Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez attended the UEFA Elite Club Coaches’ Forum at in Nyon, Switzerland last Tuesday afternoon – and Rafa gets an invite every year because he has participated in more than 100 Championship League games – and won the trophy once with Liverpool.
He has also won the Europa League twice with Valencia and Chelsea.
He was joined by other (very) successful managers and these are the top managers in football based on their records in European competition.
Rafa has not yet had Newcastle qualify for European football, but we hope he will do that sometime in the (near) future.
In any case, Rafa is representing Newcastle at that meeting, and that puts our club in very good light.
Rafa Benitez with the elite managers – can you name all of the 15 men in the photo?
This was the 20th annual meeting of the elite managers, and there were 12 present at this particular meeting.
This is some of what Rafa said on nufcTV:
“It’s a great experience because you go there with a lot of managers who have great experience in Europe and in the top sides.”
“Then they have a different vision. For example we were talking about substitutions, and some of the other managers they were talking about: ‘Oh, maybe we can make six substitutions.’”
“But that’s because maybe they have six players on the bench that are so good, maybe it doesn’t matter too much who you play.”
“Then you have another vision, another way from someone else, and then you analyze the statistics in the Champions League and the Europa League.”
“We try to find ideas on how to improve the game, for example, substitutions, or the value of goals when you play away, if it is double or not, or if you can play extra time without away goals.”
“Things like that.”
“One discussion last year was about whether you can play matches on grass only, or on synthetic pitches too.”
“We talk about different things which can have an influence and something that we can change in football.”
“It’s not easy to bring in some of the new rules – for example, to close the transfer window at the same time is difficult.”
“England finished early, then Italy one week afterward, and then after the rest of the transfer windows in the other countries were at the end of August.”
“They had an advantage because they could go for players that you couldn’t go for anymore.”
“All of these things, we have discussions and then we try to find solutions, ideas and then they pass this information to FIFA, and then afterward they decide together.”
It’s really terrific that we have a manager of Rafa’s standing in the game and he’s the one big reason we are on live TV lots of time during the season – and that brings revenue into the club.
The fact that he got us in 10th place last season also brought in extra revenue – but Mike Ashley didn’t reward him for any of that, and we still made a £20M net profit in the summer transfer window.
Mike Ashley will have seen the news about Rafa’s exploits this week and that he hosted a group of managers at Benton for two days (Wednesday and Thursday) so they could see how Rafa and his experienced coaching team drill the players.
They also would have had a lot of time to talk about football with the boss.
We wonder where they had dinner on Wednesday evening – and who would have done all the talking and demonstrate things with the plates and the silverware?
Rafa is the perfect manager for Newcastle United and we hope Mike Ashley sees that quickly.