We remember when Rafa finally accepted the job at Newcastle on May 25th and decided to stay at Newcastle even though we had been relegated.
A number of pundits, including Alan Shearer, were surprised that a world-class manager was willing to go down a division in England.
Alan Shearer kept saying Rafa would have offers galore to coach elsewhere and as it turns out that was true.
But he had come to realize at Newcastle that he had another potential Liverpool, but it could be even better because we haven’t won anything since 1969 and when he took over Liverpool in 2004 they had won over 40 major trophies in that same time-frame.
Rafa Benitez – manager of Newcastle United
So there was a difference in the two jobs and it would be an ever greater achievement if Rafa could have the same success he did at Liverpool and take Newcastle back to the glory days of the past.
Rafa said at the time that coaching is coaching and that it didn’t really matter if he was facing a big club or a small club, a good team or a poor team – he liked the challenge of trying to win every single game whatever division he was in.
And so it has turned out to be this season, with Rafa almost being like a kid in a candy store, as he has been given free rein at massive Newcastle – to do what he thinks best.
Rafa seems like the consummate coach who is doing the job he just loves to do – one reason he always seems so upbeat.
And now he is at a sleeping giant of a club at Newcastle and he sees a massive opportunity for Newcastle to become successful under his leadership.
52,000 crowds at home in the second division and sold-out ticket allocations for every away game – just unbelievable.
What will it be like if we make the Premier League next season?
Rafa was asked in the Chronicle today whether he thinks he’ s a better coach now since a number of pundits had said he would struggle in the Championship.
This is how he answered that question:
“It depends on the environment” “I am a coach. I came to England and I am a manager now, but before I was a coach and I liked to coach out on the training field.
“I like to go and improve players as a coach if I can.
“Then, as a manager, I have more responsibility – but at the same time I am a coach.
“So I am not a manager that is not coming in for one week who leaves his staff to do the job; I like to do the training sessions, analysis, tactical work, and I like to do work with players as individuals.”
“I like to improve then technically and tactically, and I like to pass on my experience to them because I have been so many years playing, studying football, and managing.
“For me, the division; it doesn’t matter Championship, Premier League, Serie A, La Liga – at the end what you have to have is the right environment to coach and to improve your players.
“If you have that, it doesn’t matter what division.
Those are great words on coaching and management coming from Rafa Benitez, similar to what he had said back on May 25th.
He seems to be just loving it as he changes Newcastle all the time – and for the better.
Long may it all continue.