Newcastle The Only Club Benitez Would Have Stayed At

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.

raa benitez close-up

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

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.


Comments welcome.

11 comments so far

  • jazzyp

    Jul 22, 2016 at 8:34 AM

    Comment #1

    Definitely can agree with that. Even with relegation the big club mentality still exists.Not many clubs could have brought players from the PL to the Championship plus we still have the Nucleus of a Pl squad.

  • will die for the toon army

    Jul 22, 2016 at 8:35 AM

    Comment #2

    With the transfers, I believe Charnely and Rafa know what they are doing. I have no Comment.
    So far with what I have seen:

    1. I believe Janmatt will leave.
    2. Perez is the all same player he is better impact player
    3. Arma has good runs and a very good No. 10
    4. Mitro is suspended.
    4. Hayden is good was impressed but he isnt better than Tiote. If Tiote leaves then he will be good to go.
    5. Colback we have a balance wen he is in the team

  • jimmysmith

    Jul 22, 2016 at 8:39 AM

    Comment #3

    I would have thought that the Championship is all about fighting, running and grit is because all the talent plays in the top division. Stick an epl team in the Championship and I see no reason it wouldn’t win it every time. The nature of the league isn’t much of a reason to want shot of good players.

  • geordie157

    Jul 22, 2016 at 8:40 AM

    Comment #4

    Hanley will be a good signing.

    Left back is the worry for me, Anita is not good there, Dummett is decent but has little to offer going forward and if Haidara finds a bit of form he always picks up an injury.

    If we could get him, Charlie Taylor would be a great signing, however after letting Cook go I don’t think Monk will part with his player of the season. Rico Henry is a good option, only seen him a few times but looks a great prospect, I think he’d make the step up easily.

  • jimmysmith

    Jul 22, 2016 at 8:48 AM

    Comment #5

    They will almost certainly offer Sissoko improved terms now to stay. I doubt they’ll just take the money and give up on him without a fight. I also doubt they’ll let Janmaat go easily, nor am I convinced he overly wants to go.


    Jul 22, 2016 at 8:52 AM

    Comment #6

    will die for the toon army don’t you want gamez in your squad

  • jazzyp

    Jul 22, 2016 at 8:53 AM

    Comment #7


    Can you see Hanley being a first team starter tho pal rather than being a squad player ??
    What does that say for Lascelles and Mbemba who we were all saying are the pairing for the future

  • Jib

    Jul 22, 2016 at 8:55 AM

    Comment #8

    All players who played in the Euros had to join their national squads so soon they missed their summer hols.
    For example Juventus are in Australia on a pre-season but Sami Khedira is on safari in Uganda

  • Lindisfarne

    Jul 22, 2016 at 9:22 AM

    Comment #9

    I do wonder what the atmosphere at the club will be like if we are outside the promotion places at Xmas. Or if we are outside the top two and only winning games 1-0. Will supporters turn on Rafa for letting players go, buying too cheaply, having the wrong tactics, or employing the wrong method of defending. Will nothing less than being at #1 be not good enough, or will winning boring games be acceptable for ensuring promotion?

    I understand the analogy to being competitive with Middlesbrough but my first reaction is what does that tell us about our previous squad? However, the correct consensus of opinion being that we need a mixture of Champ. experience and young PL players to replace outgoing players does seem to have become a reality. The club is actually following common sense, a bewildering feeling.

    Who will replace our ‘star’ players though? Will the central midfielders actually exert some influence on matches? Can we become proud of our strikers once again? Will the defenders ever be reliable?

  • Moonraker15

    Jul 22, 2016 at 9:57 AM

    Comment #10

    Rafa has tried to keep the top players but you can’t stop them if they wanna jump ship!
    I think the main thing with Wijnaldum is that it was Liverpool who came in and he’ll see that as a step up. Sissoko is what he is! Townsend probably the biggest miss for us London would be the attraction. Now Rafa needs to replace them with quality to ensure were not just in the mix but leading the race and I’m sure he will! He is on a mission and he only has one season really! HWTL !

  • OneAlanShearer

    Jul 22, 2016 at 12:35 PM

    Comment #11

    I’m wondering if rafa may switch to 352 at some point during matches starting 442. If he drops Hanley back into the defence with any of our 3 centre backs he can push aarons or perez wide left. Gamez wide right. With richie then shelvey and colback/tiote central with gayle or Armstrong alongside mitro when not suspended.

    I still think we are short 5 players. Lb still!!!! Anita can cover Rb so not worried the Janmaat will be away although I’d happily keep him. Sissoko and Wijnaldum need replacing with similar players. Plus I want someone else to be creative in midfield for when shelvey gets lazy. Finally a top striker so all our strikers are on their toes for the starting place (s).

    I don’t want to see 3 places missing like every season under Ashley. Make this season start with a complete squad and go for promotion and a cup….Yes I said it.


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