Rafa Benitez decided to make Newcastle United his next job after leaving Real Madrid.

After leaving the biggest club in the world, two months later Newcastle sacked Steve McClaren and Rafa approached NUFC to offer his services.

Even Mike Ashley couldn’t miss that own goal.

Rafa Benitez said he had approached the Newcastle United hierarchy because he saw the club as a long-term project, where over a period of time he could help build the team and club to be a force once again in the Premier League.

The new manager seeing that if realistic investment was made by the club in the Academy, training complex and first team squad, then Newcastle United could grow year on year.

Now 33 months later he has delivered instant promotion as Champions of the second tier, a 10th place finish in the Premier League, and now recovering (fifth best in Premier League recent form table over last six games) after a tough start to the season, the team in 14th and looking to push on once again.

The only thing missing in these past 33 months is investment.

No proper investment in the training complex (an ‘essential’ new state of the art one was promised by Mike Ashley back in 2013), no investment in the Academy, whilst Rafa Benitez has made a profit for NUFC/Mike Ashley in the transfer market since March 2016 when he walked through the door.

Asked over these past four months or more about whether he would extend his contract, Rafa Benitez has repeatedly said that he would wait to see what happened in the January transfer window.

After ‘broken promises’ in each of these last four transfer windows, Rafa Benitez has refused to do Mike Ashley’s bidding and sign a new contract blind, with no sighting of any change in the owner’s attitude and backing.

With now only that one transfer window remaining and five months of football before his current deal expires, Rafa Benitez has yet again sent out the ‘potential’ message to Mike Ashley.

That either he has to allow money to be spent on growing the first team squad quality (as well as investment elsewhere in the club), or else sell the club to somebody who will back/help the manager.

Talking on Friday, Rafa Benitez said that ‘just with one or two things’, Newcastle United could ‘easily’ be top eight, possibly top six.

One or two things could easily be imagined to be the quality centre-forward and number 10 that Newcastle have been crying out for since promotion.

With their late run of form last season Newcastle looked to be heading for a potential top eight finish, only to fall five points short, as after achieving early safety they eased off and lost four in a row before the final day win against Chelsea.

Top six is obviously another step up but it is all about doing all the right things and whilst the ‘big six’ are a tough nut to crack, only three seasons ago Southampton ended up top six. This season Man Utd have offered the chance for somebody to step up and if there had been more consistency from certain clubs, they could have been a good eight points or more clear of Mourinho’s team already.

It is all about getting a foothold ever higher and then trying to take advantage, Newcastle are one of the few (only?) clubs capable of breaking into that top grouping. You are talking over a period of time but why not?

Get everything at Newcastle pushing in the right direction and with the right man in charge like Rafa Benitez, you can reach for the stars. You might not get there but having a real go is what it is all about.

Tottenham have done a lot of things right over a period of time to establish themselves, yet not so long ago there was very little between the finances of the two clubs.

Even with Mike Ashley’s crass running of Newcastle United, it still brings in more revenue than pretty much every other club outside that ‘big six’.

Does anybody really doubt that there isn’t significant extra revenue and profit that can be generated with new owners?

For Newcastle United to have a chance, we need Mike Ashley to sell the club.

Everything else can flow from there.

Rafa Benitez talking to Sky Sports:

“I  think that this team could be in the top six, It could be in the top eight easily.

“When I say easily I mean just with one or two things.

“When I decided to come here, it was because I saw the potential of the club, the city, everything.

“Still, I can see the same.”

Challenging at the very top:

“With the right tools, you can stop Manchester City, but we are talking about £500m with a great manager and great players. Everything is positive for them.

“Can Liverpool stop Manchester City? Yes.

“Can Arsenal and Tottenham and Chelsea stop City? Yes.

“But can they be more consistent over a season? That will be more difficult.

“I do think that the top teams can compete with each other but it is a big difference to the rest.”

Dealing with the tough start to this season:

“That is where experience comes in.

“Do not get too high thinking you are a genius and do not get too low thinking you are the worst in the world.

“You just need to be consistent.”


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Jim Robertson