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News and Commentary On Newcastle United By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

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It’s The Rafa Factor In Full Force At Newcastle

2:40 pm, Tuesday, June 21st, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 21 Comments

Newcastle United are at 9/4 to win the Championship title in the coming season – and that’s the shortest ever in the history of the Championship.

There’s a good article in the Chronicle today where they showcase an excellent interview with Bet365’s Steve Freeth, who talks about why Newcastle are at such short odds.

rafa benitez liverpool

Rafa Benitez – Newcastle’s world-class manager

Steve says some really interesting things – but it’s all about the Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez – in short it’s the Rafa factor in full force.

This is some of what Steve has said in what is a lengthy interview:

“We were 5-1 with Newcastle to win the title originally – and that was mainly because we didn’t think Rafa Benitez would stay and there was uncertainty over who would take over and the caliber of any replacements.”

“We were also factoring in that there would be some scrutiny on the club and what has gone on in the past with the supporters and the owner.”

“We’d looked at it and thought ‘They’re a massive club but who is going to take over?’ So we were comfortable with them having a favorites chance but only at that price of 5-1.”

“When rumors about Rafa coming back started to pick up and it was obvious there was some substance in them there was a lot of interest in Newcastle.”

“It’s because the Rafa factor that has seen the shift in price from 5-1 to 9-4, which is quite a considerable shift in the odds.”

“Punters have been all over Newcastle, even at that short price. They’re expecting a cakewalk like they had in 2009/2010.”

“Rafa is the big factor here – and it’s not just the fact that he’s a very good manager with a good track record, it’s what him staying means for the club’s direction.”

“They have said they’re going to be trying to keep players and that’s a big deal. If they start next season with multi-million players in their squad it gives them a huge advantage over the rest of the division.”

“Mitrovic, for example, looks like he’d be a good target man in that division. If Lascelles stops there, he’s got some experience. And Townsend is the same as well.”

“One or two of them might go, of course, but the club are certainly making noises about keeping them and that’s going to be a big thing.”

“Reputation has a lot to do with it. Rafa’s reputation and Newcastle’s as a club.” 

“Plus those supporters – if they get behind Newcastle – are going to be a factor. If Newcastle get a bit of momentum behind them they’re going to be difficult to stop in the Championship.”

“But it’s more about what Rafa’s appointment says about the club as a whole and how they’re changing things. It seems very positive and I think that’s why punters are happy to back them even at a short price.”

We really hope Steve is right with the things he says.

steve freeth

Bet365’s Steve Freeth

But we cannot be over-confident either and we’re sure Rafa will tell his players exactly that – they have to work very hard in training and in the games.

And as we’ve seen in the final 10 games of last season – any player not willing to do that soon feels what it’s like sitting on the bench – whoever they may be – it makes no difference to Rafa.

Love it!

Comments welcome.

Tags: Championship · Coaching · Management · Newcastle News

21 responses so far ↓

  • 1 lesh // Jun 21, 2016 at 3:03 PM

    All this talk about Townsend’s release clause is pure speculation. We don’t know the wording of it in his contract.

    Spurs dug in over Bale arguing that the release trigger only entitled him to talk to any club which met the stated fee which was only a minimum to start negotiations over the transfer fee. They wouldn’t budge until they were offered a huge fee – £80m plus was it?

    So,it could still be try that Townsend stays and we can only but wait and see how it all pans out.

  • 2 Ron Knee // Jun 21, 2016 at 3:34 PM

    “York City have announced that a Newcastle United XI are to visit Bootham Crescent for a friendly match on Saturday 30 July 2016, almost a year to the day (Wed 29 July 2015) when York beat a strong NUFC side.”

    Bad memories!

  • 3 Back Door Man // Jun 21, 2016 at 4:10 PM

    After Jib mischievously alleged that Tsunki was a dwarf perhaps he meant it as a compliment, for the most celebrated imp in contemporary culture is Tyrion Lannister, the outstanding star character in the fantastic Game of Thrones saga on Sky Atlantic.

    Can we see parallels between Tsunki and Tyrion?  Tyrion has a fine mind, is well-read, is a brilliant stategist, compassionate, humourous, brave, likes a bevy, is well-hung and has a voracious sexual appetite.  I say Tsunki has all these qualities!

    Wear this badge with honour and distinction Tsunki Lannister.

    Now, can I find a GoT character who’s similar to Jib?  Off to review the box set.

  • 4 Average_Contents // Jun 21, 2016 at 4:16 PM

    That’s easy

    Ramsey Bolton.

  • 5 Average_Contents // Jun 21, 2016 at 4:18 PM

    Actually I’m going to change that and go with jothrey.

  • 6 Average_Contents // Jun 21, 2016 at 4:20 PM

    Ooh ooh wait, there’s so many unlikeable/snakes in the show it’s very hard to decide.

    Can I choose later please.

  • 7 Bobbybee // Jun 21, 2016 at 5:00 PM

    So, if England play N Ireland, do they play god save the queen twice, or just once? 😉 Time we had a more inclusive anthem methinks.

  • 8 welshgeordie9 // Jun 21, 2016 at 5:08 PM


    Should change the anthem to be honest, a lot of countries have got catchy tunes, i would say, the French, Germans and the Italians have got the best ones.

  • 9 welshgeordie9 // Jun 21, 2016 at 5:12 PM

    Regarding the English anthem and i must admit sometimes I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed but when something does happen to the queen, what are they going to change the title of the song too, I’d take a guess at God save the King, anyone tell me.

  • 10 welshgeordie9 // Jun 21, 2016 at 5:17 PM

    Wouldn’t it be great if Northern Ireland beat Germany.

  • 11 welshgeordie9 // Jun 21, 2016 at 5:30 PM

    Why are we linked with so many youngsters when I thought Benitez wanted experienced players in, don’t get me wrong get youngsters in but i would have thought he would have started with experience first.

  • 12 welshgeordie9 // Jun 21, 2016 at 5:30 PM

    1-0 Germany, Ffs.

  • 13 Bobbybee // Jun 21, 2016 at 5:41 PM

    Been coming like. Welshie, I’m English and proud, but not enamored by a bunch of German deviants ruling over us. If people did research they might too! 😉 Makes it difficult for me to join in the anthem, along with a growing number of others. We need a nice rousing anthem anyway, not that bloody funeral dirge. Something to get the hairs on the back of your neck tingling. 😉 Something English rather than British.

  • 14 Bobbybee // Jun 21, 2016 at 5:50 PM

    Welshie, one sided half or what? Still, whilst it’s only one they’re still in it. Could’ve been a lot worse like!

  • 15 Blackley and Brownlie // Jun 21, 2016 at 5:53 PM

    “God save the Queen” alienates anti-monarchists, atheists and polytheists; more than half the population, I’d guess. It’s common sense that a national anthem should unite a country.

    It doesn’t help that it sounds like a dirge.

    The Establishment love it, of course, so we’re stuck with it.

  • 16 Blackley and Brownlie // Jun 21, 2016 at 5:55 PM

    Bobby @13
    I posted at 15 before reading your post.

  • 17 welshgeordie9 // Jun 21, 2016 at 5:57 PM


    You never know in the 2nd half mate, but I’ve got a feeling Germany will score the next goal.

  • 18 welshgeordie9 // Jun 21, 2016 at 5:58 PM

    So apparently we have got a bye in the first round of the league cup.

  • 19 Bobbybee // Jun 21, 2016 at 6:00 PM

    B&B, revolution, the only solution. 😉 The dirge gets worse as it goes on – blatantly racist. Time for a change imo, one that unites rather than divides, as you suggest. Shearer and Lennon trying to pretend nothing happened is quite amusing though. 😉

  • 20 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jun 21, 2016 at 6:01 PM

    Even though im not a royalist, and i am an athiest, i am neither offended or alienated by the Anthem. It is boring, though. England needs a different one from GB. I always liked Jerusalem (i know it is religious but it is rousing) because it specifically mentions England. Not sure what i would chose for GB as a whole.

  • 21 Bobbybee // Jun 21, 2016 at 6:03 PM

    Need to keep the score low and they’ll go through. Still, welshie, we get past the first round at least. 😉 Already on a roll!

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