Admirable Rafa Takes It On The Chin
Rafa Benitez was big on facts when he was manager of Liverpool but here at Newcastle in our current predicament, he's careful not to hide behind them.
Many managers before him here under the Ashley dictatorship may have had times where the owner got the brunt of the blame for certain things but recently the growing trend has seen a vast majority of people start to shift the blame onto our Spanish tactician.
The fact still remains that Newcastle as a footballing club still lags behind it being run as a business. It's a mix that isn't working although Rafa is trying his best to get it to imitate one.
The off the pitch stuff as well as the togetherness in the crowd is remarkable considering the ten years of neglect the club has had with investment in the playing side hidden behind a PR minefield and a lack of knowledge from those who have fallen for the spin.
Without knowing exactly which tin Rafa was shown when he was sold a vision to stay after a self inflicted relegation, it's common knowledge that the instructions on it weren't what Rafa saw as he has learned the lessons of past employees.
The difference here is that Rafa isn't playing along to the tune that the likes of Pardew and co did but instead continuing his theme of questioning the owner in public, which is our best chance of Ashley shipping out.
The majority of fans have recently blamed Rafa for personnel picked on the pitch, the changes he has made in matches and the varying tactics but the facts show that he cant win.
A laboured formation which had us competing in games in 1-0 results to either side or the odd draw was labelled as boring football regardless of the success it was having.
Since changing tactics recently via injury concerns or a lack of form, we've pretty much collapsed as a unit.
Rafa trusts certain players to play a certain way and when he leaves certain peoples favourites out of the side then it is pretty much down to a lack of trust in a situation. A call that is on his back and perfectly entitled to.
There are also facts in that this squad of players we have this season, is not the one that Rafa wanted to achieve his season targets.
He wanted Tammy Abraham, Willy Caballero, Andros Townsend, Tom Cairney to name a few but with stories changed and deadlines not met, he wasn't given them. Instead he took whatever scraps were offered and got in players that he doesn't trust as much as his original targets on a lower quality.
A situation that is not his doing.
He hasn't spoken publicly about the scenario but it is obvious that it is playing a part now and with the next window showing it's head in a few weeks, it is a strengthening opportunity that cant be ignored this time round.
It's odds on that Rafa had big plans for us but hasn't been backed so it's unfair for anyone to blame him this season for Mike Ashley's penny pinching and hopefully it's remembered in the rest of our relegation fight as we can achieve more if we stick together.