Rafa Stays (enjoy your summer!)
Another week and more good news for Newcastle United fans. It is starting to feel like we’ll wake up in a minute.
Following a couple of weeks of promotion and then the Championship, with a relegation for that lot down the road sandwiched in-between (for those who care), tonight brought news that Rafa will be our manager for next season at the very least.
At just after 6pm Sky Sports News confirmed live from St James Park that talks between Mike Ashely and Rafa Benitez had progressed well after the Newcastle boss had flown by private helicopter to meet the billionaire owner at his Sports Direct headquarters at the midlands base.
The discussions focussed not just on the immediate transfer budget but on Rafa’s long terms aspirations for the club, transfer policy and more.
A club statement read:
“Newcastle United can confirm that a meeting has taken place between the club's owner, Mike Ashley, managing director Lee Charnley, and manager Rafa Benitez.
"It was agreed by all parties that the meeting was very positive and constructive. Mike again congratulated Rafa and his team on gaining promotion to the Premier League as champions.
"Plans for next season were discussed, including the purchase and loan of players to add to the squad in readiness for the Premier League season.”
Mike Ashley also added to the club statement "I've confirmed to Rafa and Lee that they can have every last penny that the club generates through promotion, player sales and other means in order to build for next season."
The news will delight fans of the black and whites who will hope that, with his vast experience, Rafa will do more than just keep Newcastle up next season and start us down a long term path of building a successful future for the longer term.
Most encouraging of all will be the statement from the manager himself…
"I'm pleased with how the meeting went and the positive approach we are all taking together to build on what we have started this season," Benitez confirmed.
"There will be challenges ahead of course, the summer will not be easy, but the hard work has been going on for some time and we can now continue positively with the development of the squad ahead of the start of the new season. I wish fans an enjoyable summer!"
Encouraging too is the manner in which the statements were released. All in sink and a planned mixture of official and personal statements.
Finally perhaps, we have combination of owner, chairman and manager who have the combined strengths to move the club forward.
As the great man himself says. Enjoy the summer folks, it promises to be a great one.