Lee Clark stresses Rafa Benitez can't get a head start


"What you've got to do even before the season finishes is begin to plan for the future. Because ultimately when you come to the transfer market, most of the other clubs are in for the same players that you are in for. You can't really hide the players that you are after and you need to try and get a little bit of a head-start.

"For Rafa Benitez and Newcastle, it has got to be sorted one way or another. You can't go into the summer months where you don't know if the manager is staying or not. Not only transfers, but there is also pre-season that needs to be planned, you need to decide on the players that you want to let go and the ones you want to keep, such as Salomon Rondon. If there's no manager in place there is no direction for these decisions.

"I've worked in environments as a manager that haven't been particularly stable. During my six months at Blackpool there was strong resistance from the ownership, and I also had a situation when I was at Birmingham City where the owner Carson Yeung was put under house arrest. It's not great, let me tell you. It's difficult to keep those type of situations away from the players and let them concentrate on the playing side.

"It's an uncertain period for Newcastle but I hope it works out for all parties involved. The manager has proven that he is world-class and I hope he can stay on."

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