Rafa Benitez has had to put up with a lot of frustration at Newcastle over three years, caused mainly by owner Mike Ashley and his unwillingness to invest Newcastle’s money into the playing squad.
So Rafa has had to do the best he can with the meager funds he has been given by the owner.
The display and result against Everton on Saturday showed that Rafa has not only brought in some good players for low fees, but every player he brings in is dedicated to the club and the Newcastle cause.
The players must also be willing to give 100% in training and in games for Rafa to sign them in the first place.
Compared to last year at this time we have Sean Longstaff (Academy graduate), Fabian Schar (£3M), Salomon Rondon (loan), Miguel Almiron (£20M eventually), Federico Fernandez (£6M), and Ki Sung-yueng (free agent).
It’s a better squad than last season.
Rafa Benitez acknowledges the fans – after another win
And we have a decent chance of beating the 44 points we got last season – we have 34 points and still 8 games to play.
So when Rafa looks back on his three years on Tyneside, he can rightly say that he has improved the squad each season without much help from the owner.
At the end of the game on Saturday Rafa had taken off his glasses – shook a few hands – and then reached inside his pocket for his eyeglasses case – a ritual he performs at the end of each game.
But for a win he has an air of accomplishment and satisfaction about him – he says it’s all inside – but he’s proud after every Newcastle win.
The stadium was electric at the end of Saturday’s game, and he was on the pitch waving to his admiring fans and shaking hands with the players.
It was some scene and a fantastic home win for Newcastle – the first time since October 2003 that we had come back to win a PL game after being two goals down.
He will not get that atmosphere or appreciation for a job well done at many other clubs.
Yes, he needs some investment from Ashley to sign a new deal, and he will get some, but how much we don’t know.
But with young players coming through the ranks like Longstaff and Almiron, it’s got to be very difficult for the manager to walk away from Newcastle this summer.
And Ashley may be stubborn and difficult to work with, but he does leave Rafa alone to do what he does best – coach the team as he sees fit.
Rafa wants to turn Newcastle into a top-six club in England but even if Ashley doesn’t give him everything he wants Rafa – he may still sign a new deal to stay on Tyneside.
We’re hoping Rafa will stay and it’s an opportunity for Mike Ashley to be a lot more appreciative of the man he currently has as the Newcastle manager.
There are not many managers around who can bring together a football club, its fans, and a whole City through the power of his personality.
That’s what Rafa has done for three years – through both good times and bad on Tyneside.
Long may it continue.