The Chronicle have a report with Rafa Benitez’s comments issued on his website after joining Dalian Yifang. With the exception of commitment from the top, it sounds very much like he is describing the club he just left.
Below are some of the comments if his that we find interesting and relevant:
“The challenge now is to create the foundations for success both now and for the future. We know it won’t be simple as there are some big rivals, but we are confident that there is huge potential and great commitment from the directors of the club to create something great at this club.”
This quote sounded like something Rafa would say when first joining Newcastle up until the part about “great commitment” from the directors.
As it was the absolute apathy for success from Mike Ashley that has led to Rafa accepting this position in China.
“What I have found at Dalian is an incredible project that has arrived at the perfect time and this has been a major factor in my decision. We’ve accepted the challenge of leading a superb project with the full backing and confidence of the club’s leadership team.”
It is interesting that Rafa references the “project” at Dalian Yifang twice in the preceding statement. He also used the adjectives “incredible” and “superb” in describing the Chinese club.
Rafa had mentioned to George Caulkin that he desired a project at Newcastle but that it was obvious those above him did not share the same vision.
He also again mentions the “full backing and confidence of the club’s leadership team”.
“Dalian Yifang is an historic club in one of the most football passionate cities in the country, so this is an added attraction. Everyone says how loyal the Dalian fans are and we’ve witnessed this passion for the club from the very first moment. Without doubt coming to a club with such great supporters was another key in making this commitment.“
Remove the words Dalian Yifang and replace it with Newcastle United and this again sounds similar to what he said three years ago.
We are sure the Dalian supporters will grow to love Rafa Benitez as he is a world class manager and a meticulous professional.
He will be supported by a crowd in a stadium with a capacity of 61,000. However, he will find that it will be nothing even remotely comparable to Newcastle United.
Dalian Yifang was founded in 2009 and China does have a growing league with a lot of well-known talent.
However, it is not the Premier League and it is not Newcastle United.
We think Rafa will miss Newcastle but he has been forced to make this decision. And we can’t blame him for it but these comments do make it hurt that much more.