In his interview in the Mail today, the Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has talked about a number of different things about the club and his 15 months on board, during which time we have been relegated and promoted – so it’s been quite an adventure already.
In this piece, Rafa talks about how when he arrived at the club the fans were kind of divorced from the fans and there was not a very good connection at all between the passionate Newcastle fans and their club.
And quite honestly, that’s a huge understatement.
Rafa Benitez in his office at Newcastle
So Rafa has talked about how it was very important to get the fans and indeed everybody associated with the club pulling in the same direction.
He said that when he arrived on Friday 11th March last year about 11:47am (approximately), everything was not broken at the club and some areas were in fact operating quite well.
This is how Rafa explained the situation at Newcastle United when he first arrived at the club:
“Was the club lost?” “I think it was a little bit disoriented, rather than lost.” “Lost is a bigger word.”
“It means everything was wrong, and everything was not like this.” “The staff and the way things were going and how they were doing things was right.
“A lot of departments were right.” “You have to fix some things.”
“They were capable to do it, it’s not that they couldn’t, they could do it, but I had to tell them, ‘Do it this way.'”
“I knew from the beginning that we had to create a stronger bond between fans, city and team.” “You could see there was a lack of unity.”
“We were trying to find a way.” “Together we are stronger.” “That is the message I gave through the whole season.”
In fact he has done even more than connect the fans and the club together – and as he says he has the City behind the club as well.
Quite honestly, it’s a long long time since Newcastle have been so United – I know it sounds like a pun – but it’s also true.
Long may Rafa Benitez continue to be the Newcastle manager, because we know if we can keep him on board for say 10 years – he will have become the greatest manager Newcastle have ever had.