BBC pundit Garth Crooks believes Rafa Benitez should win the Premier League manager of the season award and also feels the Spaniard is capable of doing what Kevin Keegan couldn’t – winning a trophy on Tyneside.
Yesterday was a fitting end to an outstanding season (in the circumstances) and further proof of just why Benitez should be a serious contender to win manager of the season.
We mauled the reigning champions 3-0, signing off in style to secure out place in the top 10. People said this ‘Championship’ squad would struggle to stay up and some even said we’d be rock bottom without Rafa, yet he’s guided us into the top half.
BBC pundit Garth Crooks has often praised the Spaniard this season, once suggesting we could challenge for the title if Rafa was given the right amount of backing, and here he’s been at it again:
“Manager of the Season – Rafa Bentez.
“I was asked recently who were my top three managers this season. Without a moment’s hesitation I said Rafael Benitez, Sean Dyche and Chris Hughton – in that order.
“I never expected Burnley to qualify for Europe, for Brighton to survive a season in the Premier League, or for Newcastle to finish with 44 points, ensuring safety with games to spare having started the season with seven Championship players in the team.
“Anyone who has watched Newcastle United this season will have observed Benitez and his boys refusing to compromise one iota on the brand of football their fans want to see.
“I wish I could say the same for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United.
“If Newcastle have lost a game they have done so with their dignity intact. They have taken the opposition on trying to play.
“There have been times when they have been outplayed, even outclassed, but they have never turned their backs on giving their fans 100%, which you have to do when playing for the Magpies.
“That is why Newcastle fans love Rafa Benitez, because they have seen the Spaniard turn their team from a Championship squad into a credible Premier League outfit.
“Give Benitez the resources and he would do what Kevin Keegan failed to do, and win Newcastle a trophy.
“Don’t give him the resources to compete with the very best and he will leave – and quite rightly.”
It’s hard to disagree with any of this, although some may believe the likes of Sean Dyche deserves to be the manager of the season. After all, he’s taken one of the bookies favourites to go down into Europe. Then there’s Guardiola – a man who’s broke all sorts of records with his stunning Man City side this season.
In terms of silverware, Benitez brings a totally different style of play to St James’ Park that Keegan’s entertainers, but it’s incredibly successful.
If we can maintain our drive, desire, organisation and add quality to our ranks, I see no reason why Rafa couldn’t be the man to finally bring a trophy back to Tyneside.