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Opinion

Rafa Benitez was too big for what has become of our club

2 months ago
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Reflecting on the events of a tumultuous close season at St James Park and one thing that seems to stand out, is the bitterness between Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez.

I think that on reflection, the departure was probably inevitable.

Rafa had no trust in Ashley and enjoyed too much support for Ashley ever to be able to win in a media war.

Rafa Benitez was too big for what has become of our club.

Clubs with ambition would seize that opportunity to return to former glories but our owner saw it as a threat.

What has happened since Rafa left, in my opinion backs that up:

Statements from both sides about how much they would have liked to stay together but how it wasn’t possible.

The signing of Carroll to ‘prove’ age isn’t an issue (or fitness or common sense it seems).

The signing of Joelinton to prove we can splash the cash.

We are still comfortably in transfer credit over the last few seasons and I suspect that Carroll has a very ‘terminable’ contract should things go pear-shaped, with heavy incentives against goals and appearances.

The season predictions from the experts give us little to look forward to and I expect a relegation battle that we may not win this year.

Without the tactical nous of Benitez we’re on thin ice, with a squad that, while not stripped as bare as I feared it might be, is still not significantly stronger than last season, and certainly less proven.

Buckle in and enjoy the ride.

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