Newcastle have been at Carton House in Dublin this week and that’s the exact same place Chris Hughton took the lads seven years ago after we were last relegated.
It’s there that Chris, with the help of assistant manager Colin Calderwood and some senior players – got that famous team spirit going which helped an awful lot as we ended up winning the Championship in 2010 with 102 points and got straight back up to the Premier League.
Let’s hope the same thing happens this time around.
The Newcastle coaches in deep discussion in Ireland this week
Things have been very upbeat in the training camp this week with the emphasis on getting the players fit and getting across various tactics that Rafa will employ in the games this season.
The other important thing has been getting the squad to bond so that the team spirit is very strong – which is so important as we found out seven years ago.
Rafa seems to be delighted with the facilities available in Dublin and the hotel they are staying in is a short 100 yards from the facilities so everything seems to be compact and the lads can concentrate fully on getting the necessary work done.
Certainly there’s a huge buzz and feel-good factor that surrounds the club at the moment and let’s be honest – that’s due almost entirely to the new manager Rafa Benitez.
It helps he’s a world-class manager with a tremendous string of accomplishments in the game including winning the Champions League (also being beaten finalists in the same competition) and winning the Europa League twice.
Certainly Rafa’s the best manager we have had since the great Sir Bobby Robson was sacked in 2004 for only finishing in 5th place in the Premier League.
Rafa Benitez was upbeat in this positive message to Newcastle fans today:
“We want to give the fans the message that everything is good.” “The reaction has been great, it’s been perfect.”
“We are the ones that have to make it stay that way.” “We are fine, everything is planned for pre-season and we are now away in Ireland.”
“We are working, and the facilities are fantastic.” “To come here and keep everybody all together for the whole week creates a better atmosphere and team spirit.”
“It’s a real positive. We don’t have too much time so we are working towards day one of the season at Fulham.”
The transfer window has so far gone very well but the proof of the pudding is in the results once the season starts – and we must start getting those wins to be at or near the top of the table and we know it will not be easy.
There has also been a surge in season ticket sales, but we’re not sure exactly where that stands, other than they are the best season tickets sales in a number of years – even though we are now in the second division.
Once the season starts we need wins, wins and more wins after going through defeats, defeats and more defeats over the last two and a half painful and tragic years for the club.
Howay The Lads!!