Rafa Benitez is a special football manager who just loves what he does and is always keen to improve himself as a manager.
He has already said he improved last season in leading Newcastle United to the Championship with 94 points as we just pipped Brighton to the title and how many world-class managers would stay with a club and drop down a division with them?
Not many and that’s why Newcastle fans know there’s something very special about Rafa Benitez.
And Rafa knows a lot about all kinds of coaching and it was interesting how he surprised goalkeeping coach Simon Smith last year when he knew all kinds of details about goalkeepers and goalkeeping techniques.
Rafa Benitez – win-win situation for Mike Ashley and the manager
Benitez is also thought to be one of the best tacticians in the game and his game plan at Huddersfield Town earlier this year was a joy to watch as the Terriers had lots of possession, but hardly got a chance against us and we ran out 3-1 winners at the John Smith’s Stadium.
70% possession doesn’t mean you will win the game these days.
Rafa is also a pillar of strength when things go wrong as they did a few times (too many times?) last season.
When for instance we lost our first two games and then in the second half of April when our young players showed nerves when we were so close to getting that automatic promotion spot.
Rafa is also a savvy business man and is one of the few managers who truly understands the finances of football clubs and that money doesn’t grow on trees – unlike some other managers we could name – but won’t.
So in his meeting with owner Mike Ashley last night he was trying to build trust between the two as much as anything else, which is why he went over so many different facets of how a club needs to be well run.
Mark Douglas had a good article out today in ChronicleLive where he points that out – and he is so right.
Rafa wants Mike Ashley to know he’s learned a lot in the 30 years he’s been in coaching and that Mike can trust him with running the club along with Managing Director Lee Charnley – with whom he gets on so well.
So one way to put it is that Rafa Benitez wants Mike to think what our fans already know – In Rafa We Trust.
And Mike’s been burned a few times these last 10 years by people like Dennis Wise who let him down, but the owner has also made his fair share of daft mistakes – too many in fact.
We hope like Rafa that Mike Ashley learns from his mistakes.
If Mr. Benitez can get Mike Ashley trusting him with running the club – and we think he can – then there’s no limit to what Rafa and his team, with the help of Lee Charnley can achieve in the years ahead.
We really mean that!