It has been a long time coming and there are many who would have been forgiven in thinking that the situation would stretch out until it was too late to have any kind of positive impact before it was already too late. We've seen that situation before. This year is looking to be different. Today, Preferred Media Partners™ BBC have reported that it is all over but the signing. Rafa Benitez will be staying.
The ramifications of this move are huge. Even more than Rafa arriving in the first place (which was a huge get, if 2 months too late), convincing a man who who has won European championships to stay on in the English Championship can only be seen as a positive. The changes commensurate with sealing such a deal are a bigger deal. The BBC have said that:
A three-year deal is expected to be announced later on Wednesday which will contain written assurances for the Spaniard on full control of player recruitment and budgets set for the summer and winter transfer windows.
Full control of player recruitment. A football man in charge of footballing decisions. Actually addressing the problems that have led us to relegation. This decision is priceless. It is :100: Newcastle United as well. When the sky is dark and you're feeling bad about the club and everything is terrible... Hope. This decision is the closest – from our perspective as fans – that the club have gotten to "getting it right".
Instead of drawing decisions and announcements out "too long", we have our decision. Granted "too long" has a skewed meaning around our club, but regardless... Rafa is in. He has control. Most crucially, he has time to effect the changes that will need to happen within the playing squad to maximize our chances of returning straight back to the Premier League. (If you read the site, you may have seen me say that an immediate return may not be the best thing... Rafa staying and the conditions that must've been met to get him to do so qualifies as the change that needed to happen. We'll talk about this soon.) He has time to convince players like Andros Townsend to stay. It is the single most desirable result in a timely manner. It is hope for the future of our club.