The preparations for preseason are well underway and for the third time running the first team will be traveling to County Kildare, Ireland and Carton House where the players can get in some good training with few distractions.
The preseason return date for the players is Monday, July 2, before they head out to Ireland and Carton House for a week-long training camp.
Benitez doesn’t like these long overseas trips which the top clubs tend to do every preseason so they can add to their revenues.
Rafa Benitez and Newcastle squad in Ireland in 2016
This is what Benitez told Chronicle Live today about pre-season:
“Normally we have the same idea every summer – and I think it will be the same this time around.”
“Sometimes you may have commercial agreements to go away somewhere, but we will have to see about that and I hope we don’t.”
“The players will return for training on July 2 and then later that month we will go to Ireland, just like we have done the last two summers.”
“We try to go to a place where we can train and focus on that. We don’t need to go flying all around and not settling in one place like you might do if you go to America or if you go to China.”
“If you do that, you are flying and traveling around the country, which is not always the best for the football side of things.”
“Commercially it can be fine, but it has to be well organized so that you can know you have proper time for training.”
“But for us, that is the key: to train and to make sure we prepare in the best possible way for the season.”
“We have found the right place in Ireland, which is why we have been there two times already; everything is close, the hotel is very good.”
“We are in a place where we don’t have too many distractions – and that means the players can just focus on training, and we can spend as much time as possible with them doing that.”
Last season Newcastle played six friendly games but none have yet been announced for this preseason.
At the moment Lee Charnley and Rafa are working hard trying to bring some new players into the club and sell others.
Rafa likes to do the hard work in the training necessary to prepare the Newcastle team for what we hope will be a better season than last term.
And it turned out very well last season for the club to finish in the top 10 for only the third time in the 11 years Ashley has owned the club.
The Sunday news that transfers had been put on hold on Tyneside until Rafa was signed were not true – and it was a daft idea in any case.
What would happen if Rafa’s deal wasn’t signed by the end of July?
That’s a real possibility but we hope it’s signed soon.
The snail’s pace with which the club is moving to secure Rafa to a new contract shows the lack of any real ambition from the Newcastle hierarchy.
Jack Farish is currently studying for a Master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology at Northumbria University.
His thesis project looks at Premier League fans’ team identification – how well they support and identify with their team.
Jack has put together a relatively short questionnaire of team identification and satisfaction with life; it should take no longer than 10 minutes.
You can help Jack by filling out the survey here.