Rafa Benitez has made the famous black and white club hopeful and optimistic, but how exactly?
The famous Spanish manager was officially announced as the club’s manager on the 11th March 2016 after Steve McClaren was sacked the very same day, just six after a 3-1 loss to the hand’s of Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth. At this point in time relegation to England’s second tier however the Newcastle faithful greeted this appointment with endless positivity and hope that a new era was emerging. His first act as manager was to call a training session 3 days before an away match against Leicester City. The match may have finished 1-0 to the Foxes but there were signs of massive visual progress.
Relegation and the transfer window
Unfortunately after a massively frustrating 0-0 draw to already relegated Aston Villa and Sunderland beating Everton 3-0 our worst fears were confirmed, Newcastle United were officaly relegated to the Championship. With one match left we faced Tottenham Hostspur who had lost the title to Leicester City. Both teams had nothing to lose but,against all the odds, Newcastle beat Spurs 5-1. The downer on this day was the realization that this was our last game in the Premier League for at least a season, and young Serbian striker Alexsander Mitrovic earning himself a red card. Brushing that aside the Toon Army marched into the Championship with bubbling optimism. This feeling increased when Dwight Gayle was officially announced as the first signing under the Benitez era for a £10 million fee with winger Andros Townsend going the other way to Crystal Palace for £13 million, who got the better deal I’ll leave up to you. The team went on the complete another 11 transfers with many players coming from Premier League sides, something the fans had pleaded for for many years. In total Benitez and the board spent £53 million but still managed to turn a profit of £30 million, with many unpopular players like Moussa Sissoko and Gini Wijnaldum departing to Premier League clubs. Confidence was high around the club with the start of the season drawing nearer and nearer. Bring on the Championship.
The Championship campaign
Newcastle’s Championship endeavors began on the 5th August 2016 with a disappointing 1-0 loss away to Fulham and then an extremely disappointing 2-1 loss at home to Huddersfield Town. Questions were popping up left, right and centre. Many critics thought we would find it very difficult to come straight back up. However those same critics were silenced after a 4-1 demolition job of Reading. After those two bumps in the road our promotion hopes seemed as bright as they were at the start of the season. Of course the season hasn’t been perfect. take the 2-0 loss at home to Wolves but the club certainly makes up for it with the 6-0 destruction of Queens Park Rangers, away from home makes it even more sweet. The club have high aims and they can certainly be matched with Rafa Benitez in charge.
Featured Image Credit: Yellow Book Limited