

They can sell the players they like without any issues.

They can save money on the cost of the manager and his coaching team by appointing someone who is just happy to be there.

I genuinely wish Steve Bruce all the luck in the world, but long-term, I fear he’s totally out of his depth. He’ll have to prove a lot of fans wrong in a short space of time.

The three years that we had Rafa, made supporting Newcastle bearable. There was hope and blind faith tat the club might just realise they had to give him more control. They didn’t because they’re stupid.

It feels like the pause button from McClaren’s departure has been turned off and we’re right back at that point.

That Rafa era was a fluke. If stories are to be believed he approached them and took on the basket case. It just so happened his patience lasted a bit longer than Kevin Keegan’s. In the end, the continued malaise proved too much.

A caller on the BBC Radio Newcastle phone in recently launched a blistering attack on Rafa. He slated his signings and the football style he had the team playing.

But he always got the job done and all managers make a few errors on incomings. Rafa was as good as it gets under the current ownership. His departure has precipitated a crisis, even if I get a slight sense he wasn’t universally popular with all of the players.

Remember when Souness followed Robson? Dalglish after Keegan?

This all has echoes of those two infamous moments in our recent history. Some will only realise what we had with Rafa when the new season gets underway and we see how tough his successor finds it, tactically and politically. It really is worth remembering that.

You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton


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