Sunderland supporters are not worried by strong rumours of Rafael Benitez’s impending arrival at Newcastle United.
The Real Madrid boss is hotly tipped to succeed Steve McClaren as manager of the Wearside club’s rivals, with media reports linking him with a three-year deal on Tyneside.
Despite his European pedigree, Sunderland supporters are not feeling nervous by his arrival ahead of this month’s Tyne-Wear derby, with many confidently predicting ‘another easy three points’.
“No, I’m not worried,” Ron Thompson, 51, said. “It’s a certain three points for Sunderland every time we play Newcastle. Season in, season out it’s six points really. I don’t think Benitez has any chance of keeping them up. I know he has a good CV but from what I’ve observed of him at Liverpool and again at Real Madrid, I don’t rate him.”
Lifelong Sunderland supporter, Joe Ashton, 61, pointed to Benitez’s past history of spending as a potential pitfall, with Newcastle having already shelled out more than £80 million on new recruits during the last 12 months.
“The thing with Benitez is that he comes from a long line of managers who have already had money to play with,” he said. “At Newcastle, they’ve already forked out £85 million that I know of and their players are just not gelling together.”
John Nancon confidently predicted a seventh derby win in a row for the Black Cats, claiming that the Magpies’ campaign was ‘already over’.
He said: “It’s too late for him to step in. They’ve already downed tools. Their season’s already over. Next week we’ll prove it to them. We’re gonna win. We’re gonna love it.”
Mr Ashton added: “Newcastle United Football Club for managers in recent history has always been a graveyard.
“There’s so much high expectation on that manager’s shoulders to perform. But without Newcastle in the Premier League, and Sunderland, I just think it’s a poorer league without them.”
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