New­cas­tle’s fu­ture bleak with­out Rafa to lead them

The Chronicle - - Nufc -

THE unan­i­mous ver­dict is now in on Ty­ne­side.

In short, Rafa Ben­itez’s stay at New­cas­tle United must be ex­tended be­yond the sum­mer of 2019.

Or at least that is the ver­dict of the sup­port­ers, the cur­rent play­ing staff, and also club leg­end Alan Shearer who now can’t see any other way for­ward for the Mag­pies.

It’s some­thing that the sup­port­ers at St James’ Park have known for a long time be­cause they fi­nally have a man­ager they feel they can trust in the dugout.

Af­ter spend­ing just a mod­est amount last sum­mer and fail­ing to stump up a penny on a per­ma­nent trans­fer in the Jan­uary win­dow, New­cas­tle took a gam­ble last sea­son, and very few ex­pected Ben­itez to lead United to any­thing other than fend­ing off rel­e­ga­tion if he was lucky.

In­stead, Ben­itez trans­formed a team that plied their trade in the Cham­pi­onship last sea­son into a top-10 Premier League out­fit, against the odds and de­spite hav­ing spend­ing re­stric­tions from the club’s stub­born hi­er­ar­chy. A top-10 place is noth­ing to be sniffed at, of course, but it makes you won­der ex­actly what Ben­itez could achieve if he was handed a de­cent trans­fer kitty to spend. The wor­ry­ing thing is we might not get the chance to find out be­cause United of­fi­cials don’t seem will­ing to take any type of chance fi­nan­cially. Surely a top-10 place is ev­i­dence that Ben­itez is the only man to take the club for­ward in the next few years? You’d like to think so, but for one rea­son or another, he is yet to sign an ex­tended deal. Sup­port­ers will al­ways want what’s best for the club, but when noises from the dress­ing room from cur­rent play­ers and the club cap­tain start to emerge it’s baf­fling to work out why New­cas­tle aren’t go­ing that ex­tra mile to nail down their man­ager.

Club leg­end Alan Shearer knows ex­actly how the good times roll at St James’ Park and, hav­ing played un­der the two great­est bosses in the club’s mod­ern his­tory in Sir Bobby Rob­son and Kevin Kee­gan, he has a bril­liant

It’s baf­fling to work out why New­cas­tle aren’t go­ing that ex­tra mile to nail down their man­ager Lee Ry­der

un­der­stand­ing of what type of man­ager can take the club where it be­longs. Shearer told the Mag­pie Chan­nel this week: “No one can blame him if he turned around to New­cas­tle fans and said, ‘I can’t put up with this any­more.’ We’ll prob­a­bly say, ‘You know what,

Alan Shearer (right) and New­cas­tle United fans have made it clear they want Rafa Ben­itez to stay

Kevin Kee­gan

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