In a recent interview with The Mirror, ex-NUFC assistant Terry McDermott has stressed the importance of giving Rafa Benitez what he wants, in order to keep him at the club this summer.
McDermott, known to be Kevin Keegan’s right hand during the famous ‘Entertainers’ years, knows what it takes to bring success to Tyneside, and appears to be a big fan of the Spaniard.
In an interview with The Mirror, he said:
“He (Benitez) is a very, very shrewd man – you don’t win the Champions League at Liverpool, and reach another final two years later, if you don’t know your way round a football pitch.
“The Toon Army and Rafa is a match made in heaven. If he had not stuck around, I’m not sure they would have been anywhere near going straight back up this year, certainly not as close as they are now.
“He’s a winner and, please God, he stays at Newcastle. That’s absolutely imperative.
“And, please God, if they do go up, Rafa will be given the money to establish them in the top half of the Premier League.”
McDermott, who still lives in the North-East, also called for Newcastle to learn from recent events, suggesting Mike Ashley cannot afford to make the same mistakes again this time around.
“For a club of Newcastle’s size and history to have been relegated twice in seven years is astonishing, and it can’t be allowed to happen again.
“Hopefully (owner) Mike Ashley will provide the funds to improve the squad and make sure they come back stronger, but for now the most important thing is that Newcastle finish the job and do go up – because if they don’t do it this year, you do wonder if Rafa will stay.”
So, while the immediate challenge is to get our club back into the top flight, the biggest obstacle is undoubtedly still to come – giving Benitez the backing to make our club an established side the Premier League once again.