The fear amongst Newcastle United supporters in regards to Rafa Benitez’s future at the club is very real indeed. A God-like figure on Tyneside, the Spaniard has little under a year to run on his current contract and, considering the mess behind the scenes, at St. James’ Park, it’s hard to see him staying if there is no takeover.
Perhaps even more alarmingly for the Toon Army is that, according to Oddschecker (via the Chronicle) former Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill would be the favourite to succeed the former Liverpool and Real Madrid coach should he depart. Mike Ashley’s ownership of the Magpies has been littered with bad decisions, but appointing the miserable Republic of Ireland boss would be right up there as his worst.
With that in mind, if the worst case scenario happens and Benitez does walk away from Newcastle United, Ashley should look for a far more exciting option to come in.
Brentford manager Dean Smith is someone screaming out for a chance in the Premier League. While that may be doing the Bees a disservice, considering their rampant form towards the top of the Championship this season, Smith does look destined for big things in the game.
The 47-year-old, who was linked with both Aston Villa and West Brom over the summer, has developed an exciting brand of football at Brentford, thrilling supporters at Griffin Park on a shoestring budget. Despite losing the likes of Toumani Diagouraga and James Tarkowski along the way, Smith has crafted together a wonderfully entertaining side, focusing on coaching rather than buying players.
A high-intensity team, Brentford are more akin to someone like Liverpool than Manchester City, so it’d be hugely interesting to see what he can do on a Premier League budget. Well, if you can call Newcastle’s that.
All this comes after he took a Walsall side on the brink of disaster under his wing, unifying a previously broken club around his figure and keeping the Saddlers up after almost everyone else had given up, so he’s certainly someone capable of battling behind the scenes.
Nobody wants Rafa Benitez to leave Newcastle United but, if he does, Dean Smith would be a great replacement.