Newcastle United came into this season with one goal and one goal only. Promotion. After the ordeal that was the end of last season, we went weeks without having a solid future. Would Rafael Benitez remain with the club? Which players were we going to sell?
Everything last season was simply put, terrible. It wasn’t fun to watch, and for us who write about it, it wasn’t fun to cover either. Remaining a passionate fan without expressing extreme frustration in articles is a difficult thing to do.
Upon news that Rafa Benitez had reached a deal with Newcastle United to remain with the club, like many other fans, I was ecstatic. How a manager of Rafa’s calibre decided to stay with a club as unreliable and an owner as terrible as Mike Ashley is something I hope to speak with him about.
It would be easy to say that Newcastle United is doing well because of Rafa Benitez. The club is having immense success thanks to his tactical acumen as well as his ability to motivate his players to play at their highest level. But I think of it in another way.
In football, I’m a Philadelphia Eagles fan. The Eagles signed Demarco Murray from the Dallas Cowboys as well as moving Nick Foles to St. Louis (now Los Angeles) in return for Sam Bradford. This of course happened in 2013. Both Bradford and Murray are promising players. But both of them struggled due to how Chip Kelly utilized their talents. Now Sam Bradford is dominating with the Vikings and Demarco Murray is back to his usual self with the Tennessee Titans.
A coach or a manager may require the players to adapt to their style, but it is also up to the manager himself to use the players in a way he knows that they can succeed. Many fail at this. Sometimes, it takes them too long to catch on to what works.
But thanks to Rafa being an adaptable manager, as well his players changing to adapt to his play style, we have a squad that is not only constantly changing, but one that is constantly improving and learning.
I’m not shocked that the club has managed to dominate the Championship. It was to be expected, despite the first two losses at the beginning of the season. And while Rafa Benitez takes nearly 60% of the credit, the players purchased in the summer are definitely proving their worth.