While Rafa isn’t or shouldn’t be immune to criticism, he should get a free pass this season regardless of what happens. Had he left us after the Spurs game, the club would have imploded and there would have been no promotion, only a lifeless club with Ashley still the owner, existing in the Championship or beyond as just another former PL club like so many.

Thanks to Rafa, however, we are now a Premier League club having stayed on to take us back up which he achieved at the first time of asking, as Champions. Here was a CL winner, one of the best coaches in the world, staying at a Championship club that he owed nothing to. A club that was badly broken after a decade of total mismanagement and neglect on and off the pitch.

He stayed because he loves the club and us fans, he wanted to help us in the way KK did when he returned from his Spanish exile to help us avoid relegation to the the then 3rd tier of English football.

And boy has he helped us...

We are now on the verge of being taken over which Rafa has been massively instrumental in helping achieve. And that’s before you get into what he has done behind the scenes in uniting the fans, reconnecting the fans to the players, working with the community and building bridges between the media and the club and City itself from the local council to local businesses, all of who, wanted nowt to do with the club and rightly so because it was toxic to everything and everyone.

Yes we are not playing well and yes our run of form isn’t good enough, but he is no Pardew, McClaren or Carver. This isn’t some kind of regular run for him, in fact it’s a first for him. Everything he has done for our club, it’s us who owe him so much and as fans the least we can give him is our 100% support and backing.

If we go down, Rafa will have to share some of the blame, but he won’t get any stick from me because if we do go down, it won’t be because he’s a crap manager like Pardew or because he’s negative or dumb when it comes to tactics or anything like that. It will be because once again the owner will have gambled on the one thing he loves more than anything - cheap tat which is basically what our squad is full of.

He thought because he had Rafa we would stay up on the cheap and has once again gambled with the club’s fortunes by being a tight b****** just like he had been last January when he failed to back Rafa to really cement our position at the top and guaranteed promotion. Because he thought in his wisdom we were already up.

The players Rafa wanted in January were for the PL and the players he wanted in the summer were to help establish us back in the top-flight. He wasn't backed, however, and lo and behold a Championship team is struggling in a league of Premier League teams. Who would have guesssed...

If we do gown and I now think it’s a real,possibility even with a takeover and some spending in January (damage done/little too late) I won’t be thinking any less of Rafa as a manager or as NUFC manager. As a man, well, he’s a modern day saint in an industry full of rouges, cowards, charlatans and down right scumbags. We should know, we’ve employed enough of them in the boardroom, dugout and on the pitch...

For me, he is the man and my Christmas wish for all of us is that he can keep us up and once the takeover happens, be allowed to rebuild the club as he sees fit because if he is backed fully, there is no limit to what we can achieve with Rafa. His CV alone speaks for that, then add in the kind of man he is and the love and ambition and more important the belief he has for our club and well, that’s a recipe for success in my book.

Remember when we were relegated? One man believed in the club enough to put his hard earned and well deserved reputation on the line to help us when no-one else would have, no one. I get the criticism of our football, team lineups, substitutions, player purchases etc. because I’ve been critical, but I will never get any notion of wanting to replace the man even if by March we were rooted to the bottom of the table.

He joined a sinking ship and is currently trying to keep that ship afloat with plaster bands while the fat owner pokes more holes into it, if it goes down, we go down with him, not against him.

Estamos Unidos!

Photo: nufcblog.co.uk