Former Newcastle coach and player Lee Clark has given an upbeat interview in the Mirror today and he talks about Rafa Benitez and how he is busy transforming Newcastle United into (hopefully) an English powerhouse again.
Lee was part of Kevin Keegan’s great team of entertainers in the 1990s and that along with the five years Sir Bobby Robson was at the club were times when everybody associated with Newcastle were pulling in the same direction.
Rafa Benitez at St. James’ Park yesterday against Vitesse
That’s what’s happening now with the fans, the owner and Lee Charnley right behind the manager – and Lee is clear that Rafa was the best summer signing Newcastle have made for some time.
Here’s what the 43 years-old manager of Kilmarnock had to say today:
“Without a doubt, the best news this summer was that the club was able to keep the manager.”
“The powers-that-be have then let Rafa do it his way – and I think they realized they had to do that – because otherwise people would have voted with their feet.”
“It was a make-or-break summer. If they had interfered, insisting on this or that, it could have been the final straw.”
“But now we are in the position at Newcastle of having a manager, the fans and the owner all pulling in the same direction.”
“If Rafa can harness that momentum – and the club has to do the hard work and get out of the Championship – then there could be special times again.”
“I have been a part of Newcastle United when the whole place has been truly united. All working off the same page. It was an incredible time.”
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to be part of something like that because the goodwill can snowball.” “However, for it to continue, the manager needs to be left to make footballing decisions.”
“I think the warmth and passion of the fans helped convince him that Newcastle United can be a genuine force in English football again.”
“They stretched open their arms to him and he has returned that embrace by agreeing to stay – even though the club was relegated.”
“If he is the one who turns it around, he’ll be doing it his way.” “And whatever happens before that transfer window closes, it won’t change one thing – that Benitez was the best signing of the summer.”
Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley have it right at the moment as they are simply supporting what Rafa wants to do with the squad and with the club.
They cannot go far wrong, especially after all the disasters of the last nine years.
They simply have to continue their 100% support of the world-class manager in everything he wants to do at Newcastle.
If they can do that and not interfere then we could have a top side again in two or three years time – or less – and a top modern day club too with the best facilities of any club in England.
Leave Rafa alone and he is completely and utterly motivated to win trophies at Newcastle.
That cannot be bad.