The Newcastle United fans behind the infamous SackPardew.com protests against ex-Magpies boss Alan Pardew still feel they were right campaigning for a dismissal, even though the club has been in an even worse situation since he resigned just under 18 months ago.
When Pardew left, Newcastle sank like a stone and narrowly avoided relegation on the final day of last season. They're seriously up against it again in 2015/16, while onlookers have hailed Pardew since he took over at Crystal Palace.
However, in an anonymous interview with the Newcastle Chronicle, the orchestrators of the protests, have explained there's more to it and remain firm in their anti-Pardew stance.
"We stand by every decision we made and we feel that it was a success, because although the club have since said that they had no plans to sack him, we don't believe that he'd have left to go to Palace without a message from the supporters that he was no longer welcome here," they said.
"Since Christmas, only one club in English professional football (Aston Villa) have a worse record than Crystal Palace, who have won 1 of their last 18 league games. Justified? 100%."
The protesters still blame Pardew for accelerating "a culture of accepted failure" at St James' Park and also point the finger at a "strive for mediocrity at the behest of the owner", referring to a total disregard for domestic cups.
"One thing we were often told by our critics was that nobody better than Alan Pardew would ever take the Newcastle job. That particular point has certainly been put to bed (by Rafa Benitez's arrival)," they added.
The fans feel that Benitez could have made all the difference had the decision to appoint him and sack Steve McClaren been made sooner, and have full faith that the Spaniard's presence can only be good for the club.
"One thing that is not in doubt to any of us is the calibre of that manager. Rafa Benitez is a man not just of winning pedigree, but also of total dignity, professionalism and class," they said.
"He has a history of standing side-by-side with fans against unscrupulous owners during his time at Liverpool, and he offers something that has not been seen at Newcastle United for several years: hope."
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