Many thanks to the people who answered the true faith poll last week. The poll was taken to get a feeling where the readership is at in this tense summer. The good feeling and excitement for the new season we all enjoyed so much before our Championship stint has not been evident this time round as the media have detailed the managers unhappiness with the failure of ‘the board’ to secure early season transfer targets.
Some of the more sensational publications have declared ‘Rafa’s future in doubt’ but many in the know in the local media think it wouldn’t come to that. Either way we thought we’d ask our readers how they felt having signed just two players heading into late January here is what you told us:
Q. Do you think Rafa Benitez will be in charge of the first game of the season?
85% of you feel that Rafa will still be here come Spurs at home. The more sceptical fans are saying that should there be a parting of ways, for legal reasons, it would be after September 1st. Either way – we’re confident Rafa will be here against Spurs – and that’s reason to be optimistic.
Q. Do you believe Rafa Benitez has been mislead by Newcastle United on the scale of the budget available to him
The majority of answers went for ‘yes’ (47.2% of the vote) with 40.8% opting for ‘too early to say.’ Benitez’s interview to Sky Sports on Monday ominously mentioned that he ‘hopes Mike keeps his word.’
Hours later it was confirmed United had agreed a fee with Jacob Murphy to come to United. Maybe it was a coincidence but it looked like the shot across Ashley’s bows had worked. Benitez also said;
‘I still have confidence that he will keep his word. We have the resources to do what we wanted and now we have to do it.
‘I asked if I can spend all the money on one player or if I must spend it on many players. Mike said the budget is mine and I can do what I want with the numbers he has given me. It is the same with wages.
‘We still have time to buy players until the end of next month and I am confident we will.’
The majority of you are either undecided or unconvinced Rafa hasn’t been given the truth. His comments would tend to back that up but we should have an idea by the end of the window. with 40.8% of people adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude – Ashley clearly has a little bit of credit in the bank with some fans.
Q. If Rafa Benitez were to leave NUFC would you walk away from the club?
Probably the question we were most interested in. It’s split right down the middle with 48% of people saying ‘yes’ and cancelling/walking away immediately and 52% combined saying ‘no’ or depends on a replacement (a 48/52 split: sound like any other major polls in the last couple of years?).
That half the support would walk away is significant and surely the club would be aware of the cataclysmic effect Benitez being denied promised funds would have.
Q. One month until the opening day of the season – Are you happy with the current state of the squad?
Unsurprisingly the vast majority of answers went with ‘Maybe – it depends who we sign’. 64% of people adopting the ‘there’s still time’ strategy and of course there is. Benitez has been clear he wants his squad in place for the start pf the season, and ideally the start of pre-season (which didn’t happen.) Still with only 34% of answers saying we’d run out of time, there is still a lot of faith in what the manager can do/will be given.
Q. How many further first team additions do United need to be competitive this season in the Premier League?
Unsurprisingly the most popular answers at 40% and 39% were 4/5+ players needed. At the time of writing it looks as if another two are through the door. We all agree with the manager. We need new players.
Q. What represents a successful season for Newcastle United in the 2017/18 season?
Another fascinating question. The results were as follows:
Most fans will be more than happy with mid-table which is broadly defined as being ‘safe’ all season and not worrying about relegation, but below tenth. The best example from last season would be Stoke. Personally i’m of the belief that although 13th or so wouldn’t be bad, this manager and playing staff are capable of the top ten.
Only 24% going for survival suggests people have faith in what’s going on. Remember United have been in relegation battles in the Premier League for 3 of our last 4 Premier League seasons.
So there you have it. A little snap shot into how the readers of true faith are feeling right now. You may or disagree with the majority of answers, but we’ll be having more polls as the season goes on – the next being in the week before the start of the season.