Muchas Gracias. Feliz cumpleaños Rafa Benitez.
A belated Happy Birthday as the Newcastle boss turned 58 on Monday.
Down the years, we as Newcastle fans have witnessed some cracking teams and seen some great players. Some great moments at St James Park and beyond, watching players attempt to fulfil our dreams of a trophy, even though the final outcome for the most part saw us fall a little (or a long way) short of seeing something tangible added to the trophy cabinet.
What this current group of players do more than any Newcastle side I can remember, is battle, boy do they battle.
Have we witnessed Newcastle sides with more artistry, more flair and more skill? Yes, of course we have, but some of the sides that were built to go hunting trophies in our name, didn’t have the backbone and determination that this crop do, or could be relied upon to find new ways of screwing things up in spectacular fashion.
Be it a lazy left winger, an arsey striker or a egotistical midfielder, or a combination of all three stabbing the manager in the front rather than the back, there was always a weakness to the sides built under Kevin Keegan in the 90s and then Sir Bobby in the early noughties. Tactical naivety was always the concern under Kevin while, although obviously not his fault, the timing of the Bobby Robson appointment was always going to make his project a short-term one, for another manager to reap the rewards of. And we all know how that went.
In the absence of the squillions…