Following a dismal campaign last time out, Newcastle United was without direction and passion. Now, several months on, the atmosphere surrounding the club has totally transformed.
Club owner Mike Ashley and his entourage have undoubtedly made many major errors and misjudgments during his tumultuous tenure at the helm of one of England’s sleeping giants.
The masses of Newcastle seemed to finally reach a breaking point towards the end of Steve McClaren’s (mis)management last season, and some, months prior to his underwhelming appointment.
More from Newcastle Toons
- AC Milan predicted lineup vs Newcastle United – UEFA Champion League 2023/24
- “What a player” Arsenal and Real Madrid stars hype up this Newcastle ace
- Newcastle United 1-0 Brentford: 3 Catalyst Players Who Were Key To The Result
- Newcastle United 1-0 Brentford: 3 things Eddie Howe learned from the match
- Newcastle player ratings vs Brentford: Harvey Barnes impresses
Defeat after defeat, without ambition to progress and target trophies, simply surviving in England’s top division was enough to sustain the club; TV revenue and high-profile player sales could be seen as carrying the club through a period of relative financial success.
However, a football club should be so much more to a city and it’s supporters – past, present and future – than a vehicle for product promotion and mediocrity. Things reached a point in time where a revolution was going to happen with or without the blessing of the club’s hierarchy.
Dwindling interest in club affairs was becoming an increasing problem season on season, personally, I had become extremely apathetic to the situation the club was in, as I’m sure many thousands of supporters just like me had. The club’s soul had been ripped out.
The supporters required change, an overhaul of playing staff, management, and ownership. Protests and dissent had infiltrated the walls of St. James’ Park. It was in this moment that supporters’ prayers were answered – a savior rode into town, bringing with him renewed optimism, passion, professionalism, and a sense of belief that the supports could now bestow upon the club, albeit years too late.
With Newcastle staring relegation dead in the face, the management at the club underwent a moment of enlightenment. The rot that had set in under McClaren, and Carver and Pardew before him, needed to be stopped.
When supporters learned of the sheer possibility that someone of the caliber of Rafa Benitez could come in and become manager, controlling all football affairs, it was like most supporters’ wildest dreams come true.
I myself was extremely skeptical of the situation when the news of the possibility first broke during the early afternoon, however as the day rolled on, it became increasingly likely. News sites, fan forums, and social media were flooded with positive disbelief.
Benitez had indeed been instilled as the club’s new ‘Manager’, an important and distant departure from his predecessors who were simply ‘Head Coaches’. Tasked with avoiding relegation – a seemingly impossible task – with 10 games in charge. Benitez, though he could not work a biblical miracle, gave so much back to the club in such a short period of time.
Newcastle was ultimately relegated, and in any other case, this would be disastrous. However, I believe it will turn out to be the greatest thing to happen to the club in years.
Check back with Newcastle Toons in the next few days to read Part II, where I will discuss how Benitez has reformed the club and ultimately put the soul back into this once great club.