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 – 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.
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.