On Friday 10th May two days before our final game of the season at Fulham, Rafa seemed quite upbeat about things.
He was optimistic that he could come to some kind of agreement with Mike Ashley which would allow him to take Newcastle forward and make the team – and the club – a lot better than we are at the moment.
Rafa won promotion for Newcastle at the first time of asking two years ago and has fought against relegation for the last two seasons.
Nobody can say that Rafa Benitez has not shown real commitment and passion for Newcastle.
And by his own words, he has become a better manager because of it.
Rafa has shown why he is world-class at what he does, and his character and temperament make him more than ideal as the (long-term) manager of Newcastle United.
Rafa Benitez – surrounded by incompetence at Newcastle
We read what he had said back on May 10th as reported in the Chronicle, and it’s worth understanding what he said back then.
It’s really all we have from Rafa over the last four weeks since he has been non-communicative about his contract talks with the club.
And we have heard nothing from the Newcastle hierarchy.
The manager was back in Newcastle yesterday, and we have some hope that he will sign a new deal.
But we doubt it.
At this stage, if he signs the deal has from Ashley then good – he can always sign a new deal with Sheikh Khaled when he takes over.
But that seems so messy and unnecessary if the Sheikh is close to buying Newcastle.
But we are still hoping and praying things will turn out for the best for Newcastle fans – and therefore for the club itself.
Here’s what Rafa said four weeks last Friday before we took Fulham to the cleaners 4-0 at Craven Cottage:
“I try not to say too much, but you are clever enough to know if we have a meeting at the end of the season, you know that the owner has to be around,”
‘We are talking too much about that my future. We have to wait. When we have the meeting, then we will know if we are here (holds arms far apart), or here (moves them closer together).”
“Maybe we can finish the discussions in one meeting, maybe two or more, I don’t know. If we have any information, we will let you know.”
“What does a meeting mean? It means talking and, if we are close and we have similar ideas, it will be easier.”
“If not, maybe you have to keep talking or maybe not. Or maybe say: ‘We are here – forget about that.’ Or: ‘Maybe we are here, we can manage.’ “
“Until you sit down and start talking, you will not know where you are.”
“I think the players know we have to wait until my own future is resolved.”
“You can talk about Rondon. You have to wait and see what happens with West Brom, because the scenario changes.”
“Also, if Rondon stays or not, it changes. You have to wait 10 days and see where we are, where West Brom are, and any news from the meeting.”
“It’s not a question of whether I believe him (Ashley) or not. It’s about what we are trying to achieve. What do we have? Can we go here?”
“We will see what the competition is like,”
“I am going to the meeting in a positive way because we have the potential and we can do a lot of things better.”
“If we do that, we’ll have more chances to be closer to the top 10.”
“Do I think we can change everything in one window and be in the top six? No. Can we get closer? Yes. We can head in the right direction.
“If I can see or meet Mike Ashley, it’s fine. We are talking about football, Newcastle United, and what we can achieve.”
“That’s the main thing.”
“I can have a good relationship or bad relationship with you the media, but it doesn’t really matter. We meet each other once a week and we have to be professional.”
“It’s just what we want to do for the future. My message has been very clear from day one; the potential of this club is there.”
“Can we try to achieve what we want to achieve? Yes. I think we have to do it. Which is the way to do it? “
“That’s the key.”
“They know my idea and my vision. It’s about how can we find a position where everyone is.”
“I will not say ‘totally happy’, but where you can manage and improve things.”
“Hopefully there will be some positive surprises!”
A level set – Rafa’s current contract runs out in 19 days, and the players report back to training in 23 days.