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Why Rafa Benitez Deserves Great Credit At Newcastle

12:15 pm, Thursday, June 2nd, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 29 Comments

Alan Shearer never though it would happen.

That a manager with Rafa Benitez’ resume would want to manage a club in the second division in England – especially since he was manager of Real Madrid at the beginning of the season – the eventual Champions League winners for a record 11th time.

Many top managers may have felt that the Championship was beneath them and would have walked away from Newcastle – but not Rafa.

And as we soon find out some of our players may think it’s beneath them to play in England’s second division – but Rafa has set the example by staying.

rafa benitez villa

Rafa Benitez – determined

And that’s just one reason why the Newcastle fans have so quickly taken to the man who had Newcastle playing as a top six side in the final six games when we got 12 points and three wins – and trashed Spurs 5-1 at home in the final game and even scored our last three goals when we were down to 10 men – just to show off a bit.


If we had averaged 2 points a game throughout the season we would have finished second top of the Premier League last season.

Make no mistake about it – Benitez deserves enormous credit for taking on this challenge – to get us out of one of the toughest leagues in terms of the number of games played and the sheer effort required throughout the season.

Rafa and those at Newcastle working with him are determined that our stay down below is another short one – much like what happened back in 2009 when we were in disarray at this same stage of the summer after just being relegated.

Things are much more stable this time around with everybody associated with Newcastle – including the fans – now all pulling in the same direction.

It will take that level of support to get us out of the Championship next May.

But we can do it and then move on to stage two of Rafa’s plan to make Newcastle United a great club again.

Sounds good to us.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Championship · Coaching · Management · Newcastle News · Premier League

29 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Essex Geordie Bill // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:17 PM

    Hogwarts express has just left the station!

  • 2 Essex Geordie Bill // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:19 PM

    Essex Geordie Bill // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:13 PM

    Seeing Williamson mentioned made me think if we’d have kept him we’d have stayed up. Providing he was playing instead of Taylor.

    87Essex Geordie Bill // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:15 PM

    Pity we didn’t have a ‘stagnagator’ like Wenger.

  • 3 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:24 PM

    CB pairings need a “shall not pass” type, and a “technical” type who can organise the defence. Its rare to find a player who can do both. If your technical type goes quiet then you have problems. If you dont back him up with a brick wall type, then its going to be hard for anyone to organise anything. We have been missing the brick wall monster for years.

  • 4 WWSBRD // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:25 PM

    Haha as much as I like Williamson I dont think he would of kept us up

  • 5 Graeme // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:28 PM

    NUFC have appointed a new Assistant!!
    Newcastle United are pleased to confirm the appointment of Mikel Antia to Rafa Benitez’s coaching team.

    The 43-year-old Spaniard joins United from the Aspire Academy in Qatar where he has been part of the coaching team tasked with developing young Qatari players.

    He replaces Fabio Pecchia, who this week joined Serie B side Verona as the Italian side’s new manager.

    Mikel, who hails from San Sebastian in Spain, had spells as a player at the Real Madrid Academy where he played under Rafa Benítez for four seasons, before moving to Real Valladolid in La Liga, also with Benítez. Mikel later moved on to play for Celta Vigo and Real Sociedad.

    The rest of Rafa Benitez’s coaching staff, consisting of Francisco de Míguel Moreno, Antonio Gómez Pérez, Ian Cathro and Simon Smith, will remain at St. James’ Park.

    Rafa Benitez said: “I am delighted that Mikel is joining my staff. He is a very talented coach and I know he will add great expertise to my team.

    “At the same time I am sad to see Fabio depart as he has been an excellent professional from the first day until the last in the years we have worked together.

    “He leaves to face these new and exciting challenges, both personally and professionally. I wish him all the best and say thank you.”

  • 6 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:28 PM

    Ed,if you want to average rafs reign, then you have to include all 10 games. 13pts and a gd of 0. That is 49-50 pts with a 0 gd. Still better than goong down, though.

  • 7 WWSBRD // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:31 PM

    Antia was tasked with developing young players for Qatar? Interesting

  • 8 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:33 PM

    Chelsea are 10th with 50pts, it may be that we could have ended up two 9r three places above that, depending who our extra 13 points came from.

  • 9 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:34 PM


    Thats fast work. Rafa must have had this lined up knowing pechia was away in advance. Another example of how it should be done.

  • 10 Essex Geordie Bill // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:39 PM

    Yep, smart efficient work by Rafa.

    Now for the playing staff?

  • 11 Ibizatoon // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:41 PM

    Welcome to the mad house Mikel Antia!

    Does anybody know what Cathros role was after Rafa arrived? Does he still feature in the clubs plans?

  • 12 Graeme // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:43 PM

    Other than Joking Ear – Rafa obviously does have access to everyone who matters, in football!!!

  • 13 Ibizatoon // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:43 PM

    Jib posted that Fabio had taken a managerial job, I believe last week, so Rafa has had some time to put this together.

    The club only officially announced it yesterday, but it’s been on the cards a while.

    Still, things do seem to be moving at a decent pace this summer, which is refreshing.

    How a football club should be run. What a novelty.

  • 14 Jail for Ashley // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:44 PM

    Here we go again, how long before Jack Root and his nostalgic Jinky Jimmy comments turn into slagging the usual suspects and before we know it carls joined in with his praise of Jib and before you know it there’s a little troop of them. Ffs man !

  • 15 Ibizatoon // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:45 PM

    I see Aubameyang has been named Bundesliga Player of the Year.

    I wonder how much was “too much” when we were supposedly interested a few years back. I also wonder who it was we signed instead of him.

  • 16 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:46 PM


    Yes, it still shows the difference in approach. Had McWally lost his assistant, we’d still be waiting for a new helper come kick off next season.

  • 17 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:48 PM


    Don’t worry, it seemed yesterday that wveryone was sticking to football. Fingers crossed it stays the same today!

  • 18 jayphoto // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:48 PM

    Be very interesting to see how Rafa sets up this side. I get the feeling the last 10 games were based more around grinding it out as he didn’t have time to change the philosophy and style too much, only to tighten up.
    One thing with Rafa, he does certain things at every club he goes to. At Valencia, Liverpool, Inter, Napoli, Chelsea and Madrid he used a 4-2-3-1. Every game! His tactical changes and formations seem to come in game but everything starts with this set up. His rigidity to this formation makes me think we’ll be similar.
    He always plays around a mobile striker. Not lightening quick, but one who gets around as he likes them to drift wide to bring defenders out of position. He also values a clinical finisher. Strikers that miss too many chances don’t seem to last with Rafa.
    Behind a striker he seems to favour lightening speed. If Arma breaks through it’ll be in this position I think as he likes a 10 to get up and take the central striker position when the 9 drifts into the channels. Arma is similar in style to Insigne who he used this way at Napoli.
    He also, always, likes a deep lying midfield playmaker with serious passing range. He had Alonso at Liverpool, Modric at Madrid, even tried Hamsik there at Napoli.
    Wide he seems to go Narrow with almost inverted forwards/attacking midfielders. His use of Kuyt at Liverpool wide right is a good example. He doesn’t really play with much width.
    In defence, worryingly his defence at Napoli was a joke, it was something he couldn’t get right for trying. He seems to like tight compact back 4 with the full backs being defenders before attackers.
    He’s done these things at every club he’s been at, so we’re near on nailed on to be seeing them at Newcastle. It’ll be interesting to see what players fit in where with it though!

  • 19 Ibizatoon // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:48 PM

    I think it was 2012/13 we were interested in signing him.

    Found this link, seems he was interested in joining us too.

    Who did we buy that season? Oh right, no one. Remy on loan?

  • 20 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:49 PM

    Perry eminates a boomarang. At least we won’t have to endure endless links to him.this time round.

  • 21 Ibizatoon // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:51 PM

    YCMIU…To be fair, from memory, it didn’t take Steve too long to put his staff together last summer.

    What bugged me about the McClaren appoinment more than anything is that we were pursuing him for so long, yet our summer plans really didn’t involve him. Such poor planning / preperation.

    Still, we are moving on, with smiles on our faces.

  • 22 jayphoto // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:52 PM

    Ibiza – Aubameyang did an interview in Germany early this year. Newcastle didn’t shirk at the cost. He said he had the option of Newcastle and the contract was many times more than that of Dortmund but that he saw Dortmund as the best place for the next stage of his development.
    Looks like the club couldn’t do any more on that one to be fair

  • 23 Ibizatoon // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:53 PM

    YCMIU…Indeed. It’l be McCormack this time round.

  • 24 Mister Tuff // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:54 PM

    Jail @14 correct. The hoop tonguing will start as well.

  • 25 stripes1009 // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:56 PM

    Tha Rafa ‘revolution’ begins. Can’t wait too see what players will be coming in.
    Happy days ahead….

  • 26 Ibizatoon // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:56 PM

    Jay…Just had a look. I had thought his move to Dortmund was a lot more recent, as in, after our main interest.

    Seems he moved in 2013 though. Time flies when you’re, ermm, having fun doesn’t seem quite right.

    I shall withdraw my objections to this particular (lack of) transfer then 🙂

  • 27 Essex Geordie Bill // Jun 2, 2016 at 12:56 PM


    Did you see the few games Taylor played before Rafa realised how bad he’d become. A lad from the development squad would have been better never mind Williamson.

  • 28 Jack Root // Jun 2, 2016 at 1:00 PM

    You really are delusional as well as being stupid. Jimmy Smith ( the clues in the name, if you knew your club history) is a football connoisseur. My judgement is that he’s highly unlikely to be slagging off anyone. His history on here suggests that to me.
    As for you, your primary aim seems to cause trouble to anyone who establishes a rapport.

    Some of us don’t take kindly to controlling types like you . Unless of course if your the blog moderator. Stop ganging up on anyone who shares a different opinion and try and contribute something of interest rather than portray a sad lonely figure. I don’t want to have to make the same point again. Get that into your thick skull. Stop the girly antics.

  • 29 Jail for Ashley // Jun 2, 2016 at 1:01 PM

    What got me about the Mclaren appointment was thst we sat and patiently waited for him to fail at Derby without even considering if that he failed it was because he’s not that good. Had his conditions of employment relied on his getting Derby automatic promotion I’d have felt a lot better about him coming.

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