Les Ferdinand has been visiting Newcastle and he has been interviewed in the Chronicle today.
Les was part of that great Kevin Keegan side of the 1990s that thrilled not only Newcastle supporters but the rest of the football world in the way they played the game – attacking other sides from the kick-off.
The test in those days was could we score more goals than the other side and Newcastle did that in a lot of games and it was thrilling to watch Newcastle back then – the most popular side in England in those heady days.
Les Ferdinand – Rafa has done a great job
Sir Les thinks Rafa Benitez has already made a huge difference at the club, but that the Championship is a very difficult division to get out of.
That’s something we now understand a lot better, having played a tough 38 games in the league but we are still at the top of the table and hope to stay there for the rest of the season.
This is some of what Les Ferdinand has told the Chronicle:
“I felt with what they had in the Championship, with what they could get and the fact they had Rafa at the club, you could see progression straight away.”
“From what he’d done with what he had, you looked at the Championship and felt they would be choices for automatic promotion.”
“It is proving to be that way, but it has not been as easy as everybody expected.”
“The Championship is a division that those who know it well will tell you it is harder to get out of than people think.”
“As far as the job that Rafa has done, I think it is fantastic.” “No team has run away with the league and it was always going to be tough.”
“There is a depression when you get relegated, not just with the fans with the team and the manager himself – the whole place is depressed.”
“It’s trying to get them out of that and get them back up and he’s done a great job in doing that.”
The Championship is now a lot tougher than it was seven years ago and that’s because there are better sides who are motivated to get the huge money on offer in the Premier League these days.
PL clubs get anywhere from £100M to £180M, essentially on where they finish in the league table – and that type of money from the TV rights just wasn’t there seven years ago.
So there’s now a huge financial incentive to get promoted from the Championship and that leads to a lot more competition and we’ve seen that this season.
What do you think?