Benitez Praises Wenger – One of The Best Managers In Football History

The Newcastle boss has always liked Arsene Wenger and you can see that when they meet before a game – like last Sunday at St. James’ Park as an example.

Arsenal fans have been grumbling about Wenger for quite a few years now, and some will be glad to see him leaving the club at the end of the season.

Rafa was asked about the Arsenal manager who joined the club way back in 1996.

Rafa Benitez and Arsene Wenger meet – when Rafa was Napoli manager

This is how Rafa answered that question:

“I have been talking well about Arsene Wenger for quite a while. When he came here to England, to do things in the way he did and win in the way he was winning, was a massive achievement.”

“He is an example for everyone, but especially for foreign managers like me.”

“His behavior has always been good.” “He was fighting and winning before me, and it was really difficult to do that.”

“He did really well – he is one of the best managers in football history.”

“I think it is the last time we will see this (a manager be in charge of a big club for 22 years).”

“There is so much money in football now that everyone wants things quickly and want to change things after a couple of bad results, we saw that ourselves when we had a bad run.”

“The reality is that you have to be patient and have an idea and a plan.”

“If you stick with the plan you have more chances to do well and that is what he did for 22 years.”

Benitez’ contract runs out at the end of June next year so we are hoping Mike Ashley can sign him up on a long-term deal – but that could be difficult if Ashley doesn’t sell the club.

Ashley would have to completely change the way the club is run for Rafa to stay, and the manager has said that a few times this season.

The best thing is that the two men speak early on and it will give both sides that extra time should an agreement not be reached for Rafa to stay past this season.

We (definitely) expect an agreement to be reached and are hoping Ashley will give Rafa everything he asks for – and then keep his word.

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Comments welcome.

Personal Note:  That’s it for today – I’m off to the Rex Cancer Center in Raleigh for a full body bone scan, an MRI scan and a CAT scan – all in one afternoon.


156 comments so far

  • Jib

    Apr 20, 2018 at 2:57 PM

    Comment #1

    Wenger was 47 when he joined Arsenal
    Rafa is just turned 58
    If the Gunners are thinking of replicating
    AW’s example – Thomas Tuchel at 44
    looks the more likely

  • hellodjo

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:00 PM

    Comment #2

    Ashley needs to invest substantially or sell, if he does neither then there will be hell on and very likely Rafa leaving. Personally feel we’ll see substantial investment if Ashley stays, the money is there undoubtedly we should easily be able to spend 75mil+, alternatively if the right offer comes in he will sell so my gut feeling is we are in a win win situation

  • lesh

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:06 PM

    Comment #3


    Best wishes and our hopes that your tests pass muster. You’ve shown you’re as strong as ox to sustain your fight and continue to push back. Carry on.

  • lesh

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:07 PM

    Comment #4


    Ashley’s more likely to play the can’t/ won’t invest due to selling the club

  • chicousa

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:17 PM

    Comment #5

    Good luck on your full body scan, Ed. Thanks again for all your efforts with this blog!

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:18 PM

    Comment #6

    Ed best of luck today

  • Ron Knee

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:18 PM

    Comment #7


    An example of “chaos capitalism”?

  • Ron Knee

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:19 PM

    Comment #8

    All the best, Ed.

  • RobLeenio

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:20 PM

    Comment #9

    Love the fact that Ed has written 8 separate quality articles on a day when he has all of these tests hanging over him. And then feels he needs to justify not writing any more.

    You’re a good’un Ed, hope it all goes well for you today.

  • hibbit

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:22 PM

    Comment #10

    all the very best Ed
    stay strong

  • Dagwoodz

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #11


    Good luck with the scans today, hopefully good news is on the horizon for you!

  • ben.g

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:33 PM

    Comment #12

    Hope luck today Ed. Hope all goes well for you

  • ben.g

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:34 PM

    Comment #13

    Anyone fancy Jonny Evans for 3 million?

  • ben.g

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:35 PM

    Comment #14

    Bet west brom wish they had taken 18 mill now

  • Pottsclock

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:36 PM

    Comment #15

    Thanks Ed for continuing to bring us all together. Best of luck with the tests mate.

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:45 PM

    Comment #16

    Evans 3mill yes please

  • ben.g

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:51 PM

    Comment #17

    We will have to join the que Munster!

  • G

    Apr 20, 2018 at 3:53 PM

    Comment #18

    I echo the sentiment Ed. Stay strong, keep fighting, hope the scans go well.

  • Jib

    Apr 20, 2018 at 4:05 PM

    Comment #20

    Merino looks fit enough

  • Pottsclock

    Apr 20, 2018 at 4:09 PM

    Comment #21

    At the end of the day, the Evans thing will be purely down to where he wants to go and how much wage he’ll get. Given that there are definite defensive frailties in even the top 6 clubs, there’ll be a long queue as ben says. But from a pure “sales” perspective we’d probably get more money for the sale of Mbemba than we’d have to pay for him, so it’s possible if Rafa can be persuasive

  • G

    Apr 20, 2018 at 4:12 PM

    Comment #22

    Much Evans for 3M appeals, and despite him being part of the worst defensive line outside of Wearside, he won’t be short of offers for far more than we would pay. Would be silly not to try anyway though. I would offer WBA 5M now on the quiet and hope his agent didn’t leak it to the press.

  • cleveleysbob

    Apr 20, 2018 at 4:30 PM

    Comment #23

    Hope all goes well with tests Ed. Thanks as always for your dedication.

  • G

    Apr 20, 2018 at 4:31 PM

    Comment #24

    Has to be said mind, Rafa’ s comments on Wenger, given their past rivalries oozes pure class.

  • Spotlight Kid

    Apr 20, 2018 at 4:35 PM

    Comment #25

    First off, the bit no-one will disagree with, good luck and best wishes to Dr Harrison with those scans today.

    Secondly, back on topic, I think Rafa himself would have to admit he is now a better manager for having to work on a tighter budget. He seems to have excelled at bringing the best out of the available players – which is a gift that good international managers have to possess. He’ll need this whether he goes to Arsenal or stays at NUFC, as he is not going to get an open chequebook – both clubs have a similar business model (except one of them is better at executing it).

    I think MA is right to keep a tight hold of finances, after the disasters of the past, but he cannot keep creaming off promised transfer funds whenever it suits him. A bit of compromise on both sides is needed 70% Ashley and 30% Rafa, and I’m sure a sensible deal will be done.

  • DaveD1000

    Apr 20, 2018 at 4:54 PM

    Comment #26

    All the best Ed you are a diamond

  • nut meg

    Apr 20, 2018 at 5:03 PM

    Comment #27

    I hope all your tests go well today Ed,keep ya chin up Bonny Lad.

  • cleveleysbob

    Apr 20, 2018 at 5:04 PM

    Comment #28

    Been watching SSN; can’t believe the comments from some of the numpties calling themselves Arsenal “fans”.

    He’s brought them; 3 x premier league titles, including going one season unbeaten,
    7 x FA cups and got them into Champions league 20 times!!!

    Yet they are saying he’s a disaster and they hope the new manager will bring them more success!! No pressure there then, and they call us deluded.

  • G

    Apr 20, 2018 at 5:04 PM

    Comment #29

    I see #pardewforarsenal is trending all over social media. Lots of Spurs fans with very little to do presumably?

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 20, 2018 at 5:09 PM

    Comment #30

    I know arsenal were in decline slightly but arsenal looking like spoilt brats. I didn’t like the pardew out campaign, but at least we had more justifiable reasons

  • hellodjo

    Apr 20, 2018 at 5:18 PM

    Comment #31

    Regarding west Brom and their defence, 9 teams have conceded more goals than them, their problem is lack of goals, I’d more readily take Gibbs though over Evans

  • Jib

    Apr 20, 2018 at 5:20 PM

    Comment #32

    Rafa is behind Eddie Howe in the betting

  • Mister Tuff

    Apr 20, 2018 at 5:25 PM

    Comment #34

    Good luck with your scans today Ed.

  • Mister Tuff

    Apr 20, 2018 at 5:28 PM

    Comment #35

    If Rafa gets the backing he may be able to replicate what Wenger has done at Arsenal.
    Needs backing and no trickery/deception from Mr Tubbs.

    Wenger – first of the intelligent modern era managers.

  • Bambams

    Apr 20, 2018 at 5:29 PM

    Comment #36


    All the very best mate.

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 20, 2018 at 5:29 PM

    Comment #37

    Good luck Ed, go kicks it’s butt.

    The Arsenal top shareholder on talksport reading what sounds more like a funeral eulogy than a thank you to Wenger!
    I hope Arsenal do a Sunlun now. Or a Charlton for those who remember that disaster. Careful what you wish for…
    It would serve them right to tumble down the table and have years of nothing. Why they think they have a divine right to play CL football is beyond comprehension, yet imagine if we so much as suggested such a thing?
    Rafa won’t go there for his project. Their fan base is the polar opposite of ours and the fan base is important to his project. He loves loyalty. Loyalty and Arsenal fans don’t sit comfortably in the same sentence. Spoilt brats. 🙂
    So don’t worry about him going to Arsenal. All Rafa needs is the right words from Ashley and he’ll stay.
    Anyone a decent ventriloquist? Get Ashley mortal… “Certainly Rafa, you can have whatever you ask”.

  • cyprus

    Apr 20, 2018 at 5:33 PM

    Comment #38

    This isn’t an NUFC post, but it’s football and Ed you were right to mention it. Rafa did too.

    On Wenger:

    I’m old enough to remember how that team played (and admittedly won a few) pre-Wenger. But this guy completely transformed them and for years they’ve been entertaining the world with beautiful football.

    He brought in good player after good player, set up amazing, attacking teams. On the cheap too. He only lately went overboard, probably in desperation, or due to pressure. It’s kind of a shame his brand of football didn’t win more, often through bad luck.

    Still, given the invincibles, assorted silverware and consistent CL football, he has been very successful.

    This current line-up is clearly poorer than past squads he’s put together, despite those two excellent late arrivals. Something’s missing. And he can’t find it. It’s not just defence.

    On TV, he appears scholarly, a top professional, who knows the game inside out. Haven’t read what he’ll do next, hope it isn’t some boring job like D of Football. Hope he takes over the French team or… England.

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 20, 2018 at 5:44 PM

    Comment #39

    I’d swap him with Southgate now, even at this late stage.

  • supermac69

    Apr 20, 2018 at 5:47 PM

    Comment #40

    All the very best Ed, been reading this wonderful blog for years but dont post often, hope we win something soon for all of our sanity.
    hwtl hwtf


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