What A (Cosmic) Difference A Day Makes


Things did not look good on Thursday night with the last bit of news that evening being that Newcastle had told local reporters the recent announcement by Sky Sports that Steve McClaren had been fired was not true.

So we had the amazing situation that McClaren had taken the training the last three days and was still in the head coach job, even though he had lost five of the last six games and the team last Saturday against Bournemouth were nothing less than a complete disgrace to the club.

The mess Charnley got us into last week is also why other (better run) clubs fire their managers first and then go after a new manager – there´s no need to wait until another manager is lined up – no need at all.

Lee Charnley was moving at his usual pace – slightly less than a snail moves on a good day – and he had seemed to have still made no decisions on anything.

lee charnley rafa benitez

Lee Charnley and Rafa Benitez yesterday

What was happening behind the scenes however was that Rafa Benitez had asked for and received several assurances and at some time on Thursday night Rafa got the go ahead to come to Newcastle, and he started his three and a half hour drive from Wirral (close to Liverpool) before sunup on Friday.

His three coaches were also told to travel to Newcastle yesterday morning.

The Times is reporting today Rafa is on £6M a year with a £3M bonus if he can keep us up this season – so Mike Ashley has been spending money like it´s going out of style this season.

Newcastle announced that Steve McClaren had been fired at about 11;45 pm and ¨A further announcement on a successor to Steve will be made in due course.”

After that I was in a Starbucks and read the Chronicle on my cell phone and it said Rafa was already at St. James’ Park, so I gulped down the coffee (dark roast – Italian – very strong) and headed back home.

And I had only been back a few minutes when the second announcement came – it was simply unbelievable.

And we have to give Lee Charnley some credit for pushing the deal though – and his skill is in negotiating the transfer business done at Newcastle – so he seems a very good negotiator – but he´s not a good leader or senior manager.

Rafa was introduced as the manager and it seems he has received pledges from Mike Ashley that he would be in charge of transfers in and out of the club and that a sizable transfer kitty would be made available in the summer – maybe £100M?

So in four days Rafa had convinced Newcastle to change from the failed continental system to a system more like the old England manager arrangement.

Rafa is nobody´s fool and he knew the previous system was set up for failure for any head coach walking in.

Rafa wouldn´t accept that because he wants to be successful – and he also had the standing and status to demand those pledges from Newcastle and to their credit Newcastle quickly caved in.

Newcastle made all the right calls with Benitez – even if it did take too long.

Yesterday was a huge day in the history of Newcastle United and in his first nufcTV interview it´s clear that Rafa wants to build Newcastle into a top club again with a top team.

It looks like he will be allowed to do that too.

But he must keep Newcastle in the Premier League this season to be able to do that.

Rafa will give his press conference for the Leicester game at 2:00 pm today.

We just have to hope that Rafa – and the players – with the full support of the Geordie fans – can produce the magic and results that will keep us in the Premier League this season.

If he cannot do that we will lose almost everything – our Premier League status and one of the best managers in Europe.

So there´s a lot riding on us staying up.

We must stay up.

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71 comments so far

  • Blofal

    Mar 12, 2016 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #2

    The interview is available for everyone.

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  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Mar 12, 2016 at 9:43 AM

    Comment #3

    Is it confirmed there is a break clause if we go down? Probable I guess, and if the Ronny reporting a salary of £4/5million a year is correct then it would be difficult to see that continuing in the Championship. He will probably be asked at the press conference later, if the club allow the question.

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  • Lindisfarne

    Mar 12, 2016 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #4

    We are in a relegation battle, the players need to be in everyday until the end of the season to get them focused properly. If not on the training pitches, in the gym, swimming pool, dance studio for joga / core posture exercises. Their wives, families etc. could be included to create a positive environment with one main aim clearly stated – winning.

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  • Ian Toon

    Mar 12, 2016 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #5

    Jail – I know you lack the capacity for comprehension and detail but I didn’t say ” thank god” about anything.

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  • SPRINGY

    Mar 12, 2016 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #6

    i know leicester cant really be judged as its only a couple of days training but im really interested to see who he plays…how he sets them up…and more importantly how the platyers react….interesting watch on monday night.

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Mar 12, 2016 at 9:52 AM

    Comment #7

    “thank goodness (or God or heavens)”
    phrase of thank
    I’m not that daft Ian!

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  • jayphoto

    Mar 12, 2016 at 9:53 AM

    Comment #8

    Exciting times! Can’t wait to see how this goes! The squad rotation should help our injury problems! Rafa has tended to use the same style of player in certain positions wherever he has been.
    Tends to like 4-2-3-1. Full backs that don’t venture forward. A deep play maker in midfield alongside a tackler. Wingers that work tirelessly.

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  • catchy in norway

    Mar 12, 2016 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #9

    ITS a new day
    it’s a new dawn
    and I’m feeling good

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  • SPRINGY

    Mar 12, 2016 at 9:57 AM

    Comment #10

    lindisfarne
    if you push this lot of pansies, posers,and big time charlies in to training more theres every chance there will be tears and tantrums!…..bet a few were pissing and whinging they had to go in yesterday last minute!!

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  • Jan Stavik

    Mar 12, 2016 at 9:58 AM

    Comment #11

    Impressive work by the club! I don’t get the criticism from pundits re. the treatment of McClaren – it was brilliant to keep him until a replacement was ready to step in.

    And what a replacement, I was expecting Pearson and we ended up with Rafa. Now it’s all up to the players to deliver, I’m sure Rafa will shore the defence up and if Sissoko/Wijnaldum/Doumbia et al steps up this side has goals in it. I was fearing the derby, now I’m looking forward to it 😉

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  • sparky55

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:00 AM

    Comment #12

    Cant see how a rotation system can work between now and the end of the season…we don’t have 11 good fit players to choose never mind have 11good fit players that can play in their rightful position…we’ve got holes everywhere…especially at the back.

    As I said yesterday…this is not going to be easy for Rafa and all credit to him for taking on the challenge…cos it’s massive and almost impossible.

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  • jayphoto

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:01 AM

    Comment #13

    Interesting to see Collocini’s role from here on in! Benitez sets his teams around zonal marking which relies on positioning whereas that’s really colos weak point. Taylor is a very carragher type defender and rafa tends to favour slower, more physical centre backs. Guessing rafa won’t be tolerating the influence colo has either?

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  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:03 AM

    Comment #14

    Blacks methods have worked almost everywhere, with some of the worlds biggest sporting names. It can’t be a coincidence that, having not done anything of note in his last 2 jobs, the way the two establishments were/are run is shocking. Both QPRs and NUFCs structures are baffling. I expect Black will move on and be successful elsewhere.
    I hope the appointment of rafa signals a new philosophy from the fat man. He is not getting my vote of confidence yet

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  • midweek weekend

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:04 AM

    Comment #15

    I know alot of you guys are worried we lack the proper goal scorers to get us out of this mess, but now we got rafa I genuinely believe that perez is gonna seriously improve ( good player anyway mind) Spanish connection and all that remember perez is a bit like Armstrong, I think he’ll start against Leicester this appointment could be huge for players like perez imo

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  • beermonkey

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:06 AM

    Comment #16

    lilongwe

    he comes across as knowing whats needed like he has done his homework
    it is nice to see

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  • jayphoto

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:06 AM

    Comment #17

    Didn’t realise he bought shelvey at liverpool either! Reckon Rafas appointment will be huge for a few players. Shelvey especially as if Rafa plays the 2 pivoting midfielders he usually does that’ll be perfect for Shelvey. It wouldn’t hugely shock me if he played shelvey as #10 and played Gini either on the right or further back.
    My guess is Saivet might get more game time too.
    Reckon it’ll be a good appointment for Perez aswell! Especially the coach (can’t remember his name) who torres credited with his liverpool form.
    Interesting to see if he gets anything out of de jong too!

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  • SPRINGY

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:06 AM

    Comment #18

    sparky
    just had a little look on physioroom and they have most of our players back this week and next week….then theres a couple early april….so hopefully the squad will be a little stronger sooner rather then later….dont know how accurate this site is but it may act as a guide line of sorts.

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  • Ian Toon

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:12 AM

    Comment #19

    Having had a quick read of the media reporting. Benitez has won guarantees that Newcastle will be run differently. The widespread view is that Newcastle couldn’t work with Benitez unless things change drastically. When needs must even Ashley has to change his mind.
    On the surface it is a coup but Benítez would not initially put up with the working conditions imposed upon his predecesors Macca and Pardew. He was apparently pretty much on board from last Monday but negotiations continued to resolve his control demands/ issues. The clear out of backroom staff and the employment of three of Benítez’s associates suggests so. Benitez is a strong character. He certainly knows what he wants as the press coverage suggests.
    Benítez wants and expects far greater control, not just in the running of the club but in key transfers. If he keeps us up then Benítez will expect to rule on transfers, which goes against everything Ashley and Carr. Something for another day.
    It will be interesting to see his starting team and whether he goes with 4-2-3-1 which has been his hallmark.

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  • jayphoto

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:12 AM

    Comment #20

    Ive met Steve Black. And ive a couple of friends that have worked with him on many occasion! Saying it now, the guys a dinosaur! Nice man! But a dinosaur! Made his name with johnny wilkinson but wilko isn’t your average sportsman! Suffers hugely from OCD and a bunch of other stuff and Black was excellent at calming him down.His methods though on a whole are very outdated and he hasnt been a success everywhere he’s been he’s actually not done that well in the last 10 years.
    His ideas on fitness are prehistoric too! Hes a top guy, and ive no doubt hed be successful working with predominantly English, lower standard sportsman, a championship team or below but hes not of the level to work with top level footballers and id say he struggles to get into the mindset of millionaire foreign footballers.

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  • Lindisfarne

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:13 AM

    Comment #21

    SPRINGY

    They are playing for someone with real clout now, who will lead them to fulfill there own personal ambitions. If the players do not recognise how much they have failed and don’t want to put the effort into making that right, then put your money where your mouth is. Buy out your contract and there’s the door.

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  • nut meg

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:13 AM

    Comment #22

    It gladdens my heart that we have a real top football manager….at long last! The roof will lift off when Rafa steps onto the pitch on derby day. Rafa Benitez…manager of Newcastle United, wow, that does sound good doesn’t it.

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  • SPRINGY

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:14 AM

    Comment #23

    good thing is the players that have been pushed to the edges of the first team thru injuries,lack of form, not pally or in certain clicks… have the chance to get fresh eyes looking at what they can do and maybe be brought from the cold as it were…they play better..more competition for the regular first teamers positions..so they play better and so on and so on….hopefully

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  • sparky55

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:14 AM

    Comment #24

    I love Rafa for taking on this car crash of a club and have massive respect for him…but will lose an awful lot of that respect if he picks Colo and Sissoko for the next game…those two especially have been an absolute disgrace for this club and need to be sent a message

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  • daztoon

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #25

    As good as Janmaat is going forward ,would like to see him hold his fullback position first.
    Most of our goals conceded come from his vacant side.
    Would also prefer Anita at LB if Dummet isn’t available.

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  • SPRINGY

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #26

    spot on lindisfarne…agree totally

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  • SPRINGY

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:21 AM

    Comment #27

    sparky
    theres every chance colo and sissoko will up there game and can see sissoko starting…but we have to trust rafa to play the players he believes are going to be most effective… have to agree they have had really poor games of late

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  • jayphoto

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:22 AM

    Comment #28

    Ins and outs in the summer be interesting too! Do we all get on board if we sell Sissoko or Gini now knowing its the managers choice and not the club cashing in?
    Gotta say itl be a season for press conferences next year. Potentially mourinho (man utd), pep, klopp, rafa, Conte, Ranieri, wenger, bilic… Some real personalities in the league!

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  • SPRINGY

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #29

    rafa may play players the supporters hate…but if they do the jobs right and we stay up… then the hated players.. are the right players!

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #30

    sparky,
    He has to give them both a chance if he likes what he sees, if he asks Sissoko does he want to be here next season and he pauses, waits a bit, shrugs his shoulders, laughs and says “yeah” Rafa should floor him in front of everyone.

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  • SPRINGY

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #31

    jay
    aye there will be some canny press conferences like!lol….got to say i do like watching klopps interviews the bloke is quality….straight talkin,with a good sense of humour.

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  • jayphoto

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:26 AM

    Comment #32

    First club he’s joined since Inter milan where the fans want him and hel get time and isn’t up against it from the off too! Fans at napoli (though they came around), chelsea and madrid weren’t thrilled with his appointment.
    Liverpool fans love him even now though. Ive huge respect to him taking us on in the position we are in. You wouldn’t see many other elite level managers taking a challenge like this

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  • SPRINGY

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #33

    jay
    most managers would’nt want there ego’s or c.v tarnished if the worst happens.

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  • jayphoto

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #34

    @springy thing is even if he plays players we hate, if they do their job for the team toon fans will back them!
    At Liverpool he had kuyt who wasn’t necessarily very talented running through walls week in week out, turned a misfiring striker into a folk hero

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  • SPRINGY

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #35

    meant to say most big managers

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  • Blofal

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #36

    Sparky don’t hate of Rafa if he picks Colo and Sissoko. When they play well they are outstanding. If he can get them to play well that’s what we need.

    Or better still get behind the team regardless for the last 10 games. The crowd alone could lift us out of this mess. But if the fans start being negative at any point in the last 10 games towards Rafa or the players… then relegation is a certainty.

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  • neverwin

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #37

    I have had plenty to say about Ashley and especially Charnley but realise that LOTS of background work with Rafa must have been going on at least all week.
    Things were not just decided within an hour of his arrival.
    So I must eat some humble pie and give them credit after all.
    Lets hope it all works out.

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  • JackButler

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #38

    I now actually believe we can stay up, with Raffa calling the shots things will be very different. SM may be a good coach in the eyes of many, but how a man can allow players so much time off given our current state is baffling. The players will now get the kick up the arse they deserve and need and if they perform to their ability we can turn this round, we don’t need anything special, just for the players to actually perform they way they should

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  • ITUNDERASHELL

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #39

    If Rafa manages to keep us up it will be amazing I think. Looks like Ashley has finally realised he will have 100 mill to invest in team in summer if we stay up and that’s why he has begrudgingly allowed a top class manager with real coaches to step in and right wrongs.
    Would love to see a few top end Spanish players brought in this summer to train the others on the field and enable Rafa system to flourish effectively.
    WE must unite behind Rafa as Ashley has done, the key will be how the players respond to new regime.

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  • Tsunki

    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #40

    Liking the “Welcome Rafa” posters at SJP today 🙂

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