Rafa Benitez was idolised at Newcastle, but if reports he could replace Manuel Pellegrini at West Ham are true, he may not get that adulation from Hammers fans.
Toon fans were devastated at his departure in the summer, such was his popularity, and they were concerned over the fortunes of their club when Steve Bruce was expected to emulate his feats.
But it seems West Ham supporters on social media are not all in favour of the prospect of the Spaniard taking over at their club, should Pellegrini be sacked.
It is hard to fathom why some of them would be so against his arrival, particularly given the position the club currently find themselves in, just two places and five points above the relegation zone.
Granted, Rafa’s style of play is not always pleasing on the eye, and it may not always be the flowing football that Hammers fans traditionally expect.
But losing four of their last five games, and without a win in seven – including a humiliating 4-0 League Cup defeat at League One Oxford – they need results, and Rafa is the manager to get them.
One West Ham fan account even made the bizarre – and not to mention totally inaccurate – claim that Rafa’s Newcastle “were still shocking” defensively, and that he “can’t cope without a massive budget”.
I didn’t rate Benitez at Newcastle. Yes he had some good games for them, but defensively they were still shocking and he never finished in the top half. Yes, Newcastle didn’t back him financially, but would our board be so different? He can’t cope without a massive budget. #WHUFC
— West Ham News & Views ⚒️ (@WHUFC_News_6) November 19, 2019
Have they been hiding under a rock for several years? What massive budget did Rafa ever have at Newcastle? He managed to keep us up on a shoestring, using his defence-first tactics, which saw us pick up points in games we had no right to.
If that is the sign of a “shocking” defensive side, then the mind boggles.
Benitez would turn West Ham’s season around
He would rescue West Ham’s season, regardless of how much money he was given, which is surely what all Hammers fans would want.
Newcastle fans would give anything to have their talismanic manager back calling the shots, and that West Ham fans do not feel the same way, will have most of Tyneside scratching their heads.
Of course, not all fans have reacted negatively to the speculation, with some actually in favour of it.
Here are some of the comments to the Benitez rumours from Twitter:
My thoughts exactly
— Stuart (@Ooglestu) November 9, 2019
That would be the West Ham way. Sign a manager who’s shown no ambition going to China. Sack him.
Sign another manager who’s shown no ambition going to China.
— HM Murdock (@h_mad_murdock) November 9, 2019
Money in china is to much! Bring Moyes back FOR me! A manager who will take no crap and get them fit
— JB (@BurchettJason) November 9, 2019
Awful idea, don’t touch managers that go to China with a barge pole anymore it’s their way of winding down and getting a last payday for their career
— Sam (@_SamButler) November 9, 2019
God never thought I’d say this but get Harry back.
— sam gutteridge (@whorehead12) November 9, 2019
One washed up manager for another
— martin tyzack (@MTyzack) November 9, 2019
Benitez is in semi retirement in china and plays even more boring football than Moyes
— Frankie8 ⚒⚒⚒ 🏴🇬🇧🇵🇭 (@frankiemac8) November 9, 2019
Never, he’s a dinosaur as well…..
Get Gerard in give him a go, young, hungry and he’ll try to put the ball in the back of the net…..
— Lee Mapley (@mapley2101) November 3, 2019
Wild shout how about Martin o Neil
— mark Scott-denness (@denzil1974) November 3, 2019