It’s not surprising that Rafa Benitez has been working around the clock this summer to get things ready for what will be a crucial season for Newcastle next season in the Championship, when job one is to get one of those two automatic promotion places.
We’ll take promotion via the knockout stage between the next four teams in the league for the third promotion place, but the nerves are already so badly frayed after what happened last season, that automatic promotion would be much better.
Rafa Benitez – a great opportunity at Newcastle
The 56 year-old Spaniard signed a new three-year contract at Newcastle on May 25th after surprisingly deciding to stay on at Newcastle, even though we were relegated.
Rafa has been getting the internal configuration of rooms at the Benton Training ground changed over the summer with the help of facilities manager Eddie Rutherford.
Contractors have been at work reconfiguring the offices and changing rooms to improve conditions for both the players and the staff.
And it’s all to Rafa’s specifications.
The former Liverpool manager is also holding various meetings with the medical department, scouting staff and the Academy coaches, with Rafa now in total control of all footballing matters at the club.
That was one big condition he had to continue on at Newcastle and both Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley should be given credit for giving Rafa everything he asked for and ripping up their previous failed blueprint.
This is what Benitez has said about the Newcastle opportunity:
“It’s an opportunity to change things and we will try to make the right decisions and will go in the right direction.”
“I think everybody realized something had to change and it’s a great opportunity to do it now.”
“We are working very hard. Since the first day I signed the new contract we have started improving and analyzing the training ground to see what we can do.”
“And I have a meeting in the Academy, and with the medical department and for the squad with the scouting department.”
“We have already been working in different areas and I think we’re changing little things in each department and trying to bring the best for the players.”
“We need to improve the team experience because that is also crucial for the Championship.”
“It is not easy to bring in players.” “What we can do is try to improve the way that we coach, the way that we give them the instructions and understanding of the game.”
“We have already had this meeting and obviously it will depend on the players and it will depend on the coaches, but we will try to share our ideas and hopefully it will be good for the young lads.”
Rafa wants to see an improvement in the coaching at all levels of the club in the coming season – and it’s certainly going to be a very interesting pre-season.
Our results at all levels of the club last season were both terrible and completely unacceptable.
The Benton Training grounds will now look a lot different – at least on the inside – since the players left for their summer break after the 5-1 win against Spurs in our final Premier League game for (at least) 15 months.
When Rafa gets the squad together in 10 days time we expect him to tell the players what he expects from them in the coming season.
We expect he will lay out his overall high level plans for the next three years for the team and that some of the players, who may want to leave the club in the summer, will be kept on board to help with the promotion push.
Promotion is just phase one (or is it phase zero?) of Rafa’s ambitious plans for Newcastle.
There’s a lot going on at Newcastle United at the moment in lots of different areas – and it’s all very exciting that we at last could have a very good team – starting next season in the Championship.
We cannot wait.
Howay The Lads!!