If Rafa Benitez had more time with the squad last season, the likelihood is very high that he would have been able to save Newcastle from relegation, but time ran out and we are in the second division for the coming season.
But once Rafa made the decision to stay on at the club the former Liverpool manager along with Lee Charnley planned the pre-season in some detail and kept the traveling down to a minimum.
It was heavily tilted towards Rafa having lots of time on the training field with the players and also getting in new players just as soon as possible.
Lee Charnley and Rafa Benitez
Newcastle’s Managing Director and manager
That has all happened and Rafa has had lots of time to train the players and get them to understand the way he wants them to play in the coming season.
And Rafa has also ensured Newcastle play at some smaller stadiums, much like the ones they will visit in the Championship next season.
The team has also played two games a week going into the start of the Championship, which mirrors the conditions in the Championship.
It’s a big contrast to last season when the squad toured over here in America and had long trips to places like Milwaukee, Sacramento and Portland- and the players ended up exhausted when they returned.
The heat and humidity in the US is extreme and in Raleigh yesterday we had the temperature at 97 degrees F (36 degrees C) and the humidity was close to 100% – it’s been like that for quite some time now.
So the players also have a problem with the heat and humidity when they come over to stateside and also when they visit Asia (it’s that continental climate), yet always seemed to be surprised by it.
This summer there are a number of Premier League clubs touring America and Asia and other places around the world as they try to both make money and build their global brand.
West Ham United and Andy Carroll visited Raleigh on July 12th to play the local side – the Carolina RailHawks – and the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
Now is not the time to do that for Newcastle – we need to get back to the Premier League and that’s the only thing that matters right now – as we prepare for the new season down below.
Rafa was asked about the long haul tours in the summer and he talked about them in the Chronicle today:
“It depends on the clubs. Obviously, you have to find the balance between commercial and marketing and football. It depends on the size of the club.”
“Sometimes you go to play in Asia and America to make massive money. If you have the right conditions that’s fine.”
“If not some clubs have a priority for business and sometimes they pay the price during the season.” “The balance is the key.”
“If you do go long haul you have to make sure you have the right conditions to train and coach the team then you can be ready.”
“It’s not good when you travel around the world or make an eight-hour journey to play a game.”
Newcastle still hope to bring in two or three players and be ready to make a very good start in the Championship starting a week on Friday at Fulham.
Selling Moussa Sissoko this week could also help with those preparations and help settle the squad.
This afternoon the team will be at Southend United and their manager is former Hull City boss and South Shields born Phil Brown.
It will be our second last preseason friendly and is not meant to grow Newcastle’s global brand.
|Club||Location||Date and Kickoff||Result|
|Bohemian||Dalymount Park||Saturday, 16th July|
|Doncaster Rovers||Keepmoat Stadium||Wednesday, 20th July|
|KSC Lokeren||Daknamstadion||Saturday, 23rd July|
|Southend United||Roots Hall||Tuesday, 26th July|
|SBV Vitesse||St. James Park||Saturday, 30th July|