The Mirror is reporting today that Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has planned a meeting in the next 24 hours with Rafa Benitez in order to try to persuade the former Liverpool manager to stay on as the Newcastle manager.
Ashley is said to be very willing to do everything possible to get Benitez to stay, with the 56 year-old world-class manager appearing in his press conference yesterday to be really keen on the job at Newcastle.
He laid out the discussions that are ongoing at Newcastle, but it was clear he’s even fallen in love with Newcastle and especially with the passionate fans – but don’t tell his wife Maria de Montserra that.
Rafa Benitez – Mike Ashley meeting planned within 24 hours
It is generally believed that Rafa has the following four issues he needs resolved:
- Full control of all transfers into and out of the club
- A complete overhaul of the Youth Academy
- A complete overhaul of the Benton Training Facilities
- Control of the medical department
And it is thought after Rafa’s positive press conference yesterday, where he obviously wants to stay at the club – Mike Ashley will now move quickly and get the 56 year-old Spaniard committed to at least three years at Newcastle.
This is what Rafa is quoted in the Mirror today about the Ashley meeting and possibly staying on at Newcastle:
“I like the idea, I am really pleased here, I am flattered with the support that I have from everyone.”
“Mike Ashley is keen to talk and I am really pleased that we can sit down and talk. I don’t have any problem with that. The message he is sending is quite positive.”
“I have been so many years working so hard to win so many trophies that it is a question of now deciding whether you want to enjoy it, or you want to make money, or you want to win trophies.”
“And I would like to enjoy winning trophies.”
“At the moment I am really pleased with the reaction and I want to be sure that if I decide to stay it is because I want to win.”
“If I stay it is because I want to win, not because I want to stay here in the Championship for ten years. That is not my target. My target, if I stay, is one year and five in the Premier League.”
“The fans have done so much. Flattered is the word. They have been fantastic. Even today, the staff were showing me a video of the Newcastle fans singing my name.”
“It was like in Liverpool when we won the Champions League. You cannot expect more from them.”
“It is very similar to Liverpool, it was even the same song, the same way. It was very good. I was at Liverpool six years so the connection and the feelings are there.”
“The two cities are very similar.”
“They are working-class cities with the passion of the fans and the support of the team. There a lot of similarities. It is one of the reasons I decided to come.”
“This is a big club that needed to maybe wake up. It is just we have to make sure we have what we want for the future in terms of a strong team that can compete and be promoted again.”
“Relegation is really bad for anyone , no matter how big is the club, especially when you have been working so hard, fighting so much.”
“It’s really disappointing, but now you have to accept what is going on, and then think about the future.”
Those are simply great words from Rafa Benitez and his enthusiasm is infectious.
Where’s my boots!
And maybe Mike will go all in and offer more than three years on Tyneside.
It’s also known that Rafa has taken a helicopter back to his home in the Wirral (128 miles from Newcastle as the crow flies) , so maybe a helicopter will be made available to him for his commutes back home?
His vision for Newcastle is exactly what Newcastle fans have always wanted – to have Newcastle United Football Club play at the highest level of European football.
This is very good news – and we hope Mike Ashley gives Rafa everything he asks for – after all – it’s also within Mike’s best interests – he can (will) make the club great again.
We need Rafa signed up as the Newcastle manager for at least the next three years.
If Ashley can achieve that in tomorrow’s meeting, it will be the best thing he has ever done in his nine years at the club.
And if Benitez does sign it will also be news around the world and will show Newcastle United in good light – that a world-class manager like Rafa Benitez is willing to stay at the club – even though we have just been relegated.
It’s the injection of ambition and real hope that Newcastle fans have been yearning for.