Think back to almost three years ago when Rafa Benitez first arrived on Tyneside (Friday, March 11, 2016) and he wanted to be the manager of Newcastle and thought he could save us from relegation with 10 games to play.
Fans were ecstatic, and the word was that we have got the man we need as the Newcastle manager and even Mike Ashley cannot screw this one up.
Well, almost three years later we are struggling against relegation for the second season running after being relegated and immediately promoted in the first year under Rafa’s management.
But Rafa seems like a frustrated man on Tyneside these days and who can blame him?
Ashley has run the club since promotion on a financial shoestring, and Rafa has been forced to do business in the bargain basement for players.
Rafa Benitez at the Fulham game
That shows up in the class of the players we have and the team we have.
There is no problem with the characters of our players – they fight like crazy for the club.
But we are just 2 points above the drop zone after 21 games played.
And that league position could look a lot worse in early February once we have played the next four league games.
Here are those games and we have that FA Cup replay at Blackburn between the Chelsea and Cardiff fixtures.
Sat 12 Jan Chelsea vs Newcastle 5:30pm Sat 19 Jan Newcastle vs Cardiff 3:00pm Tue 29 Jan Newcastle vs Man City 8:00pm Sat 2 Feb Tottenham vs Newcastle 5:30pm
There are three top six sides in there, and we have lost every one of our seven games against top-six opposition so far this season.
And there has been silence on the transfer front, and we are almost one third the way through the January transfer window and as far as we know the absent owner – Mike Ashley – is still on his Christmas vacation.
Why is the owner not taking some responsibility and action on behalf of the club – given the dire position we are in?
He is said to be locked in takeover talks which is one reason why he will not loosen the purse strings for Rafa in this January window.
But he hasn’t done that in the last two January transfer windows either.
Even in our promotion season, he refused to spend any money in January 2016 to ensure promotion even though Rafa wanted two players brought in.
He took another risk with Newcastle.
Newcastle United at the moment seems to be like a ship adrift in the ocean with no destination known – and no captain on board to steer the ship.
It’s not a good situation to be in, and this is the kind of disaster scenario we dreaded seems to be happening.
If Ashley doesn’t support Rafa this month and Newcastle is not sold before the summer, then Rafa Benitez will move to pastures new to pastures new when his contract runs out at the end of June.
He’s suffered enough under Ashley at Newcastle.
It really is a shame for the club and everybody associated with it.