Why it'll be a quick-fire return to the top for Newcastle United
This is not a new situation for Newcastle United.
After being relegated in the 2008/2009 Premier League season, the Magpies found themselves in the Championship for the 2009/10 season. Rather ironically it was their great talisman of years gone by, Alan Shearer, that was at the helm when Newcastle were relegated from the top flight.
However, despite such a great club making the drop that many fans and pundits felt was a shambles given the club’s infrastructure, the response to the turmoil was truly emphatic.
With Chris Hughton in charge, the black and whites sailed back into the Premier League, lifting the Championship title with a clear 11 point margin, only being beaten four times all season.
The following year, the 2010/11 Premier League season. Newcastle went on to finish a credible 12th place in the Premier League, enjoying a far better season than that of two years ago.
Do you catch my drift?
Newcastle may be embarrassed, disappointed and discontented that they are back in the Championship following a disastrous campaign with Steve McLaren at the helm last term on the back of a severe fight for survival with John Carver after Alan Pardew’s departure, but it may not be such a bad thing at all.
After 17 games this season in the Sky Bet Championship, Newcastle are three points clear at the summit with 40 points, taking 13 wins, one draw and three defeats. There is still a long way to go, but there is belief, optimism and a whole heap of hope that the club can go all the way.
A club of their size should probably not be in the second tier of English football, but every once in a while teams go through a blip, just like Newcastle themselves did seven years ago, and they need a change of scenery to get back to their best.
The Magpies were really rocked by Alan Pardew’s exit to Crystal Palace in early 2015. John Carver was ultimately out of his depth and was incredibly lucky to escape relegation, as he couldn’t save the sinking ship. And let’s face it, Steve McLaren was an embarrassment.
But the signs of recovery are strong: none other than Rafa Benitez is in charge of the Magpies at the moment, having been sacked from Real Madrid and joining Newcastle a little too late last season.
The Spaniard’s experience is invaluable, and his tactical brain is producing results on the pitch. It has been a while since the club have been able to go out and enjoy themselves, experience that winning feeling.
And the confidence being able to win a run of games must not be underestimated. It boosts morale, increases confidence and produces results. And this could serve Newcastle in great stead should they get promoted this season. And I think they will. Really they should.
Since last season’s relegation, the squad has been revamped a little, with some new players being brought in and unsettled characters such as Moussa Sissoko and Tim Krul moving on.
Dwight Gayle has arguably been the best acquisition. The Englishman has netted 13 times in the league this season while fellow strikers Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic remain alternative options. Matt Ritchie has been brought in from Bournemouth, while Jonjo Shelvey has proved to be an asset for the Magpies in 2016/17.
Mohamed Diame is another new recruit, and provides both pace and power, proving a fine replacement for Andros Townsend. Meanwhile, Ciaran Clark has been brought in from Aston Villa and provides defensive versatility, with American right-back De Andre Yedlin also joining the fold.
All in all, the omens look good for Newcastle. Last time they were in the Championship they took it by storm and obtained instant promotion. I expect it’ll be tougher this time around, but the Championship and at the very least the play-offs will and should be the target. And on current form and confidence, they could mount a serious challenge in the Premier League mid-table in 2017/18.
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