When Newcastle appointed Rafa Benítez in March 2016, they were in big trouble.
The club were second from bottom with only ten games remaining in the season to keep them in the Premier League.
They needed someone to pick up the pieces after a disastrous spell by Steve McClaren, and they needed to do it fast. Luckily, the club were able to attract a man of Benítez’s calibre. The former Champions League winner had just come from a stint in managing Spanish giants Real Madrid, so this was seen as a major coup for the club to land him.
Fans knew how big this was as well. Many thought that he was one of the only people that could save them from their precarious position in the league, and put all their faith in him.
This is what the fans had to say:
— Mohsin Khan (@mkhan185) March 11, 2016
@NUFC if he gets the right backing to sign players he’ll do a great job
— Steven Dodds (@Doddzini) March 11, 2016
— Stefan (@StefanGiuffre) March 11, 2016
— Alex Robertson (@rbrlxa) March 11, 2016
— Doji (@alexkimfx) March 11, 2016
@NUFC @Wizardnaldum thats a great move the players are there i think rafa will sort them out quickly
— Richard Whiles (@RichrdWhiles) March 11, 2016
— will thomson (@willthomson04) March 11, 2016
— Matty Rayson (@mattyrayson) March 11, 2016
Good choice guys! No way you’re getting relegated now. @NUFC
— mATtEÖh (@JonathanTehau) May 11, 2016
— Norman Mkhwanazi (@NormanLMkh) March 11, 2016
@NUFC ….the problem is and always will be Mike Ashley.
— SageCirca (@Walker_2603) March 11, 2016
It’s almost three years on, and it’s been a bumpy road for the two time La Liga winner, but miraculously, he’s still at the club.
He was unable to save the club from relegation, but bounced straight back up after one season in the Championship.
Since then, his relationship with owner Mike Ashley has grown sour since then. The owner has failed to spend a lot of money, and that has disappointed Benítez and fans.
Coincidentally, one fan remarked when the signing happened that “if he gets the right backing to sign players he’ll do a great job”, but he hasn’t been provided that. Nonetheless, despite this, Benítez has remained a popular figure at St James’ Park, with most of the venom from fans being directed as Ashley.
It has been a very bizarre spell at a club for a manager of Benítez’s reputation, but fans must be thankful every day that he is still there.
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