Up And Coming Coach Talks About Rafa’s Leadership Lessons

When 30 year-old Scot Ian Cathro arrived last summer to be part of Steve McClaren’s new coaching team at Newcastle, he had already been the assistant manager at Valencia and before that had been the assistant manager at Portuguese club Rio Ave.

Ian was a welcome addition to the coaching staff and when Rafa Benitez arrived in March, he knew all about Ian and no doubt had checked him out with his many Valencia contacts.

Rafa was happy to keep Ian at Newcastle as an integral part of his coaching staff.

ian cathro training

Ian Cathro in pre-season training this summer

Ian has given an interview in the Sunday Herald today and he says he is happy to learn under a top-class  manager like Rafa Benitez.

However, there’s no doubt at some time in the future he will become a manage in his own right.

This is what Ian has said in the Herald today:

“I’m working under a top class manager who has an excellent staff which I have been welcomed as part of.”

“They all have specific roles and tasks so there are a lot of lessons for leadership and how the manager guides the entire football club.”

“As for being a manager – that is something which will happen – when I don’t know.”

“It will depend on making the right step at the right moment. But there is no rush aspect to it right now.”

At only 30 years old – very young for a coach – Ian has plenty of time and what better right now than to be learning from a coach who is not just world-class, but is also a very good teacher.

That’s of both his players and his coaches.

And who knows, maybe Ian can end up as the Newcastle United manager one day in the future – that’s certainly a possibility.

But only after Rafa has taken Newcastle on to win some trophies in what we hope is a long and very successful  stay on Tyneside for Mr. Benitez.

That would be great.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

70 comments so far

  • Laurent Robert 32

    Sep 3, 2016 at 11:39 PM

    Comment #1

    I’m glad he was kept on. He’ll learn a lot from Rafa.

  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 3, 2016 at 11:54 PM

    Comment #2

    i would like to hear Ian define the role he is currently occupying.

  • Graeme

    Sep 4, 2016 at 1:29 AM

    Comment #3

    If Rafa really wants what we all want – success; He has the perfect situation to achieve it. That the club is massive, cannot be denied; That it has been seriously mismanaged, also cannot be denied.

    If Ashley is seriously buying into “The Project” we will be more than capable, under Rafa, of qualifying for Europe in 2019.

    What a dream that will be, to follow KK, SBR and have NUFC back in Europe, even Champions league in this decade. All power to the Rafalution.

  • expatmag

    Sep 4, 2016 at 3:58 AM

    Comment #4


    That would take serious money and I doubt Ashkey would be serious in spending large amounts on so called superstars.

  • Jib

    Sep 4, 2016 at 6:12 AM

    Comment #5

    That would take serious money and I doubt Ashkey would be serious in spending large amounts on so called superstars.

    Not needed

    Rafa has won European major trophies at :-

    Chelsea Europa League2012/13
    Clearly a squad of superstars

    Liverpool CL 2004/5
    Dudek, Finnan (Hamann 46), Traore, Hyypia, Carragher, Riise, Gerrard, Luis Garcia, Alonso, Kewell (Smicer 23), Baros (Cisse 85)

    Hardly superstars

    Valencia Uefa Cup 2003/4
    Apart from Ayala (Argentina) and Carboni(Italy) all Spanish players
    defo no superstars

  • Jib

    Sep 4, 2016 at 6:25 AM

    Comment #6
  • Big Archie

    Sep 4, 2016 at 6:38 AM

    Comment #7

    I would like to have heard something, even ANYTHING about Rafa’s leadership lessons.

  • Jib

    Sep 4, 2016 at 6:54 AM

    Comment #8

    The coaching staff at Benton were left scratching their heads at Galatasaray’s medical report on Cheick Tiote as he is training well and seems fit as a lop.

    I personally think it could be a blessing in disguise – his contract runs out next June and loaning him out (his agent’s suggestion) to save 10 months wages looks like false economy.
    He should get some game time even if it’s just to rest players for cupties.

  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 4, 2016 at 7:51 AM

    Comment #9

    I would hope that the situation Rafael Benetez finds at NUFC is the most straight forward of his managerial career. At the end of the day it is all about the money and although there will be no extra investment from the owner, due to his other business interests, the club can substantially generate its own capital and has been standing on its own two feet since we were last promoted. Despite there being little commercial investment, which has impacted spending on the infrastructure of the club, the overall costs on players salaries and new transfers has been covered by the ever increasing TV revenue.

    Rafa and Penfold have steered the club on a course that should reduce any impact of being relegated once again. With the confidence in his own capabilities to win promotion, there are no external forces that will impact his ability to create a successful club that can wipe its own nose and compete.

  • expatmag

    Sep 4, 2016 at 8:06 AM

    Comment #10


    You of all people, being the self proclaimed font of all football knowledge should know that the game especially in the UK has changed altogether since Rafas days at Valencia and Liverpool.

    Last year, Leicester achievements were a complete fluke although due to big sky money and foreign ownership, the game is a bit more even.

    However, there is still the 3 mini league concept in the PL which I spoke about yesterday.

    Even with such a talented manager as Rafa, I dont see our owner shelling out the big pounds to compete with the like of the two Manchester clubs, Chelsea Arsenal etc.

    We will fall into the middle league concept of your Southamptons Evertons and Stoke where we hope to emulate Leicester and naybe a decent shot at one of the cups.

    This is why I am convinced the champions league should now be replaced with a european super league with the top 4 from England Germany Spain Italy and possibly France

  • Jib

    Sep 4, 2016 at 8:28 AM

    Comment #11

    I love debating with Aussies 😀

    Only superstar clubs win stuff !!!

    Oh just a minute there was Leicester last season

    That was just a fluke I tell you.

    Apart from the roads the viaducts the economy what have the Romans ever done for us !

    Ha ha ha

    It’s well seen you were good mates with Mr Tuff

  • expatmag

    Sep 4, 2016 at 8:45 AM

    Comment #12


    In your case, there is no such thing as a debate. It is either your way or the highway which is incariably flawed due to your obvious lack of knowledge and common sense.

    I would be happy to devate the discussion with you if you could approach it from an adult perspective rathrr than anchildish primary school type reaction.

    Furthermore, I fail to see what your inference of me being Australian or friendly with Tuff has to do with NUFC discussions between us.

    Maybe you are a racist…..or perhaps a TUFFIST?…..LOL

  • Tsunki

    Sep 4, 2016 at 8:46 AM

    Comment #13

    “All right yes but…..apart from the roads….”


  • Tsunki

    Sep 4, 2016 at 8:50 AM

    Comment #14

    There is definitely a stratification to the PL which. Mostly requires big outlay to reach the top tier and compete, although it has to be said it’s spending with diminishing returns. And last year Leicesters triumph was helped in no small way by a perfect storm of inexplicable lack of performance by the “Big Clubs”

  • Ron Knee

    Sep 4, 2016 at 8:52 AM

    Comment #15

    Ambition from Fat Sam:-

    “But personally, if we get a draw from the most difficult game of the group, I’ll be happy.”

  • jimmysmith

    Sep 4, 2016 at 8:58 AM

    Comment #16

    Newcastle can still theoretically break into the top eight, if we go back at the first attempt and Ashley chucks some more cash in. But I don’t see how it can be done sustainably. The difference between us in the Championship and the team that finishes 17th in the EPL is about 33 million pounds, tenth 50 million and so on per year for the next three years. Selling Sissoko makes up the difference in the first year, but should we go up we’ll still only be in a similar financial position to the side that finishes 17th and with probably a similar strength group of players. That’s a long long way out of the European places. I don’t see how Newcastle makes in roads up the table unless it spends more than it makes, at least for the first few seasons back. That’s the cost of relegation to Ashley, or us if he doesn’t add quite substantially to the interest free loan, in which case we are more likely to remain a struggling bottom third side, or yoyo club, as far as I can tell.

  • Ian Toon

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:00 AM

    Comment #17

    Expat- There you go again with an accountants type mentality not for you the football fans dream the impossible dream. Ooh it’s too difficult let’s not!!!

    It’s a building exercise as Hall/KK showed. Under this regime a lack of investment in the summer of 2012 left us unable to push on and build on a dream 5th place finish – I say that as a fan of football and NUFC. For those like Expat who don’t see nothing ventured nothing gained as a viable alternative your( as we were) lucky to avoid relegation. When others invest your running to keep up- geddit!

    It’s not only fans that feel let down but the players at the clubs disposal who are required to perform as they should- they also expected the club to kick on. This lack of ambition left a squad that seemed uninterested towards the end of the season, resulting in a series of ever-worsening humiliating heavy defeats. Pulis has recently hinted of this potential consequence at WBA – it’s not rocket science – they don’t care why should we! You have to show tangible ambition it’s win all round.

    Promotion in prospect in January meant KK was planning building. Fans expected the squad to be seriously beefed up, better players secured so that current first-teamers once PL was achieved ended up on the bench or sold. If reserves had proved to be incapable of stepping up to the first team they were jettisoned with those leaving replaced numerically.

    The priority is to win promotion from the Championship but don’t think for one moment that forward planning doesn’t feature strongly in Benitez’s thinking. As we’ve had this conversation before don’t bother coming back with the negative posturing – why would Ashley buy into that. Followed by the Jail loop material ad nausea me on our esteemed owner.

  • Jib

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:05 AM

    Comment #18

    Ron (Josef Goebbels) Knee
    Nice manipulation of what Sam actually said


    He said – looking for a win but a draw wouldn’t be the end of the world.

    I personally think – Away to a packed Hampden Park next June will be the hardest game

  • Ian Toon

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:08 AM

    Comment #19

    Expat- It’s not a question of debate but the harping back to what’s gone before under Ashley. That’s the banker mitigation/ accountant balancing the books not a vibrant optimistic fan dreaming the impossible dream. That’s what KK/ SBR bought into. It was the snappy happenings of 2004 when we went on the downward spiral.

    It began then and in various degrees continued. Until now.

  • Ian Toon

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:09 AM

    Comment #20

    Snappy= unhappy.

  • Rotonda heights

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    Comment #21

    I still can’t believe fat sham has got the gig on the basis of keeping a couple of teams in the premiership, playing dark age anti-football. For SA read AP, TP , SM. All total Z listers.

    For whatever age fat sham is now why has he never been approached to manage a top team or ever won anything, yet is deemed qualified to lead a nation of 65M people.

    The FA said they would look for the best person on merit, regardless of nationality. The truth is the national job is awarded by default as good managers won’t leave their clubs.

  • Ron Knee

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    Comment #22


    This is from the BBC website:-

    “Everyone will want us to win. Some will expect us to win but I don’t think it will be that easy based on Slovakia’s record.

    “Winning is what we want. If the nation thinks that’s the only thing we can have to make us feel better, we’ll try. But personally, if we get a draw from the most difficult game of the group, I’ll be happy.”

    Where’s the distortion, Scheisskerl?

  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:21 AM

    Comment #23

    Not so many years ago Chelsea stopped making a loss that the owner had to pick up. Before that in his attempt to win the CL, Abramovic(?) had consistently invested fortunes, to only achieve a consistent top four finish and the odd Premier League title. If not a CL team the rest of the teams in the EPL can only break in waves at their prominent (I can’t find the words for the metaphor) expenditure. However, the CL teams from other leagues do not have the same advantage and secondly, spending has not resulted in achievement. The reverse could be said in the case of Arsenal, who consistently qualify for the CL without the massive spending and changing of managers.

    My point being, it is presumably better to begin with self sufficiency and see how far that takes us, before investing in potentially costly mistakes.

  • Ian Toon

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:21 AM

    Comment #24

    Who is Jeff?

  • Jib

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:27 AM

    Comment #25

    No distortion
    I grant you
    but selective editing of the slimiest kind.

    “Ambition from Fat Sam:-
    “But personally, if we get a draw from the most difficult game of the group, I’ll be happy.”

  • Rotonda heights

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #26

    Despite some people’s misgivings re – Mike Ashley’s stewardship, could the penny have finally dropped with MA that entrusting your club to lesser failed lights such as McCarvew was indeed very false economy.

    With a man of substance like Rafa, the whole mood music has altered. No more images of one man with his head in his hands after yet another defeat, of another head butting a player and verbally abusing a well respected coach, or the final fall from grace, the best coach in the league offering fans outside!

    Respect is coming back to the club in spades with a man of principles and dignity, not a misplaced arrogant and deluded ego.

  • expatmag

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:29 AM

    Comment #27

    IAn toon

    I lost interest about line 2

  • Ian Toon

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:32 AM

    Comment #28

    As in any business the secret is to employ good people. Those that can grow with the business and buy into the vision.
    Wenger is an example I used back in 2012 as the path we needed to take. With a root and branch undertaking growing the club from the bottom/ academy and encompassing scouting and recruitment.
    The first phase being self sufficiency which met the requirements of a growing club only if you produced PL players from your own academy.

    This was at a time on the blog when there was constantly open warfare with Kieron/Ciaron/ Kevvy Matteens and Ibiza playing the role of Henry Kissinger. Little was debated other than the size of egos.

  • Ian Toon

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:34 AM

    Comment #29

    Expat- That’s because you’ve got an entrenched closed mind. Why bother.

  • Tsunki

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:40 AM

    Comment #30

    Actually the full context of Fat Sams statement sounds worse imo.

    I think Leicesters example proves the diminishing benefits of hiring rank journeymen “stars” who have been ego-boosted way beyond their talent by inflated values. Whereas the hiring of a top manager is totally different – they, unlike players, do suffer the professional ignominy of being relieved of duty in a cloud of failure. Managers like Benitez are better served not by populating a squad with a billion pounds worth of players he didn’t ask for, but by shrewdly and economically collecting exactly the squad he designs, one with a mentality that is in tune with his ambition. We cried out for a good manager years ago, hopefully now that Ashley has been beaten to his senses he won’t do something to fix it when and if it succeeds

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #31

    Pushy, carl, sack Llambias and Jack Root know who jeff is, they’re all avid readers after all!

  • Ron Knee

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:47 AM

    Comment #32

    “I personally think …” Can you think impersonally?

  • Jib

    Sep 4, 2016 at 9:59 AM

    Comment #34
  • Ian Toon

    Sep 4, 2016 at 10:05 AM

    Comment #35

    Jib. – Interesting. Free expression is seen as character building in children at US. Schools whereas in the UK it’s seen as badly behaved children who are in need of Ritalin.

  • Tsunki

    Sep 4, 2016 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #36

    Nice one Jib, but if you understood context ( I know, we’ll get there one day) Ron was clearly asking if you could expound an opinion ‘impersonally’, not facts. What do you reckon? You can use crayon, but no cheating.

  • The overrated Frenchman

    Sep 4, 2016 at 10:11 AM

    Comment #37

    So Ian Toon is a libertarian “PC gone mad” peddler. Who would have thought it? He seemed so intelligent…

  • Tsunki

    Sep 4, 2016 at 10:12 AM

    Comment #38

    Free expression has extruded the love for carrying weapons in the US as if it was still the wild west. Not a political statement, just a bit of impersonal thinking.

  • Ron Knee

    Sep 4, 2016 at 10:12 AM

    Comment #39


    So what are your impersonal thoughts on Fat Sam as England manager?

  • Mister Tuff

    Sep 4, 2016 at 10:13 AM

    Comment #40

    Of course Leicesters winning of the PL was a fluke – a fluke in the sense that they will not do it again this season.
    Their football was good and quite exciting – and they deserved their position of top of the table – I do not think anybody is denying that.

    “Normal order” will be restored this season by the likes of the Manchester clubs, Chelski etc – not Leicester.
    Jib Jibberish – you must think they are going to do it again – so as it’s not a fluke — eh.


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