It has been another terrible season for Newcastle United fans, even after the mismanaged club spent £82M in the two transfer windows and tonight we could be officially relegated if Sunderland beat a poor Everton side at the Stadium of Light.
A Sunderland win would relegate both Newcastle and Norwich City and we would go down with the already relegated Aston Villa.
And the general feeling has been that if Rafa Benitez couldn’t save us he would also leave the club and we would be looking around for yet another manager – the fifth manager in a short 18 months.
Rafa Benitez – Newcastle manager
Managing Director Lee Charnley would be doing the searching again (why?) and he seems to have already decided on trying to get Hull City manager Steve Bruce as our first choice.
He’s a Geordie and like John Carver and Steve McClaren before him he would be another easy choice for Charnley.
Bruce does have good knowledge of the Championship and could probably get us promoted next season, but after that he couldn’t do much more than have Newcastle in a mid-table position in the Premier League.
But then the news broke late yesterday afternoon in an exclusive in the Mail that Rafa Benitez was thinking about staying on at Newcastle, even if we are relegated.
It seems the draw against Aston Villa on Saturday concentrated Rafa’s thoughts on the fact we probably could not now survive the drop – and Rafa started to have second thoughts about just walking away from the massive Tyneside club.
The Mirror is reporting today that Rafa has told friends he has been stunned by the massive level of support he has received from Newcastle fans over the last two months – and he is now seriously considering managing in the Championship and staying on Tyneside.
One advantage is personal in that he wants to manage in the Premier League and be close to his wife and two teenage daughters who live in The Wirral in Cheshire.
No decision has yet been made, but the reports are that he is leaning towards staying at Newcastle.
But as we pointed out yesterday he needs assurances from the Newcastle hierarchy that he would in be in charge of all transfers at the club and he wants a complete squad overhaul in the summer.
The news yesterday in the Mail was that he also wants work on the new and upgraded training facilities at Benton to start immediately, as he feels cramped by the lack of space at the training grounds.
Rafa will wait until after the last game of the season on Sunday to make his decision.
If he stays then that will give Newcastle fans some hope for the future and by this time next year we could even have more than a decent team to challenge for the Premier League – assuming we can get promoted straight back to England’s top division.
Offers will flood in for Benitez from other clubs soon – and Everton are said to be keen on him, but we cannot see Rafa accepting a job in Liverpool after being the Reds manager for six years and being so successful there.
A more likely candidate for Everton if they do sack Roberto Martinez is Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini – a real gentleman and a top manager who also managed Real Madrid in the past.
The Chilean got the cold shoulder from City fans after their last home game of the season on Sunday after the 2-2 draw with Arsenal.
The stands were basically empty after the game when the manager and players went out on the field to acknowledge their fans.
They had gone home.
That’s a lot different from the overwhelming support the fans will show for our manager Rafa Benitez in our final home game on Sunday against Spurs.
The plans are to chant his name continuously in a last final effort by the Toon Army to keep the well liked world-class manager on Tyneside.
Keep Rafa Benitez at Newcastle and Geordie fans will have real hope for the future – even if we are in the second division.
There will be enormous hope that he can bring Newcastle United back to be a powerhouse in both the Premier League and in Europe – something we all want to see.