It's been another season of consolidation for Newcastle United in the Premier League, which has to be considered as a success. The Magpies have once again been outspent by the majority of their rivals when it comes to recruiting new talent over the course of the campaign, with the majority of their squad still remaining from their Championship winning season a couple of years ago.
Newcastle may not compete for top four finishes or league titles anymore but they're still without a doubt one of the biggest clubs in English football, which is mainly what attracted Rafa Benitez to the job. The Spaniard replaced Steve McClaren in March 2016 with the club staring an inevitable relegation firmly in the face.
The Magpies were unfortunately sucked into the second tier but responded magnificently, winning the title and going onto consolidate themselves in the Premier League in each of the next two seasons. Rafa has been right at the very forefront of everything positive up in the north east, with him getting a huge amount from a squad that's desperate for investment.
What he's achieved with the Magpies has made him something of a cult hero, with him certainly the most popular Newcastle manager since the late, great Sir Bobby Robson. And if the club wishes to progress and push on it's absolutely imperative that they retain his services and as time goes on, it looks increasingly unlikely.
His differences with controversial owner Mike Ashley have been well documented and the fans have certainly voiced who they favour in this battle. Benitez has made it clear to the board what he wants in order to stay in the north east but after three years of disagreements between both parties - we can see him moving on when his contract ends on 30th June.
It seems truly bizarre that the club won't get behind a manager who's regarded as one of the best in the world. What Benitez has achieved throughout his career is mightily impressive and quite frankly, there aren't many adequate replacements who could come in and make Newcastle a better side. This is a big few weeks coming up for the football club as a whole and it's vital they get this right.