Newcastle’s top brass may just have out-shystered themselves last month if claims being made by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) are to be believed.
As reported by the Chronicle, RFEF president Luis Rubiales has revealed that, upon Spain coach Julen Lopetegui being fired on the eve of the World Cup, Newcastle hastily sent him a letter touting Rafa Benitez for the job.
Speaking to the Cadena COPE radio station, Rubiales explained the sequence of events:
When I sacked Julen, I immediately called [Fernando] Hierro and told him I didn’t want to make any changes.
Two days later a letter arrived from Newcastle saying ‘Are you interested in our coach? He’s at your disposition.’ We said thanks but no.
We would have never done that, we couldn’t hire Benitez because it would have been acting in the same way for which we reproached Julen.
That being the very same Rafa Benitez who has done a marvellous job arresting the decline at Newcastle, brought fans back on side, restored an air of pride around St James’ Park and all without spending anywhere near as much on players as some of his contemporaries.
It makes precisely zero sense, but it very much sounds like the board sensed an opportunity to make a bit of quick cash and therefore actively attempted to force their popular manager into leaving.
What a horrible, greedy, pox-rotten executive strata the Toon have to (still) contend with.