When Newcastle United found itself relegated last season, many fans sat with their faces in their hands. Tears were nearly running down my own face, and the prospect of losing Rafael Benitez added a certain sting to my heart.
With Benitez, whose name is spoken with reverence and respect, Newcastle United was handed a lifeline. And never have I seen such a quick turnaround from poor performances and dampened spirits to successful matches and a fanbase full of hope.
Hope is something that Newcastle United fans live off of. Every year, however, those hopes are dashed with poor performances and management that seems almost as if it doesn’t care about the legendary fanbase it lives off of.
But now, relegation seems like an afterthought at St. James Park. Fans feel as if they’re on top of the world. Spirits are high, the club is getting points, and the work ethic of the players seems to be much higher than they have been in previous seasons.
All of this can be attributed to Rafa Benitez’s handling of the situation. He’s pushing the club as if they’re in the top tier, and he’s treating every match as a challenge that the club must face to prove themselves worthy of the Premier League.
The excitement is high, and even attendance is up from last season. The future for Newcastle United is bright. And relegation almost seems like an afterthought.