We don’t think Rafa Benitez can get Newcastle fully out of his head. He seems to pop up every few weeks to talk about his former club.
While he is a contributor to the Athletic where he writes articles and takes part in some Q&A’s, he uses other avenues to talk about the Magpies as well.
Rafa also has a blog on his official website that he took up again this summer when he joined Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang. He had not written in the blog since the summer of 2014 where he wrote about that year’s World Cup.
The latest entries on the blog generally details his activities in China where he often notes the similarities and differences between that area of the world and Europe.
However in each of his now three recent posts, Rafa has touched upon a Newcastle United related topic. His latest endeavor, which was published on Wednesday, is no different.
To be fair, the purpose of this latest post was to chronicle how teams he coached fared this weekend. He even gives a nod to Ayoze Perez’s assist against Liverpool. However, when he gets around to Newcastle, he writes about the great moment we witnessed on Sunday.
This is what Rafa Benitez has to say about Matty Longstaff’s goal:
I was really pleased to see Matty Longstaff scoring the winning goal for Newcastle; he was great when he was training with us and it was a good decision from Steve Bruce to make him play.
I was also happy to see a few Geordies playing together at the same time; Carroll, Sean and Matty; surely it shouldn’t be difficult to see the benefits of investing in the Academy? £4m every year for 10 years means £40 m (one player); one ‘Longstaff’ every year for ten years seems good business to me.
We, of course, wholeheartedly agree with Rafa’s sentiments about the Academy. It is an area that sorely needs to improve.
We also absolutely love that Benitez references his happiness with the Geordies in the team on Sunday. He makes it so hard for us to move on sometimes.
We also notice the shrewd reference to the £40m figure. It’s no secret that Rafa wanted to concentrate on the infrastructure at Newcastle. That includes the facilities and the Academy.
The £40m seems to us to be a dig at the Joelinton transfer. While we don’t think it is a jibe against the player, Rafa does seem to be making a point of where that money would be better spent.
A few weeks ago Newcastle United legend Kevin Keegan was at a speaking engagement and talked about how Newcastle could get back competing at the top end of the table. This is what Kevin said:
“There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be. You had more chance in the 1970s and 1980s than you have now – regardless of what’s happening now at the football club. Attracting the big players now is always going to be difficult because of the London clubs.
“The big players now are mainly foreign players, no disrespect to the English players. So all those things have conspired to go against us because of the location.
“I think this time it has to start with youngsters coming through again. It has to be a different way. You won’t get big-name players to Newcastle because the really big ones will now go to Man United, Man City or Liverpool, Tottenham or Arsenal or Chelsea, and then after that you are pitching in with the others.”
You know what they say about great minds thinking alike. Newcastle had two of them that could have taken this club back to respectability.
However, there was one obstacle to that. Mike Ashley drove both Kevin Keegan and Rafa Benitez to the brink before they had enough.
Steve Bruce, to his credit, is willing to blood youngsters in the first-team when they are deserving. It worked on Sunday but is very risky when Premier League survival is at stake.
It’s just such a shame that we are back where we were three years ago, fighting for survival, as if Rafa had never been here.