Ex-NUFC boss Steve McClaren believes we will be ‘okay’ in the race for survival this season, stating that Rafa Benitez’s ‘Messiah’ status with the Geordie following gives him a ‘great advantage’ at the club.
On March 11th 2016, Benitez was appointed at NUFC just hours after McClaren was given the boot. Despite doing his utmost in the final few months of the season, Rafa was unable to keep us up, but his predecessor has suggested here that the Spaniard has something he never really had during his time on Tyneside – the fans on his side.
Here’s what Steve had to say when speaking on the Premier League Daily show on Sky Sports yesterday morning:
“I think they are okay. I think he knows what he is doing. I know at Newcastle you have always got a battle behind the scenes.
“I think what Rafa has done very well is he has got the fans, the 52,000 of them, the travelling supporters, they think he is the Messiah, so he has got a great advantage at that football club.”
Interesting that he states ‘you have always got a battle behind the scenes’ when discussing Newcastle.
This comment is valid given he’s a man whose been at the helm under the Ashley era, however this is a man who was offered almost £80m in his only two transfer windows at NUFC. While he was given a £14m Wijnaldum and several international stars, Rafa has had to scrape the barrel for Stoke’s third choice striker and a Sunderland flop. I know whose faced the biggest ‘battle behind the scenes’!
He’s not wrong about Rafa’s general levels of support, but even Benitez has had far from the whole of St James’ Park singing from the same hymn sheet in recent weeks. McClaren was never really a popular choice, and whilst his interviews and overly jovial style didn’t help, Rafa has got a totally different aura about him and an understanding of the club and our fans that we have rightfully latched onto. There is a belief that he will push for what’s best and get it right. The same could not be said about the likes of McClaren and Pardew.
Back to McCalren and the former England boss has recently been working as a ‘consultant’ for Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv, however left his position after just five months in charge last week. He’s since told Sky Sports News that he has now returned to England in search of a return to club management! Good luck to whoever that may be!