So today is the first official day that Rafa Benitez is no longer manager of Newcastle United. Ouch.
As was expected, the Spaniard released a statement about his departure first thing Monday morning, waiting until his contract expired to have his say on his St James’ Park exit.
It’s been an awful week to be a Toon fan. Things took a ridiculous turn this weekend, when it was claimed by the Mirror that Mike Ashley believes Sheikh Khaled is to blame for Benitez leaving, as he didn’t want him as manager. Have you ever heard such rubbish in all your life?
Even if that was true, why would you listen if you’re Ashley? Unless a takeover is imminent, why change the habit of a lifetime and listen to what people want? Typical Ashley.
In Rafa’s statement, he remained dignified. Rather than going in on Ashley and dipping into the tales of woe that he endured, he just said it how it is.
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“I wanted to stay, but I didn’t just want to sign an extended contract, I wanted to be part of a project,” Benitez said in his statement.
“Unfortunately, it became increasingly clear to me that those at the top of the club did not share the same vision.”
Obviously, it’s sad to see Rafa go. But there was a pretty funny moment in his statement. As he signed off, Rafa ended the statement with “C’mon Toons”. You know, that thing that all the Newcastle fans always say? Okay, the thing that literally only Rafa said.
Maybe nobody had the heart to tell them that it wasn’t a thing…