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Benitez On Why He Wants To Do Really Well At Newcastle

Rafa Benitez pulled no punches yesterday in his praise for Alan Shearer as his new statue at St. James’ Park was unveiled in what was a really memorable day for both Alan and the club.

Rafa was full of praise for the Newcastle number 9 – one of the greatest players ever to wear the famous black and white stripes of Newcastle.


Alan Shearer in front of his statue yesterday

This is what Rafa said about Alan yesterday:

“Alan was an incredible player – the perfect number 9 – and he had a fantastic career representing this great club.”

“The statue is a perfect tribute to a true club legend.”  “I send Alan my very best wishes for a memorable day.”

During his press conference yesterday Rafa was asked about the Alan Shearer statue and this is how he addressed the subject:

“What I said about Alan Shearer was that I would like to see my players scoring as many goals as him.” (said with a smile).

“Yes, you want to do well and be remembered as an important figure in the history of the club.” “In this case, it is very simple how to do that – to get promoted.”

“If we are promoted, everybody will say: ‘Fantastic.’” “And after that, we want to achieve something more.”

“It doesn’t matter the team that you coach, you want to do these things.” “When you are competitive and have a winning mentality, you want to win.”

“But, because I have been in so many clubs now, when you have the feeling of getting something back from the fans, you want to do even more and achieve something.”

“That is the situation I had in Liverpool and I have it here.” “I would like to do really well because it is my nature, but also because the fans are so good.”

“I want to give them something back.”

Rafa has already said it’s important for him to be loved at a club, and maybe that was after some difficult times at huge clubs like Real Madrid and Inter-Milan.

rafa benitez liverpool

Rafa Benitez gives thumbs up to the fans

He did great at both Valencia and Liverpool – two clubs who have dedicated and working class fans – very much like at Newcastle.

He is already much-loved on Tyneside and he seems to relish in that.

We know he’s a workaholic who will be working so hard in the next few years to make Newcastle great again.

And he will be getting the support of the Geordie fans every single step of the way.

If Rafa can get us a trophy in the next few years  – and that’s possible, then Newcastle could be building a statue for Rafa Benitez too.

Howay The Lads!!

87 comments so far

  • mindshaft

    Sep 13, 2016 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #1

    bizarre how anyone can slate KKs first stint at toon – we may not have won owt but we came the closest we’ve been and were lauded the world over for our exciting brand of football – best years of toon in my lifetime. Obviously the walkout wasn’t ideal and we went to shit with Daglish afterwards but those KK years will live with me forever
    the whole game was different on his return and I thought at the time it was probably a bad move, didn’t help with Wise and Ashley totally shafting him which was proven in court

  • mindshaft

    Sep 13, 2016 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #2

    Rafa has the potential to become a legend at the toon – funny how the southern press have stopped saying toon fans only want a Geordie manager and hate anyone from elsewhere … tw@ts

  • Spoof

    Sep 13, 2016 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #3

    Be careful Rafa, if you make us a better club than what we currently are some fans will criticise you, seriously they will, if you don’t believe look at the reaction to KK from some on the previous threads.

  • magscar

    Sep 13, 2016 at 9:58 AM

    Comment #4

    On Keegan his first tenure here produced the best football in my time as a supporter.

    OK I get why he left 2cnd time but couldn’t he have stayed and fought for the club and fans he loves?

    First time he went ( unforced) was because his budget was cut because of the financial move to a Ltd Co and he wasn’t prepared to sell to buy.

    Still have fond memories of him but no longer look through rose tinted glasses.

    As Expat says he has walked from a no of situations when things don’t go his way.

  • Jib

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:01 AM

    Comment #5

    “First get your facts; then you can distort them at your leisure” – Mark Twain

    Keegan v NUFC was never in court it was tribunal at FA HQ in Mayfair


  • stuart no9

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #6

    Alan shearer . What a legend , however I wonder what his true thoughts are of that statue . Two things come to mind , first that’s not his stance when he scored , what’s the left arm doing ?? My Mrs says he looks like he’s doing a Scottish jig , and it looks nowt like him . Very say for a truely great player . If I was him I’d be saying – get it down how haha. Bless him


    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #7

    Jibs argument is daft, completely. Success sucks because it makes u want more…I mean come on whats the point of being a football fan if u only want mediocrity

  • stuart no9

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #8


  • nut meg

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #9

    Keegan brought this great club of ours out of a coma!! He also brought AMBITION FOR THE FIST TIME EVER in all my 60 years of supporting NUFC.


    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:07 AM

    Comment #10

    Constructive dismissal mate…he didnt walk away he was pushed out as proven, I dont see how there is even an argument

    Whats ur point?

  • stuart no9

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #11

    The only bad point about the KK time as manager was that we were that f@@king good I struggled to get a ticket most games and there was a 15000 waiting list for season tickets . The best and most exciting team in Europe bar none . Will those days return ??? I doubt it

  • mindshaft

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:11 AM

    Comment #12

    not sure why KK is suddenly getting a skating for pointing out what we ourselves have known for years – best years of supporting toon bar none

  • magscar

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:12 AM

    Comment #13


    He could have stayed if he had the stomach for a fight or gone and not sued the club ( not Ashley paid the club did). Presumably realised game had moved on and he wouldn’t be able to settle as manager in modern game ( never worked as manager since) and needed the money. Did Curbishley sue Charlton when he left around same time and for similar reasons?

  • Jib

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #14

    I used to watch the Toon train in Durham loads while Keegan was boss.

    They were a great side to follow in those days.

    What I don’t like is the way Keegan is quite happy to take all the kudos – I don’t think I’ve heard him mention Arthur Cox once !

    Terry Mac gets mocked as a cone shifter but when I was watching the team train at Durham it was Cox and McDermott who seemed to do most of the work especially TM one on one with the midfielders.

    To my mind it was the great midfielders we had that made Keegans sides.

    Keegan Midfielders
    Lee Clark – Rob Lee – David Ginola – Ruel Fox – Keith Gillespie – Scott Sellars – Paul Bracewell – Liam Obrien – Kevin Brock – David Batty – Robbie Elliot – Steve Watson (the last 2 would willingly play anywhere a bit like Anita today )

  • expatmag

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #15


    I can understand why you and the majority love the bloke. Prinarily, he was a peoples man and probably a decent man manager.

    However, as a coach, he left a lot to be desired when raking in the big picture. Atracking wise, he built a very good side but his major and obvious failure was he had little idea tactically how to set up defensively and that ultimately cost us winning the league.

    He left Twice….unforced…..and both times because he threw his toys out of the pram for not getting his own way.

    The club backed him in the transfer market during his first stint and that apparently was still not goid enough for him.

    Whilst he won his constructive dismissal case against he club, I do know from very good sources that he wanted to bring Thierry Henry, Frank Lampard, Schweinsteigger to the club on ridiculous wages whoch clearly the club could not afford.

    Furthrmore, it us interesting to see that since he left us in the lurch for the SECOND TIME in 2008, he hasnt had another job.

    He certainly has an axe to grind with yhe club. I have seen him as a punter quite regularly on BEIN sports and often criticises the club even when unrelated to the game being covered.

    In fact, he is becoming a bore


    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #16

    Stomach for the fight? He won his case for constructive dismissal (the changing of an employee’s job or working conditions with the aim of forcing their resignation). He sued the club in order to be allowed to tell us what had happened and what was going on at NUFC, thats not gutless

  • stuart no9

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #17

    As for people skating keegan remember , if not for him we wouldn’t have this magnificent stadium we have now . It was in his time with everyone wanting to watch the toon then that they drew up plans to create the best stadium in Europe

  • BandB

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #18

    It’s amazing really that you can’t mention Keegan or Shearer in this place without civil war breaking out.
    His comments yesterday were very mild and on the side of the fans.
    Heresy, obviously.


    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #19

    Keegans teams couldnt defend? By that u mean the massive 37 goals we conceeded in 95/96? We conceeded 2 more than the winning team and 5 more than the best defense in the league

    As for him leaving Ashley forced him out of the club thats a proven fact now. As for rumoured players he was going to bring in…so what? It was his decision that Ashley had agreed to (also my word how upset we would of all been had those 3 rocked up under KK)

    He has an axe to grind because the club under Ashley is disgusting that might be boring to u but we cant ignore the problems at the club because of it

  • Mister Tuff

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #20

    What has Curbishley got to do wish KK.

    Did Curbishley sue Charlton well erm – what for.

    He resigned after 15years and did not want to extend his contract. So how can he sue anyone.

    As a side note he later sued West Ham for constructive dismissal.

  • JP...from The Rock

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #21

    Rafa can get us to where KK took us I have no doubt. I even think he will do one better and get us a trophy. But that is ONLY if we get promoted this season and he still has full control of football matters.

  • jimmysmith

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #22

    I view Keegan as quite principled. He didn’t like the idea of the club becoming a plc, because he felt it was a corporate decision not a footballing one and would limit the assets he could put on the pitch and so walked. The second time he had his wings clipped in regards to his authority over what might be spent on whom and when, and was given little option but to walk again. Both decent decisions from a fans perspective surely. We weren’t going to have a better side as the result of the clubs actions, and he felt he couldn’t change that or accept it.

  • Mister Tuff

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #23

    Mind there is some utter tosh spouted on here.
    Earlier we heard that a moustacheless beard suggests someone is going to a Middle Eastern Muslim country.

    Generalisation in its’ most rampant and disturbing form.

    Is the man in the below image preparing for a trip to the Middle East – could his beard give us a clue.


  • The overrated Frenchman

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #24

    I think it’s a real pity that Keegan came back for that second stint. He wasn’t a good choice for a number of reasons and so it played out. If his legacy was based solely on his first spell I think it would seem much clearer, and probably more fitting.

  • Jib

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:51 AM

    Comment #25

    Keegan was weak
    Rafa is a much stronger person

  • DubaiMicky

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #26

    @ Froggy #24. I agree.


    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:58 AM

    Comment #27

    Keegan was strong enough to walk away from the club he loves to do what was right

    Rafa would do the same if Ashley changes his mind and takes his power away when we are back in the PL

  • TyneMouth

    Sep 13, 2016 at 11:00 AM

    Comment #28

    Confirmation Rafa Bingo.
    (hope it’s not too late!)

    Anita. Clark. Lascelles. Dummett.
    Heyden. Shelvey.
    Yelin. Perez. Ritchie.


  • martoon

    Sep 13, 2016 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #29

    Putting aside the arguments I still think it was poor that the Shearer statue has had to be placed on council owned land and not actually in the confines of the club. Also I think the reception afterwards was not at the club – I think there were 1 or 2 officials from NUFC present but really it was a poor effort and highlights the rift between Shearer and the club!

  • hibbit

    Sep 13, 2016 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #30

    for your information a tribunal is a court of law !!
    maybe you should get your facts right

  • Rotonda heights

    Sep 13, 2016 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #31

    Really bizarre and stupider comments than usual
    by the blog’s prize div on here re – KK.

    AP, JC and SM were totally spineless non – entities who wouldn’t stand up to Ashley. Do you think Rafa would stay for one moment if presented with Ash’s original blueprint.

    KK left first time because the board reneged on him buying a player that would probably have made all the difference between finishing as champions or runners-up.

    Second time he had Wise put in charge of him.
    No one with any morality and self respect would stand for that.

    KK is a phenomenal legend and gave me the happiest years of my life watching NUFC. If the blog’s prize k–b hadn’t already confirmed what a complete know nowt, pretentious t—er he is, he’s slam dunked it now.

  • cyprus

    Sep 13, 2016 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #32

    Someone criticised KK?!

    I guess it’s accepted (we ‘only’ finshed second, we choked) but to me he deserved a statue well before Big Al, only he isn’t a Geordie. He’s up there with the Sir, but he did MORE for NUFC, even than him.

  • Ian Toon

    Sep 13, 2016 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #33

    WW – Paul Joannou the club historian gives a more factual than emotional interpretation of The Keegan Years. Jib’s comment though harsh was apposite of someone who as a manager frequently bottled it when under pressure. Players often need a pragmatic approach the lack of which saw him fail as an England manager and without the will to battle, survive short term difficulties and dig in. He was repeatedly more concerned about self image. Terry Mac by all accounts was the complete opposite and a very influential figure in the selection of players to be bought to stabilise life in the PL.

    Keegan was always more flamboyant in his thinking and approach. I have not personally met him but I am told that he’s still a more style than substance figure whereas Benitez has always had a more grounded approach. At some stage in what I hope will be a successful season the adulation swingometer will move more towards players.

    I was someone who had just started school when the entertainers became the best thing in toon. They were the best times I have experienced As a fan and without re writing history.

  • Jib

    Sep 13, 2016 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #34

    This is what Keegan couldn’t handle
    After blowing such a lead he tendered his resignation at seasons end and it was Douglas Hall who talked him into staying.
    He was haunted by it and was always going to walk which he did the following January
    If the board had had the balls to accept his resignation in May and made a real effort to get SBR from Porto rather than Barcelona , we would have had Robson 3 years earlier taking over a side that finished second and as Jail said yesterday , history would have been so different.

  • jakesome

    Sep 13, 2016 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #35

    The QPR match isn’t on TV tonight is it?

  • hibbit

    Sep 13, 2016 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #36

    KK is what he is
    love him or hate him there’s no denying it was by far the best football played by us in my lifetime

  • BandB

    Sep 13, 2016 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #37

    It’s strange that two people so determined to rubbish the Keegan era were also the two noisiest champions of the godawful Steve McClaren.
    Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
    When I asked Jib if McClaren should see out his contract even if he took us to relegation, his answer was “so be it.”
    Along with his assertion that KK was the “worst thing that ever happened to the club”, Jib and Ian have some ideas I’ve simply never heard another fan express.


    Sep 13, 2016 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #38

    …huh? I am aware of Keegans poor points however to claim he was weak because he was constructively dismissed is backed up because he wasnt grounded like Rafa?

  • hibbit

    Sep 13, 2016 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #39


    simply answer to that the pair spout utter bullshit

  • Mister Tuff

    Sep 13, 2016 at 11:45 AM

    Comment #40

    More of KK slagging off the club.

    Keegan was back on Tyneside to see his top signing Alan Shearer unveil his statue outside St James’ Park.
    A statue of Alan Shearer outside St James’ Park

    He said: “Newcastle should be in the Premier League. They’re not in there at the moment, but they will be this time next year.

    “I wish Rafa all the luck in the world.

    “You’ll never lose what these people feel about this football club. They might not like certain things at certain times, but they’ll still be there. They’ll always be there.”

    Oh well maybe not – does look like he’s backing the club and Rafa. Others will not see it that way though.


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