Doncaster Rovers manager Darren Ferguson, the son of Sir Alex Ferguson, says he was not particularly surprised that Rafa Benitez stayed on at Newcastle United.
Darren says that’s because of the size of the club, but it still seemed to shock the football world that a world-class manager who had won the Champions League and Europa League twice was willing to manage in the wilderness of England’s second division.
Rafa Benitez in Newcastle training gear
Doncaster Rovers did very will in the first half on Wednesday night in the friendly and were 2-0 up at the half before Rafa talked to the players and we reshuffled and came storming back for the 2-2 draw.
Newcastle probably should have won the game given the number of chances we created, but we let in two sloppy goals in that first half.
Darren Ferguson – Doncaster manager
This is what Darren has said today about Rafa Benitez and Newcastle:
“They have got an abundance of players and talent. I think the biggest thing for Newcastle will be handling the expectations of promotion, not dissimilar to ourselves, though obviously a much, much bigger club.”
“I think that might be probably their biggest battle next season.”
“When you look at the potential there, if someone could really get a grip of it and get that place going.”
“It’s a fantastic football club – an absolutely fantastic football club.” “They have the best support in the country, and, for them, they probably deserve some sort of success.”
“The manager’s got a lot of experience and he can obviously see what it could become.”
“It’s probably the only club, with no disrespect to any other Championship team, he would have stayed in the Championship for, I think.”
“I’m not surprise he stayed when it’s a club like Newcastle.” “Newcastle brought a great support, as they always do,”
Rafa will now try to get Newcastle promoted straight back to the Premier League and the way he has already fortified the squad with some players who will be very good in the Championship really augers well for next season.
But we simply must be promoted next May – we cannot have any more let-downs – we’ve had far too many of those since Mike Ashley brought the club a very long nine years ago.
I know it’s a long time because I’ve aged 20 years since then.