The crowd at the end of yesterday’s emphatic 3-0 win against Chelsea started to chant – “Rafa Benitez, we want you to stay.”
Rafa has said he was really proud to hear that, but the manager is also down to earth.
He will only agree to stay longer than the year left on his contract if he knows he can take Newcastle to greater things in the future.
Rafa wants to be successful at Newcastle – none of this “getting by” stuff.
Newcastle finished in the top ten, but that’s only a start for Benitez who wants to challenge for the top six and win trophies at the club.
If he cannot do that because of the financial resistance of owner Mike Ashley, then he is likely to move to another club – probably next summer.
His representatives are in negotiations with Managing Director Lee Charnley on things he needs from the club for him to sign a new extended contract.
The talks will continue today, and most fans hope a resolution can come quickly and hopefully this week.
This is what Rafa said when asked about the chants for him to stay late in the game yesterday:
“I was really proud of that, but you cannot sing the name of the manager if the team is doing badly,”
“In this case, what the players did last season and what they have done this year was massive.”
“The fans appreciate this togetherness, and the relationship we have created.”
“The players care, and the manager and staff and everybody. We were all working together to achieve what we wanted to achieve, which is a success for the club.”
“It is not enough just to finish 10th with four or five teams around you.”
“What I would like is to be sure that the team is able to compete to finish above 10th.”
“That means having the right quality, the right mentality and the right level through the whole season, not just for some performances.
“This group of players have done so well, so it would be easy to say: ‘OK, well you are already in the top 10.’”
“I think we have to do something more to make sure the group is stronger and more competitive.”
“Then we can go to any stadium and think about going to win, rather than thinking that a draw might be a good result.”
“We have to have the confidence in our team to be able to go anywhere thinking that we can win.”
“I still have one year left on my contract, so it is different.”
“Now, we have to make sure that we do the right things and are on the same page.”
“The fans have ambitions and we have ambitions, and we have to know if everybody has the same feelings too.”
“The potential is there. It is easy to see what we have – now we need to do something more and be a little bit better.”
What’s needed to speed up the negotiations is for Rafa and Lee to have a meeting with Mike Ashley this week.
Why wouldn’t Ashley want to meet with Rafa to help sort out what Rafa needs to sign a new deal at Newcastle?
Ashley should think about how much the club could be worth in two years time if he does support Rafa financially.
If we are successful, it could be north of £600M, and that should appeal to the owner and have him do the right thing.
But why he’s hesitating, we just don’t know.