NUFC Twitter went into meltdown last night following news that Rafa Benitez is on the brink of becoming the new Everton boss.
Many Toon fans were praying that the Spaniard would be instantly ushered back into the St James’ Park dugout if our dream Saudi takeover gets given the green light this summer.
Some even suspected that Benitez was waiting around for the Newcastle job, with the consortium reportedly keen on bringing the popular manager back and giving him the investment he desperately lacked the last time he was here.
Defeatist supporters have suggested that the takeover must now be OFF because Rafa has decided to give up on a romantic return and challenge himself at Everton instead.
Benitez himself said in March that the Premier League was his “priority” and that he wanted to return to management “as soon as possible”, leading Toon fans to think that he really was flirting with us and an emotional comeback was on the cards – takeover permitting.
Well, let me say, in the nicest way possible, that those suggestions seem way wide of the mark.
There is a chance that faint discussions were held between Benitez and the consortium about returning to Tyneside, but there is no chance he has any idea as to where things stand on arbitration.
The only people that are clued up on the arbitration proceedings are the Premier League, Mike Ashley, the consortium, the legal representatives for both sides, and the panel that will deliver the verdict.
No would-be managers, no journalists, no supporters and certainly no ‘ITK’ accounts on Twitter!
The reality is that the Everton job is a very attractive proposition to Benitez – even with his obvious connection to Liverpool.
The job is extremely convenient for him and ticks pretty much every box on his list; he lives just outside the city in his family home, they have a wealthy owner in Farhad Moshiri, a strong squad and are a club with real ambition who have plans to build a new 53,000-seater stadium.
A job like this may not come around again for Rafa. For a man who is desperate to return to management, I cannot blame him for taking the opportunity.
If appointed, he faces a colossal challenge in getting the Toffees faithful on board, even more so given his “small club” comments in 2007 while in charge of Liverpool.
He wasn’t going to wait around for the Toon job forever. Any NUFC fan who gives him grief over this has clearly not put themselves in his shoes.