Lee Clark On What Newcastle Must Do To Be Great Again

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 vitesse st james park

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.

7 comments so far

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jul 31, 2016 at 9:19 AM

    Comment #1

    Rafa es Dios en la tiera 😀

  • Laurent Robert 32

    Jul 31, 2016 at 9:23 AM

    Comment #2

    It’s been a while since we’ve done well in pre-season. What’s different? An impressive manager. Let’s hope it continues throughout the season.

    It’s great that he has them doing a lot of tactical analysis, making sure they’re well drilled not just in their role, but their role within an efficient and functioning team.

    This will have helped greatly with the positive results so far.

  • outside the box

    Jul 31, 2016 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #3

    thoughts from yesterdays game…all new signings looked good …sterry looks ready for squad…armstrong could do with 6 month loan ….kilmarnock may be the place…hanley in number 5 shirt but no number 9 for gayle…tiote thauvin are not going to be involved

  • Fostino

    Jul 31, 2016 at 9:31 AM

    Comment #4

    If we get this Brighton winger then I expect to see thauvin leave. Goofy will a decent back up for the wing positions with Arrons..Ritchie as starters

    Think anita and hayden good pre season has splet the end of tiote too. We have saviet too who won’t go so soon after signing and colback.

    Hard to call rafas view on riverie seeing as he has not been involved pre season. I suspect he is on the for sale list along with bigi. .Sammy. .vuckic although one of those might take their one last chance.

    I still have serious reservations about lb . I have not seen Jesus play but I suspect he is a Rb? Janmaat coukd play rw then? I think anita is emergingas a very good player under rafa but he is not an lb. I like dummett but again I think he is a better cb. This leaves haidira who might be a half decent championship player but too injury prone and not good enough for the Pl. Sterry a Rb too. If we buy a l.b. I think we have a very solid defence then for the coming season. …Very solid.

    Unfortunately I think we will have no option but to sell sissoko either which means we are short a midfielder too. Creativity and drive in the middle might be a problem as I don’t think shelvey..sdj have that.

  • geordie157

    Jul 31, 2016 at 9:43 AM

    Comment #5

    It looks clear that the players who got on the pitch yesterday will stay, Janmaat seems to have got his head down and he’s got good competition at right back now with Gamez, Sterry and Mbabu.

    The only player I’m not sure if he’s in Rafa’s plans or not is Haidara, however would like to think we are after a new left back. With Dummett being the back up to cover left back or centre back if needed.

    People keep mentioning Chris Martin as possible signing, he does have a decent record in the championship but I think we’ve got to trust in Mitrovic, the two are very similar and hopefully this season will see Mitrovic improve his game and go on goal scoring run.

  • OneAlanShearer

    Jul 31, 2016 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #6

    We lack a creative midfielder, a left winger, an attacking midfielder, a proven striker and a left back.

    Numbers do not equalify positions filled. It’s a huge season with far more games. We are short 5 players. I’d keep tiote, Hayden has to prove he can break up play. Anita and colback both get stuck in but don’t do the dm role well enough.

  • sirjasontoon

    Jul 31, 2016 at 11:37 AM

    Comment #7

    Would swop Rafa for Lee Clarke all day long.


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