One of the strengths of Newcastle United last season was that everybody associated with the club – the coaches, staff, players, and fans stuck together throughout the good times and the bad.
And we had a difficult period in the last two months of last year and went 9 games and picked up only a single point.
That stretch went from October 30th when we lost 1-0 at Burnley to 16th December when we lost 1-0 at Arsenal.
Our 2-2 draw at West Brom on 28th November was the only point we took from those 9 league games and at one point in the second half of that game we were 2-0 down.
Then we hammered West Ham 3-2 on 23rd December and started to win some games.
But the fans stuck with Rafa and what he said would happen did happen – we started winning again and ended up in 10th place in the league.
A terrific finish for a time that lacked class players.
But every one of our players had the grit, determination, and work effort to get points in some tough games.
Rafa Benitez talks to Jonjo Shelvey last season
We need the same things this season and not let Mike Ashley derail the Rafalution.
But Ashley seems to be doing his very best this summer to do just that.
Here are some positive words from Jonjo Shelvey as reported in the Shields Gazette today:
“As a professional footballer, I don’t think you can get involved in that stuff off the pitch,”
“You have to leave that down to the people higher up.”
“The gaffer knows what he’s doing. He’s been there, done that and got the T-shirt.”
“We’re obviously all behind him and behind the club as a whole.”
“You hear what the fans are saying, and what they want, and hopefully the owner will produce that.”
“But, if not, we have to stick together and fight and try and do what we did last season.”
“I think all we need to do is stick together in and around the group. It’s a very, very young team, and we’re inexperienced in terms of Premier League games and stuff like that.”
“But I think the main message that we need to send round to the fans and the players is that we need to stick together and fight as one.”
“There are still a lot of things going on at the football club that we don’t know about,” said the 26-year-old.
“But, for me personally, I feel I’m doing all right.”
“I’ve worked hard during the summer to keep my head and keep training well, so I can keep putting it in during the games.”
Shelvey must keep concentrating on his discipline and control when he plays and we cannot have any more red cards from the former Liverpool man.
Shelvey is a player who is shaping up to be one of our most important players in the coming season.