This summer may be the first time Rafa takes the team far away to play in a tournament that will be lucrative to the club.
Newcastle United have been invited to take part in the Premier League Asia Trophy in Shanghai, China, this summer.
Shanghai is a beautiful show city in south-east China on the coast.
There’s a report in the Mirror today that says Newcastle have agreed to participate in the tournament along with current Premier League Champions Manchester City, West Ham United, and Wolves.
Rafa Benitez – Newcastle manager
It turns that when we were managed by Sir Bobby Robson in 2003 we took part in the inaugural tournament with Chelsea, Birmingham City, and the host country in that first year was Malaysia – and they were the fourth club in the tournament.
We finished runners-up to Chelsea that year.
Rafa has preferred to have five days training in Ireland to start the preseason, and it will be interesting to see if that is still possible this summer.
Liverpool won the trophy two years ago when it was last held in Hong Kong and also included Premier League clubs Leicester City, Crystal Palace, and West Brom.
It will be interesting to know how much money Newcastle will get for participating in the tournament.
But at the very least the Newcastle United brand will be a lot better known in China because of our participation.
Football’s popularity is proliferating in the far east in general and China in particular.