Thru Black and White Eyes

THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – Vamos -25/May/16

by • May 25, 2016 • TBAWEComments (38)4458


We have the news we have all been desperate to hear. Rafa Benitez is staying at Newcastle United Football Club. Rafa Benitez is also going to be “manager” of Newcastle United with “day-to-day control of football matters”. Rafa Benitez has agreed the scope of his control of Newcastle United and he is the main man at St James’ Park. He has agreed a budget with Ashley who in his turn appears to have instructed Lee Charnley to make it happen. It has happened. Everyone who has made this happen needs to be applauded and that includes Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley. Well done.

This is the best news to come out of St James’ Park in the nine years of Mike Ashley’s tenure at the club. There is lots to be really positive about but nothing more than having, based upon the scope of his achievements in the game, the most accomplished football manager we have ever employed at Newcastle United. With all due respect to some fantastic servants of our club whose names will be embroidered into the club’s history forever and whose memories we will treasure all our lives, Rafael Benitez is, based upon his achievements, the best manager we have ever employed. Benitez has built his reputation on the solid achievements as a football manager. His record and his success have meant he has been in demand across Europe and he has held some of the continent’s top jobs. Benitez has a glittering CV and his name is known throughout world football. As well as his astonishing football expertise, Benitez brings stardust and glamour to the club. This appointment will be in the football news of every major European country. No other club in our position will have such prestige and profile. Immediately, our club has real substance at its core. Rafa Benitez can look any of the world’s top managers in the eye. They all know him and they respect him. Rafa Benitez is the deal.

What is different about Benitez as opposed to any other Head Coach appointed by Ashley or even by Shepherd or Hall is Rafa5that Rafa has complete control of the football side. I’m not sure any United manager since Kevin Keegan could have seriously been in that position. Rafa will say who comes into United and it would appear Graeme Carr’s poor tenure as de-facto Director of Football is over and not before time. Benitez will decide who comes into the club and who leaves.

It has taken the near relegation misses of Pardew/Carver and the latest demotion inspired by McClaren et al for Ashley to recognise the model he has pursued since KK walked out in 2008 is a busted flush and abandon it. It has taken a financially damaging relegation to bring Ashley to his senses and realise appointing inadequate chancers and yes-men as stooges of a failed model is never going to work. That has gone now. Overnight, we look like a football club again.

Speaking personally, I feel far more positive only ten days after the end of the season in which we were relegated than I was twelve months ago when McClaren grinned his way into United fresh from being sacked at Derby County and looking every inch the nailed on failure anyone who had been paying attention expected him to be. I don’t know about you reading this but my mobile spent much of the afternoon of Wednesday 25/May/2016 buzzing its tits off as various texts pinged their way into my in-box from life-long Mags absolutely delighted about this great news. That will have been repeated hundreds of thousands of times across the Black & White plent.

This gives us a brand new starting point. With Rafa, the relegation that left us reeling only a few weeks ago is being framed as a potential opportunity. Rafa now has the opportunity to quickly rid himself of players whose attitude and application unquestionably contributed to our demotion. He has the opportunity to use the money raised from the sales of those players to reinvest into a new squad that he can build in accordance with a football philosophy that has taken him from Valencia to Liverpool to Inter Milan, Napoli and Real Madrid.

For me, I have yearned for United to be transformed into the top sporting institution we can all be proud to call our own. Everything at United needs to be turned upside down and shaken out.

Big questions need to be asked of those who have largely presided over mediocrity and failure. What is going wrong with the Academy? Why is it failing year on year? Why does it not produce top PL players from a region as football as mad as our own? Why can’t we develop an assembly line like those at Southampton? What is going wrong with our scouting and coaching?

Why does United suffer from far more injuries than other clubs? What is going wrong with our players and the medical care they receive? Is it correctly resourced and do we have the correct personnel?

Rafa has his work cut out in rebuilding an entire football club that has completely lost its way and forgotten its purpose. He needs time. Not everything will be transformed merely by his presence at United. Rafa’s priority will be to get us back into the Championship at the first time of asking. This summer is a challenging one because there are players who will want to leave and who Rafa will want out of United. We can wait another day to debate who should be kept and who should be released. For all of that, I am immensely more confident in Rafa in charge of this process than I have ever been at any time since Kevin Keegan was at United.

We have been told that it has been the warmth of the support towards Benitez that has persuaded Rafa to stay. I think our support for him can only have helped to confirm Newcastle United is the right club for him but also I believe it placed incredible pressure upon Ashley to make this happen. Without Rafa Newcastle United was holed under the water and I’d have been exceptionally concerned about the future of the club had this marriage not been blessed.

Now we have to show Rafa has made the right decision by joining our club. We have to trust him and we have to support him and his teams in every minute of every game this coming season. Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the club we all love. We have to believe what he tells us in a way we have not done since the days of Kevin Keegan. Benitez’s stature in the game means he has taken this job on his terms and this appointment represents a complete change of direction for the club.

Many of our fellow supporters, good, loyal Black & Whiters have walked away from the club in recent seasons and I can only say I don’t blame them. But the arrival of Rafa Benitez represents a new beginning and I encourage every Mag who has grown weary at one disappointment after another to rally behind this man and our club as we start a new chapter in our history that has so much promise in it. Fill SJP next season for every game and demonstrate to the football world that ours is a serious football club on the way back.

There are loads reading this whose cynicism has matched my own in latter years but that has to be parked for the foreseeable future. Now is the time to get right behind Rafa and the players he will put out in our colours next season. That doesn’t mean we become blindly loyal to Mike Ashley. We have every right to ask questions of the board and provide scrutiny of how they are running our football club. The appointment of Rafa Benitez doesn’t mean everything at United is hunky-dory because it absolutely isn’t. But I am convinced the football side of the club has taken a massive step forward with Rafa’s confirmation as our manager. I would like to see Carr’s departure confirmed. I would like to see a proper, experienced CEO appointed with a remit to both support Rafa and develop the business-side of the club so that it can grow its revenue and in turn reinvest it within Newcastle United FC.

As supporters though, we want to have some fun and enjoyment following our football club. It hasn’t been like that for a long while. This will be the fourth time in my supporting life I’m potentially looking at a promotion season. Each one for their various reasons has been highly memorable and enjoyable. We can hopefully regroup this summer and strike out next season on a new adventure with our new leader. It won’t be easy and we know it’s going to be tough but on and off the park we have to be United. We have to be part of a just and righteous cause to get us back to the top division and when we do get back, be about more than just making up the numbers.

But next season can’t quickly enough now can it?

Have a great week.


Keep On, Keepin’ On …


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38 Responses to THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – Vamos -25/May/16

  1. Mark Wallsend says:

    Well, Michael, I can’t quite believe it. Fuckin’ hell. Mental.

  2. Pete says:

    Great news and cause for optimism but be patient. We will probably have a very different side which may take time to gel and have to play the ‘long game’ (i.e. an all season campaign not promotion by Xmas) but put proper building blocks in place.
    As an aside, drove through Chepstow yesterday, told the wife “that’s where Ollie Burton’s from”, told her who Ollie Burton was, told her what the Fairs Cup was. Fifty years a supporter and cynical and pissed off as they come but, after today, even I’m excited.

  3. mikey says:

    Now I actually believe…. , its been a long time coming, hang into your seats as I think this is going to be mental , and so it should be, Welcome Rafa

  4. Shinton says:

    It means that the Fat man is going nowhere. Nor Charnley. Nowt changes like.

    • TerryHibbittOnTheWIng says:

      Doesn’t it? If Ashley retains his pig-headed attitudes but this time the attitudes include letting a proper football man run the footballing side rather then the normal suspects then I’d say something does change.

  5. Graeme Cross says:

    Brilliant news! I was expecting the worst from the people running the club but they must of realised this is the best chance we have of a swift return. I just hope Ashley and Co don’t try and interfere further down the line. Let Rafa do what he does best!

  6. Carol Willis says:

    Gracias Claudia y Agata Benitez. Nos encantada su padre. Para baile la bamba se necesita una poca de grazia. We certainly have more than a little grace with Señor Beinitez. My Geordie heart is singing louder than Louder than Bruce Springsteen I have just seen at the Etihad. I wouldn’t change being a Newcastle fan now for any bigger club. Fabulous news and thanks to Rafa’s daughters for reminding him,when they saw the Geordie fans at Anfield, “those people love you”

  7. ian summers says:

    Comparable to the day we signed Keegan as a player, unbelievable.

    • exactly Ian. Let’s hope we have some good times now.

      • ian summers says:

        All who were there against Spurs should stand up and take a bow. What happened that day would happen no where else. What was fantastic on Wednesday was the joy on Rafa Benitez’s face, he gets us completely and can see the potential, he is excited by what he can help create.

  8. Peter Shearer says:

    Well even I can bring myself to say well done Ashley! Rafa is a proper football man and already seems to have understood our club and our supporters better than most of his predecessors. He talks like he is working for us-not Ashley! Welcome Rafa. I hope you can keep Ashley from ruining this and if he does it may well be his last mistake. Feels good, even though Ashley is still there.

  9. rich says:

    If it does take off, we are going to need those potential extra seats in the gallowgate Mr Ashley. You may want to review your plans for Strawberry place.

    • foggy says:

      With Rafa at the helm and with the right amount of backing from Ashley then the sky is the limit.
      St James would be filled to bursting every home game.
      An alternative to expanding the gallowgate end would be to expand the Leazes and East stand, Can’t be done I hear you all say because of Leazes terrace. But it can, if the Club and Newcastle Council work together on the project. Leazes Terrace could be dismantled and rebuilt 150 yards away along Richardson road.
      Thus allowing space for st james expansion.

  10. MiloSlim79 says:

    Chuffed to pieces about Rafa’s appointment but, boy, have Ashley and Charnley been let off lightly. Their pigheadedness has just relegated the club after all. Let’s not forget that.

  11. David Finlinson says:

    This has the “feel” of the King Kev era?? I am absolutely buzzin man!!
    This appointment has lifted the gloom and despondency of relegation? Cant wait for the season to start now!!

  12. desree says:

    as cynical as I am about Mike Ashley, is he really any worse than SJH?

    If Raffa gets things happening like KK did then SJP will be kicking off. Remember as kick off approached the hairs on the back of your neck stood up as you anticipated the roar.

    Hopefully fans get to experience that feeling.

  13. Boomtown says:

    I’m guessing its just me filled with a deep sense of foreboding… maybe all the years of negativity are just ingrained for life now.

  14. Bob says:

    Who knows the real reason Ashley changed his attitude, maybe he saw £ signs, maybe he thought this would get him out of an awkward situation (which it certainly has) of all hell breaking loose, may be the penny did drop that his method was wrong, maybe someone convinced him. We can think what we like but who cares anyway, the end result is the right one, in fact probably the first thing he’s done right in 8 years. My only worry is that Rafa has taken on a huge task, from the academy up and that might diminish his first team duties. With his experience I believe he understand this so I will just enjoy the ride, along with another 50,000 in the ground and more elsewhere. Onwards and upwards. Excellent news.

  15. JohnV says:

    Here I am in deepest France, struggling to get fuel for the car, and this news comes through. Amazing.
    I reckon MA knows that this is his last big chance. I’ve thought for a while that relegation just might not be a disaster – if handled properly. So far, so good. If it isn’t handled properly, NUFC could go the way of a number of grand old clubs with better recent pedigrees.

    The Championship can be a brutal league and it’s all very well various folks (including some of my black and white relatives) writing it off as a poor league. As too many teams have discovered, it can be hellish difficult to get back to the PL.

    With a fair wind and a good start, fans might just have an enjoyable ride for a change. If promotion could be won, the upward impetus (again, if handled correctly) could be mind-blowing. As several folks have said, this could be another KK moment (first time!).

    I’ve read all the stuff around this story but it still seems incredible that NUFC have attracted one of Europe’s (if not the world’s) top managers. He must be given his head. You never know, even MA might enjoy this. I’ve always thought that he would get much more out of the situation, both personally and business-wise, if he allowed NIUFC to fulfil its potential

  16. Peter Ward says:

    Enjoy the moment but don’t forget this is Ashley. Remember what he has done in the previous eight years he has owned the club. Until we have a proper management structure to complement the football side then change won’t be complete.

  17. Joe Hawkins says:

    I’m very surprised the walking easter egg Charnley pulled this off so Rafa must have been light on offers from elsewhere surely ?
    Don’t get me wrong because I am glad they have sorted out the managerial position because this could have ran and ran all summer.

    I just don’t get the blind optimism that is surrounding the place with some fans having our name etched on The Championship Trophy before a ball is kicked !
    I said on this forum when Rafa was appointed that it would be too little too late to keep us in The Prem and unfortunately it proved to be the case.

    My own personal view is a one of “Proceed With Caution”, Because this move does not somehow guarantee automatic promotion.
    It pains me to say this but some Sunderland fans on “Ready To Go” question Rafa’s credentials to be the man to take Newcastle back to The Premier League for varying reasons, And I have to agree.

    It is a hard league and we have seen so called big names like Felix Magath struggle at Fulham when they went down, So it is no given.
    Our cousins from along the road are of the opinion that it is “Horses For Courses” when it comes to getting out of this division and I can see their point.
    Playing Devil’s Advocate here but would we have not been better off appointing a manager who knows his way around The Championship ?

    That being said Rafa has his pros as well as his cons in terms of appointing him for continuity reasons where he is now settled in and knows his players and who he wants and doesn’t etc
    There is also the feel good factor which has been fostered across the area since he has arrived despite only winning 2 from 10 matches !

    Frankly, That is what we are relying on here is that very “Feel Good Factor” to carry us through the coming campaign.
    This term has been used a lot by those in and around the club for the last few years to no avail but they really do have to : “Hit The Ground Running.”

    I hope it works out for them but there is a lot of hard work ahead and some should not think that this will somehow be a walk in the park next season.

    • Boomtown says:

      Finally someone that kind of agree with me!

    • Jonny Angus says:

      Splitting hairs but he won 3 and drew 4 in 10. extrapolating for the whole season would have given us 49 points (assuming he didn’t continue to improve us). That was with a side that had won 6 and drawn 6 in 28 games! There is a “Feel Good Factor” because his stats back up his reputation. Name a manager you would rather have. I guess we should have appointed Neil Warnock when we went down instead. I agree it wont be easy but we one of the best managers in the world so I would at least expect the playoffs!

      • Boomtown says:

        Don’t get me wrong, I think Rafa is a fantastic manager with an excellent pedigree. My concerns are… firstly he has little experience outside the top flight, he has always been in charge of top 6 teams, inheriting a world class squad with an unlimited budget… what experience does he have of performing a root and branch reform of a club from the academy up, and rebuilding an entire squad on a limited budget? (Fair play rules are more strictly monitored in the championship than in the premiership – he can’t just by the world as most people are assuming)
        Secondly, he has either resigned or been sacked from his last x number of roles, mainly due to conflicting with the owners over transfers… does nobody worry about that, with what we know about Ashley?
        I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have, I think Rafa is a excellent signing and shows ambition… but I’m not on the euphoric bus ride that everyone else seems to be on… We are in the championship and people are talking champions league! I can just see the wheels coming off… hope I’m wrong.

        • Simon Sharp says:

          Very sensible concerns Boomtown, and exactly those which I have. I worry about how long it will take him to get to grips with the Championship given that by his own admission there are gaps in his knowledge – let’s not forget what happened to Felix Magath at Fulham, a man who won the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg and also at Bayern.

          Oddly, I’m not so worried about transfers – maybe I’m naive but given the written assurances Ashley has given him over funds and the character that Benitez appears to be, if there was a dispute (and there might be – the people that run the club are proven liars as KK and Jonas will testify) then Benitez may walk away. Newcastle are finished if that happens, any goodwill towards the club that Benitez’ (re)appointment has generated drains away and Ashley and Co are in an even worse position than they were if they’d simply stuck with McClaren and we’d gone down that way – having Benitez and losing him would be a bridge too far for most fans and the atmosphere would be cataclysmic, I don’t think the club would ever recover. Simply, Benitez has the upper hand – give me what I want and keep the poison at bay.

          It would be a mistake to think things will be fixed overnight, there is a lot wrong with the way the club “works” on a daily basis, many of which are beyond the remit of even a football man like Benitez. I’m trying not to let my hope become anything like optimism. We know what happens when we become optimistic. The fatalist is never disappointed.

      • Joe Hawkins says:

        John, I’m not adverse to Rafa in the slightest but I would urge an element of caution to some of our fan base who think we have walked the league already which is downright arrogant imo.

        There are some very big clubs down there who will take points from you if you are not up for the fight.
        Only at Newcastle are you two wins away from the title to two losses away from relegation !

        Yes Rafa has a proven track record at other clubs but The Championship will break your heart if you get it wrong.

    • Peter Ward says:

      I agree with you. Too many fans seem to be on cloud 9 having previously been in the depths of despair. Benitez may well be a top manager but miracle worker he isn’t. It is up in the air how things will go next season and to think automatic promotion is already on the cards is a big if.

    • Calvin says:

      Seriously, who gives a fuck what the mackems or ‘ready to go’ forum thinks, why would you even read that shite.

  18. Bob says:

    Mostly fair points, but the difference with Magath was that he was new to this country, not just the league. Rafa spent a good few years at Liverpool and ashort stint at Chelsea. He obviously has plenty of experience of the premier but also knowledge of the other leagues. I don’t know for sure but it’s likely he came across a few lower league teams in the cups and pre-season games. It won’t be an unknown to him and he will know a few people to ask. Also don’t underestimate the feel good factor. He is guaranteed a full house and a supportive crowd which can have a great effect, especially at the start of a season. With him the chances of keeping our better players and attracting good ones must be better than the likes of Warnock, Pearson etc.

  19. Andy bee says:

    Joe have a nice summer and stay grumpy. FFS if you can’t enjoy this you’ll not enjoy nowt let Rafa roll and see where we go. You make too many references to our neighbours for my liking ‘ ready to go ‘ ‘ horses for courses’ . Very interesting Joseph it is les chats noire that focus on us not other way round .

    • Joe Hawkins says:

      Andy, It’s not a case of being grumpy but what have we done yet to merit such adulation and joy after losing our top flight status ?
      What is wrong with fans like you who get us that deluded tag with your ridiculous statements and arrogance ?

      The bottom line is we have lost our top flight status but you want to hire an open top bus because we have secured the services of a manager.
      It’s ridiculous and reeks of “Mugs Paradise” because we haven’t kicked a ball yet and even Rafa himself has come out to try and tell fans not to forget where we are ffs !

    • Joe Hawkins says:

      The next thing to be uttered will be that old chestnut of : “Mackems In Disguise.”
      Your boring man and show a lack of intelligence to enter into a sensible and logical debate without veering off into childish predictable petty insults.

      You really are a “Sky Sports Special Fan” who is regularly interviewed by the afore mentioned broadcaster to which you answer “Canny Alreet Like”, As you carry your misspelled sheets and play the banjo with your back teeth !

  20. Andy bee says:

    Boomtown ……do a little research on wiki king raf has had good times and bad times across a lot of levels. Root and branch? Go have a pint with joe…….
    Call to arms here….I’m up for it all me pals seem to be too, negativity – PAH! 😄

    • Joe Hawkins says:

      Andy, If at the end of next season we finish in the top two then you can celebrate but until then get a grip of yourself man !

  21. Andy bee says:

    Never played a banjo misused a bed sheet or been on sky. Reread what I wrote ‘ let Rafa roll and see where we go’ ie I expect nothing and hope for everything for our great club. It seems you are the individual throwing petty insults I’m happy with my intelligence and excitement for Rafa rebuilding us. I can also appreciate the need for reigning in expectation therefore respect your view , I however think you are the type who will never be happy.
    Personally I envisage Rafa sorting the mis performers and adding championship nous to our squad, coupled with strong organisation and a wealth of managerial experience leading to tactics that will knit us together as a unit. No doubt you share that happy vision? If not it really isn’t my problem as I’m going to enjoy the moment now and also get very excited about our club rising up again. Have a great summer .

  22. Peter Shearer says:

    I think we can all conclude that Rafa is the man to rally us all, and I would rather have him than anyone else that is proven in the championship! It is right that we should exercise a degree of caution to our optimism, especially as Ashley is still there! But there is little doubt that Rafa has brought a “feel-good” factor that few others could have done. The fact that we have a manager that cares about the fans is our best card, and hopefully he will never allow Ashley to forget that. I agree that we should not be arrogant re promotion, but we have every right to at least look forward to the Rafa era. I just hope that he has also tied Ashley to a spend commitment if we do get back up, as I suspect Ashley would be happy again, but Rafa wants to aim higher. Ashley has another chance to get things right, but it is hard to be confident in him! We still have Sports Direct and Wonga everywhere, but at least Rafa offers a bit of class to our club.

  23. Peter Ward says:

    Looking at things in a positive way no one really expected us to be where we are despite relegation. There is undoubtedly a revivalist mood bringing with it great expectation. Is this justified. ? On balance it probably is because no one, if they are honest, expected Benitez to stay. It must be true that he has been given considerable leeway by Ashley otherwise he would have gone. Despite the euphoria and ‘love’ he’s a pretty hard headed individual so his head will have ruled his heart. We’ll soon see how the wind is blowing over the next few weeks.
    Is automatic promotion a certainty? By no means. The Championship is a tough league with a lot of hard bitten managers and a desperation by many previously successful clubs to get back to the big time. The key will be getting off running and with the right additions keeping up the momentum. I personally think we’ll see this and have great hopes for the new season. The fly in the ointment though is Ashley. Charnley is just his office boy and of no account. Given Ashley’s history both in business and stewardship of this club I cannot help but think of the phrase ‘there’s many a slip between cup and lip’ . I think that’s the phrase and sums up my complete lack of faith in Ashley.