Newcastle are on course to make a return right back to the top flight following their relegation at the end of last season. Their win over Ipswich at the weekend saw the Magpies maintain their number 1 spot on the log, increasing their win tally to 10. They have drawn 1, lost 3 and have accumulated 31 points as the 46-game campaign continues.
One man has been responsible for Newcastle’s great form, and he is none other than Rafa Benitez. Since appointing the former Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli and Real Madrid manager in March, the changes have been there for everyone to see. 3 wins, 4 draws and 3 losses under his guidance in the EPL were however not enough for Newcastle to starve off relegation.
Yet, he showed a lot of character by choosing to go down to the Championship with them, when there was no clause in his contract tying him down. Here is a coach who holds a record as the only manager in history to have won the UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup opting to prove a point he needn’t prove by aspiring to oversee the immediate promotion of the relegated club, and also turn them to a side to reckon with in England once that is done.
Adding the Championship honors is the most immediate of his missions, and he has continued to put everything in place to do just exactly that. Benitez definitely wants to win the EPL someday, and that’s not impossible. Following their relegation, he tried his possible best to convince a lot of his former charges to stay. Wijnaldum and Sissoko, however, chose to remain in the top flight and despite the departures of these 2 integral players of the squad, Newcastle have moved on just fine.
Rafa went ahead to make few additions, getting Crystal Palace’s Gayle, Hull City’s Diame, Tottenham’s Yedlin, Bournemouth’s Ritchie and a few others in the summer transfer window, and every one of them has played important roles thus far. The most important signing is no doubt that of Gayle’s. With 11 league goals thus far, the centre forward leads the Championship goalscoring charts and is on course to fire Newcastle back to the top division.
Convincing these group of EPL players to “downgrade” and join his Newcastle project is very applaudable, and they believe without an iota of doubt that the club would not only get back to the top flight, but it would also stamp its authority upon arrival. Benitez is definitely Newcastle’s saviour and it’s suffice to say he is the best thing to have happened to Newcastle in recent history.
Life in the Championship didn’t start well for the 2009–10 champions as back-to-back defeats at the hands of Fulham and Huddersfield in the opening 2 games of the campaign saw the pitchforks brought out on them, with many tipping them to fail at the first time of asking as far as getting promotion is concerned.
Rafa Benitez responded well, and only a draw and loss since then remains a blight in what has otherwise been a perfect campaign. The Spaniard continues to get the best out of his players and inspire them to victory. Newcastle couldn’t have asked for more from this veteran manager, and he is on course to make history with the Toon.