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Eddie Howe and Rafa Benitez to swap clubs – Newcastle United fans react to the suggestion

1 month ago
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For Newcastle United fans, this is now day 32 for Eddie Howe, after he was appointed as the new NUFC Head Coach on 8 November 2021.

Steve Bruce having been belatedly sacked, as the club’s new owners began the job of trying to turn Newcastle United around.

Over 14 years of Mike Ashley neglect and not going to be put right overnight.

I was interested then to read the following from a journalist this week, a stance from a neutral’s perspective.

Journalist (for Eurosport etc) Grace Robertson via Twitter – 6 December 2021:

“Everyone would be happier if Rafa Benitez and Eddie Howe swapped jobs.”

Is this true?

These are comments reacting to the journalist’s claim, with the vast majority of them from Newcastle United fans…

‘Couldn’t be more wrong.’

‘I’m more than happy with Eddie Howe thanks, and going by the reaction of the crowd to him on Saturday I think I can speak for just about everyone on this.’

‘Everyone I go to matches with don’t want Rafa back. Hate it when plastics think they can speak for me and people who go to games.’

‘Wtf, I wouldn’t be, I didn’t even want Rafa back before Howe. I would have took him over Bruce but the guy’s career is over. Howe on the other hand is just getting started.’

‘Newcastle fans yes, as an Everton fan really not sure.’

‘What planet are you on mate. No way I would want to swap Howe to have Rafa back!!’

‘We loved Rafa, but he’s had his day here and now it’s Eddie’s turn….so as far as ‘everyone’ is concerned, that is not strictly true.’

‘I’d love rafa back he did great for us just not doing well at everton for some reason.’

‘No!!!!!!!!!!!! You couldn’t be more wrong we had Rafa and we loved him yes but this is a new era under Howe a young manager and plays great attacking football where Rafa is defensive and I really like Eddie Howe.’

‘I love Rafa but no. Not so.’

‘I loved Rafa here at Newcastle, but I am afraid that boat has left the dock and sailed away. He is at Everton now and we have Eddie, that’s the cards we have. Its time we moved on and left the past in the past.’

‘Love(d) Rafa but wouldn’t swap Howe for him now, younger, wants to play better exciting football and deserves his chance,both gentlemen but Howe over Rafa for me now and guess majority of fans think similar.’

‘Rafa will always be welcome at SJP. But Eddie is our man now and every nufc fan is behind him.’

‘I will always love Rafa for what he did for us and the connection he had and pre howe I would have taken Rafa back in a heartbeat but I’m fully behind Howe now.’

‘Maybe a month ago, but not now. Eddie Howe has claimed the hearts of Newcastle fans already, and he plays far more courageous football than Benitez. I hope he stays for many years.’

‘Nah, we’re all in on Howe.’

‘Don’t think majority would go that way now he’s had such an impact with the fans so far and the whole ground was clearly with him on Saturday.’

‘Not sure I know a Newcastle fan that would swap now. Most would’ve took Rafa back two month ago, I would say it was probably 75%-25% in favour, not sure it would reach 10% now.’

‘I love Rafa but nope, think we need some younger fresher blood and I like Howe. I’d take Rafa back as DoF though.’

‘Loved Rafa at the time. Despite his style of play not been great. (Understandable with the players we had) he got us. But no. Not anymore. Eddie has started well. He seems to get the club and fans too. No swap for me.’

I haven’t reproduced every reply, but the ones above, very much reflecting the overall response to the journalist’s tweet.

Hardly any Newcastle United fan agreeing with the journo’s assumption.

For me, it is just like great comedy, it is all about timing.

Six weeks ago, if Newcastle United fans had been offered Rafa Benitez as Steve Bruce’s replacement, then I think the response would have been a resounding yes. Somebody who we trust and who has an excellent CV behind him.

However, back to the present day, Newcastle United fans have experienced four weeks of Eddie Howe and fair to say, the NUFC fanbase overwhelmingly likes what they see. Somebody who has already achieved a fair amount as a manager (taking Bournemouth from League Two to the Premier League etc) but is still only 44 and has his best years hopefully ahead of him. Newcastle United fans loving Howe’s work ethic and also the fact that he wants his team to get on the front foot as much as possible, as well as having very clear ideas on how he sets up his team and tactics.

The fact that as Newcastle United fans we are feeling positive about Eddie Howe, doesn’t then mean that’s a negative on Rafa Benitez. It is simply recognising that time has moved on, Rafa Benitez did a very good and professional job at NUFC and if he had been properly supported by the club’s owner…then who knows what he could have achieved? However, that will always be an unknown now and it is Eddie Howe taking his chance with the full support of the fans, as well as hopefully the same from the new Newcastle United owners.

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