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Opinion

Simon Jordan with possibly his most bizarre attack on Rafa Benitez…so far

3 weeks ago
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This is superb from Simon Jordan on Rafa Benitez.

That is, superb in the sense that it makes Simon Jordan look even more ridiculous than normal.

During Rafa Benitez’ three years and three months at Newcastle United, the failed Crystal Palace owner had an ongoing fixation with the NUFC manager.

Repeatedly attacking Rafa and indeed the Newcastle fans as well, with some quite ludicrous positions he took up, which almost always involved claiming Mike Ashley was in the right.

Indeed, Simon Jordan was probably only outdone by the laughable Richard Keys during Rafa Benitez’ time at St James Park, as his (Keys’) unexplained hatred of the Spaniard kept prompting him to talk utter nonsense as well about Rafa and the NUFC fans.

Maybe even more strangely, both Richard Keys and Simon Jordan have continued to pursue this vendetta against Rafa Benitez these past two years since his departure from Newcastle Unite, though still their attacks have often managed to include NUFC fans as well, plus Steve Bruce regularly featuring as well, as somebody supposedly doing a brilliant job, indeed probably / definitely better than Rafa.

The possibility of Rafa Benitez becoming Everton manager has already seen Richard Keys a number of time again howling at the moon, now it is the turn of Simon Jordan…

Simon Jordan speaking to Talksport about the possibility of Rafa Benitez becoming the Everton manager:

“I mean, I bet he [Rafa Benitez) is keen [on the Everton job] because it is an opportunity for him and Rafa Benitez is in the Rafa Benitez business.

“Benitez, look, my views on Benitez is that he uses his clubs as a stepping stone.

“He did a decent job at Newcastle…I don’t think his career is in the ascendancy.

“He didn’t go to further his football knowledge, to go to China, he went to China to get paid a big bag of money.

“It hasn’t worked over there because the Chinese league has fallen apart and the quality has dropped and he wants to come back.

“Is that the reason why Everton need a Rafa Benitez?

“Or do Everton need somebody that is going to get hold of it, clear out the dead wood and build something?

“Because you get the impression that [Everton owner] Moshiri will give them the time to some extent and I think quite frankly, Ancelotti has done them a favour I think, by going off to Real Madrid he has done them a favour, because all he would have done is given them is another 10 months, or 12 months, of monotony.

“Tuchel has driven a bus through the BS that we have to listen to, that people have to be given time before they build something, because he has walked in there [Chelsea] and gone ‘bang!’ and [winning the] Champions League.

“They [Chelsea] might have had better players but the expectation at Everton isn’t to win the Champions League, it was to finish higher than bloody tenth.”

I find it quite staggering, that Simon Jordan looks at Rafa Benitez and his career and thinks it is a credible position to then claim: ‘Rafa Benitez is in the Rafa Benitez business. Benitez, look, my views on Benitez is that he uses his clubs as a stepping stone.’

In the last 20 years, Rafa spent three years at Valencia and delivered the La Liga title twice, before then spending six years at Liverpool before he was forced out.

He next walked into Inter Milan where it was a highly charged political situation and was sacked after a matter of months in 2010, his next appointment wasn’t until 2012 when taking over as interim boss of Chelsea midway through the season, got things sorted and ended up third in the Premier League and qualified for the Champions League, whilst also winning the Europa League. He wanted to stay on but wasn’t given a permanent contract.

Benitez then was offered a two year contract and completed that, then in summer 2015 Real Madrid came calling.

They are notorious for going through any number of managers, Rafa only lasting until January 2016.

None of that smacks to me of Rafa Benitez only caring about himself and using and abusing clubs as ‘stepping stones’ in any way.

However, then it gets even more bizarre when you look at what Simon Jordan says.

Leaving Real Madrid in January 2016, how exactly does approaching Newcastle United appeal as a ‘stepping stone’ in terms of using them towards better things? Newcastle already had one foot in the Championship and Rafa was putting himself at risk of being part of a relegation that was not down to him. If he only cared about himself and using clubs, the sensible thing by far would have been to just wait after his Real Madrid sacking for a job in summer 2016 when options would have opened up, having Real Madrid as his last employers.

Newcastle were relegated but Rafa Benitez picked up 13 points in his 10 NUFC games of 2015/16, an average of points per game that gives a total of 49 points over a full season, more top half than relegation.

It is astonishing that Simon Jordan claims Rafa used Newcastle as a stepping stone when then signing a three year deal with NUFC as a Championship club. Anybody advising Benitez as to what was best for himself would surely have said stay well away! Then despite being totally misled and unsupported by Mike Ashley, Rafa saw out his full three year contract at St James Park.

Simon Jordan rants about how much Rafa Benitez got paid in China, well if Rafa was only concerned about his wages, the likes of Dalian Pro would have been more than happy to pay the much publicised compensation Benitez would have been due to pay Mike Ashley if leaving before his Newcastle contract ended, if Rafa had wanted to desert Tyneside and the NUFC fans.

However, he always saw Newcastle United as a great long-term project that could have been his final work over a decade or more, only for Mike Ashley to force him out. With no jobs at competitive European clubs on offer that appealed, he signed a two year deal with Dalian Pro. The money obviously didn’t hurt but if a decent job in Europe had beckoned, or Newcastle had a takeover, he would happily have stayed in Europe for far less money.

I know it is difficult for many Everton fans to see past the Liverpool connection BUT unlike Simon Jordan, I think clearly Rafa Benitez would be perfect, as he would really fancy a long-term project, especially with an ambitious owner to back him.

Maybe the extra even more ridiculous edge to these Simon Jordan comments, is when you consider he has made these claims about Rafa Benitez, yet always champions Steve Bruce as a great manager and great bloke.

In his management years, Steve Bruce resigned from Sheffield United after only one season, Bruce then decided to leave Wigan after less than two months in charge, then decided to resign from Crystal Palace after less than three months in the job to take the manager’s job at Birmingham, ending up in a massive legal battle with Palace owner Simon Jordan(!), eventually forcing his way out.

The final act of Steve Bruce of course was to totally do the dirty on Sheffield Wednesday who had looked after him so well, forcing his way out of Hillsborough after only months in charge so he could take the Newcastle job.

That surely is somebody who perfectly fits this Simon Jordan accusation of a manager only thinking of himself and using clubs as stepping stones…

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