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Opinion

We are having the wrong conversations about Newcastle United, Rafa Benitez and Steve Bruce

5 months ago
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There are not many conversations, debates and articles about Newcastle United, that don’t mention Rafa Benitez and Steve Bruce.

When anybody is writing / talking about the takeover, invariably the pair of them will be a big part of that conversation as well.

As for the actual matches, before and after, we end up pretty much every time with countless desperate attention seeking pundits, using any result or piece of form to claim as proof of why Steve Bruce should keep the job, with comparisons to Rafa etc etc.

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When was it exactly that somebody decided that when it came to Newcastle United, the entire footballing world had shrank to a point where only Rafa Benitez and Steve Bruce could be considered as a manager of NUFC?

Or indeed, why every single time outsiders have to tell Newcastle fans who should manage their team?

Charlie Nicholas, Kevin Phillips, Robbie Savage, Michael Owen, Mark Lawrenson, Stephen Warnock, Danny Mills, plus loads of other people who have absolutely nothing to do with Newcastle United and I couldn’t care what they think about our club, why do they feel the need to give us the benefit of what they think.

We are not interested in what you think about it.

When the new owners are in control at St James Park, which I am totally convinced they will be, sometime, they will have all kinds of conversations and decisions to be made.

Key to these conversations will simply be the question of who are the best people to be in the most important jobs at Newcastle United.

Who will be the best person to run the club on a day to day basis.

We all assume that Lee Charnley will get booted out but maybe he will suddenly raise his game and pull a couple of £50m / £100m kit and shirt sponsor deals out of the air and amaze us.

Similarly, maybe Joelinton will be knocking in hat-tricks in the remaining six games, thoughts of needing a new centre-forward / goalscorer suddenly forgotten.

As for who should be manager, surely it is simply the same story, who is the very best that the club can attract?

Give me a free choice, no limits, and Steve Bruce wouldn’t be in my top ten. Nor though would be Rafa Benitez.

I would start with Jurgen Klopp, then Pep Guardiola and work my way down the list. Why should it have to be Rafa or Brucey?

I do really like Rafa, Brucey not so much, but neither of them come close to being my favourite Newcastle United manager.

Kevin Keegan is well clear at the top in my time going to matches and then Sir Bobby miles clear of the rest. They both produced exciting winning football, got us excited and allowed us to dare to dream.

The one name that has been previously claimed to be first choice of the imminent new owners, is Mauricio Pochettino.

Most recently there have been claims that he has been turning down interest from other clubs, as though he is waiting for a particular job to open up…

Very bizarrely, you have had some rabid reactions to the idea of Pochettino getting the NUFC job, with maybe best / worst of all the addled brain of Paul Merson seeing him claim Steve Bruce is far better and that the former Spurs boss would probably relegate Newcastle if coming in and buying loads of better players!

Mauricio Pochettino is only in the relative early days of management at a top level, only 48, the Argentine boss’ record is that after a couple of years learning the ropes with relative minnows Espanyol in Spain, Pochetettino then took over Southampton in 2013 and in his only season there they improved from 14th in 2012/13 to 8th under the new manager.

Mauricio Pochettino then completed five full seasons in the Premier League with Tottenham (who finished 6th in 2013/14 before he took over) and his team then finished 5th, 3rd, 2nd, 3rd and 4th.

So four consecutive Champions League qualifications and of course a CL final appearance in 2019, all of this achieved despite Tottenham giving Mauricio Pochettino a far lower budget than other ‘big six’ rivals for transfer fees and wages.

Not wanting to mention either of the other two again BUT you then have Steve Bruce who in his entire 20+ years in management has NEVER finished top eight, compared to somebody like Pochettino who plays great football and has never been outside the top eight so far, indeed four of his six PL seasons bringing top four.

I am not saying it has to be Mauricio Pochettino but his standing is currently far higher than either Benitez or Bruce and he is currently not in a job.

Under new ambitious owners, Newcastle United should strive to attract the very best throughout the club, we can and should do better than either Rafa or Brucey when it comes to the manager’s job, so let those conversations end.

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