Kevin Keegan has played down Rafa Benitez’s latest achievement with Newcastle United, suggesting promotion was ‘not that difficult’ given the resources at his disposal.
The former United manager said the following in a recent interview with the Liverpool Echo when asked about the Spaniard:
“They wanted him to stay and he stayed. They wanted him to bring them back up. I think he’s then got his biggest job without doubt.
“It’s not that difficult to get Newcastle out of the Championship with the finance they’ve got, the players they’ve kept, the fans they’ve got.
“But it’s a bit more difficult when you get in with the big boys who are a few steps ahead of you. Newcastle is a big club like Liverpool but it hasn’t won anything for a long time.”
I wholeheartedly agree that turning Newcastle into a competitive Premier League side is Benitez’s toughest challenge yet, but I feel his comments on our promotion completely disregard Rafa’s achievements this season.
Yes we invested heavily last summer and kept SOME of our assets, but it was a period of huge change at the club.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, yet Rafa and Newcastle United were burdened with the immediate pressure and expectation to not only win each week, but gain an immediate return to the Premier League.
Aston Villa and Norwich’s seasons highlight just how difficult it can be to bounce straight back up following relegation, making Kevin’s take on the matter all the more short sighted.
Kevin is a legend at Newcastle and will be remembered for his team of entertainers, but his comments here are naive to say the least.