Monday night football pundit Gary Neville believes we may struggle to attract players to the club, even under Rafa’s reign, feeling the attraction down South may make it difficult for us to tempt players to move up to the North-East.
The former Manchester United full-back stated that Benitez would be looking to add genuine quality to his squad over the coming months, but suggested that players have become quite attracted to the London life, also believing South Coast clubs have also become more attractive in terms of the lifestyle they can offer:
“It is difficult attracting players to the north-east.
“It is a problem getting players out of London – it is a big attraction.
“There are clubs now, even in the South Coast, that become a little bit more attractive in terms of lifestyle, rather than the north of England.
“We both come from the north of England and it is not a criticism of the north-east, it is just a greater challenge to get players to go up there.
It is no doubt a factor that works against us, however I would be surprised if it is deemed enough to derail a a players potential move to Tyneside if things began to thrive at NUFC under Rafa Benitez? We may be slightly isolated in the top corner of England, but Newcastle is a lively city with plenty things going for it – not to mention the fact it lives and breathes football.
Neville then admitted that he would like to see the ‘fantastic football club’ that is NUFC challenging towards the top of the Premier League again, but feels stability, new owners and the addition of some much needed quality is essential for us to get back to where he feels we belong:
“You think about Newcastle and where they have been during our careers – it is a fantastic football club, who have had great players.
“Will that happen again? That is difficult, but you would like to see it happen again.
“I would love to see a new owner come in. It is a wonderful football club. You think of Newcastle and Leeds, who are really big, big clubs and I think it would strengthen the league to have these clubs pushing towards the top again.
“Imagine that ground if it is going for Champions League football or they are going for European football again.
“They have got to build some stability at the club and make sure they stay in the Premier League to start with – they haven’t been the most reliable over the last few years.
“I think he is doing a really good job there, Rafa Benitez, they just have a quality issue.”
Some interesting comments from Neville here, who clearly wants to see us do well, but raises an intriguing point.
This has no doubt been a factor in players decisions to come and go at NUFC over the years, but if new owners were to arrive, allowing Rafa and NUFC to thrive, I would be surprised if we were missing out on players to the likes of Bournemouth or Crystal Palace based on location and subsequent lifestyle they offer?
Let us know your thoughts as ever. Is this really such a big factor?