Rafa Benitez took four games to sort things out at Newcastle and then he went the final six games with three wins and three draws that included the hammering of 2nd top Spurs 5-1 on the last day of the season – they finished 3rd top.
Steve McClaren has been interviewed today and said the usual things – that we didn’t have good enough center-backs and strikers – and while that’s true that’s not the main reason we were relegated.
The main reason was Steve himself, who got nowhere near getting the best out of the players he had available – and we cannot forget the £80M we spent on new players either.
A familiar pose from Steve McClaren while at Newcastle
There were many other things wrong at Newcastle – yes – but we should never have been relegated last season with the squad we had.
There were a lot more weaker squads than Newcastle had and that’s the truth.
McClaren messed up as badly last season with decent players in the Newcastle squad as he did when he managed England back in 2007.
This is what Steve McClaren told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek:
“I’m frustrated with my time at Newcastle and especially with the way it ended.” “I went in with my eyes open and I knew the situation I was getting myself into, but the mistake I made was that I compromised too much.”
“You have to go in and lead and manage. I compromised too much especially early on, instead of saying, ‘we need this, we need this, we need this’.”
“They’ve gone down because we conceded too many goals and didn’t recruit centre-backs, and we didn’t recruit enough strikers, we had injuries and bad luck and the main thing is the mentality.”
“The mentality of the team was that they would play well against top teams, but they couldn’t win the games they should have won against the lower teams.”
“They’ve decided to go with Rafa Benitez and I hope they’ve allowed him control of everything.. most importantly he can control recruitment and maybe change the policy of the time,”
“That was only recruiting players under 25 and I think that restricted the recruitment process.”
“You need experience and that wasn’t possible, and I think with Rafa being in there he will be allowed to take control.’
Newcastle fans are frustrated with the time he spent at Newcastle too, mainly because he was simply not good enough to manage a club like Newcastle, and he also didn’t have a strong enough personality.
The reason we didn’t recruit center-backs was that he decided to give Fabricio Coloccini a one year contract extension.
We had already brought in Mbemba – so that’s the reason we didn’t bring in another center-back – Colo had to play as the captain.
There’s one difference between McClaren and Benitez – Rafa wouldn’t take the job unless he had the control he knew he needed to make Newcastle successful.
McClaren was just happy to get the Newcastle job, after he had failed and been only just been fired at second division Derby County.
Why he was even offered the job by Lee Charnley is still not clear to us – he was certainly not the perfect coach for Newcastle.
Rafa just been fired from Real Madrid who went on to win the Champions League for a record 11th time last month.
That’s the difference between being a journeyman coach and a world-class coach and this seems like Steve’s first attempt to re-write history on what happened at Newcastle last season.
It falls short of the truth.
Here are the two league records of the Newcastle managers last season.