After Rafa Benitez paid a visit to the Barnstondale Centre near his home in the Wirral last week, the centre’s manager has spoken out about his intriguing chat with the Spaniard.
George Jones – the manager of the Barnstondale Centre Benitez came to visit – concedes that the 59-year-old couldn’t tell him exactly what was going on, but some of his comments are intriguing to say the least.
Here’s what he’s told the Chronicle when reflecting on his chat with the Newcastle United boss, claiming that the gaffer was “very optimistic that something will happen”:
“Obviously, he (Benitez) can’t tell me what’s going on but he’s very optimistic that something will happen and the team will be able to deliver,”
“I think the fans trust him and they know he’s got the best intentions for the team and he wants to do great things with the team.
“I think his ability as a top manager is not in question at all given what he’s done with Liverpool and now with Newcastle. He’s just looking for the opportunity to take them right up there and do it with them. He said to me, ‘The potential is there. It’s a great club. A great place, great fans.’ He would be very happy to continue there.
“Every time he mentioned Newcastle, he was very optimistic about the possibilities but it’s still got to happen for them with the developments in the club and everything. He didn’t say what was happening or what wasn’t happening; he just mentioned something may come up and he hopes it will for the better of the club.
We know he ideally wants to stay, but talk of him being ‘very optimistic’ and mentions of the ‘developments in the club’ certainly creates some level of intrigue hear.
Aside from that, it’s just great to hear Benitez sounding upbeat, giving us hope at a time where the club’s silence constantly has us second guessing.
George then went on, saying the Spaniard gave him the impression he’d be ‘delighted’ to stay this summer – stating he was ‘unbelievably positive about the club’:
“If he got the resources to carry on, I think he will be delighted to stay. That’s the impression he gave me – that he is still committed to it all. He didn’t give me any indication at all about moving away from the club. All he talked about was, ‘We could do so well.’ Everything was positive for the club. He was unbelievably positive about the club.
“I think he would like to take them to greater things. That’s the way he came across. He was quite relaxed in what he was saying. He loves being there and he loves the club.”
“He’s done so well at Newcastle. I said to him, ‘You’ve got a fantastic support up there’ and he just praised the fans so much. He said, ‘They’re very like the Liverpool fans. Down to earth and know their football. They really are committed to the team.'”
There might be absolutely nothing in this, but we are forced to read into certain situations and look for the slightest glimmer of hope when the club fail to give us an ounce of information.