One year on, and Newcastle United are back in the Premier League. One season in the Coca Cola Championship saw Chris Hughton’s men pick up a record 102 points, and make a dramatic return to the top division.
The days of visiting Glanford Park, The Riverside and Portman Road are gone for a year at least, and if we’re lucky, we might never take the plunge into the lower ebbs of English Football again. Being realistic though, there’s every chance we could get relegated this season, however, every Newcastle United fan is quietly confident yet cautious because we know we’re in for a tough year of it.
I know most other fans think that the majority of the Toon Army’s followers are slightly deluded and not in touch with the actually goings on at St.James’ Park, but as a fan all my life, I can tell you that they’re only a small small majority.
Ever Newcastle United fans knows what we have to do this season, and every sane Newcastle fan you’d ask, would take 17th in a heartbeat. Being honest, we couldn’t have a harder start – an away trip to a hungry Manchester United side that will no doubt be looking to catch up on Chelsea already impressive +6 goal difference. I think it’s fair to say all expecting a hammering from Sir Alex Ferguson’s side but me being me, optimistic Kevin, I think we could nab a point, or at the very least keep the scoreline respectable.
Followed by the trip to Old Trafford which we happen to have Andy Carroll, Leon Best, Steven Taylor and Danny Simpson all absent for, Aston Villa will visit St. James’ Park for our first home game of the season. Three points are a possibility in that game if we play like we can, although Aston Villa’s performance yesterday would put some doubt into a Geordie’s mind.
After Villa visit St. James’, Blackpool, Stoke and Wigan will all make the trip to Newcastle Upon-Tyne, and I think there’s a good chance we can get seven points from those games at the very least. We always have a good record against Wigan at home, and I think away form will be Ian Holloway’s main concern, as for Stoke, well it could go either way being perfectly frank.
So what can we expect for Newcastle United this season?
At the very least, we want committed performances from each and every individual. The years previous to our relegation, we had players wearing the Black and White of Newcastle United that were there to collect pay-checks, bonuses and entertain a nice crowd of 52,000 in the process.
Those days are long gone, and even though we still have players at the club on far too much, Fabricio Coloccini, Shola Ameobi, Kevin Nolan to name but a few, at least they had the honesty to admit they weren’t good enough last year, and brought us back to the Premier League.
I can’t see Chris Hughton being sacked or leaving even if things really hit the rocks regards our season, and Hughton will demand that each player goes out and gives their 100% for the club and for it’s brilliant fans.
The big question that fans have, and that I’ve been asked so many times is whether we actually have a good enough squad to survive in the Premier League. In a word – Yes. However, let’s not carried away, there’s so many players at the club that aren’t fit for this standard of football yet and indeed some who’s best days are behind them.
We can survive the Premier League, and we can pick up three points at a lot of games. For me, Blackpool must be a 6 pointer, it has to be, same for West Brom. You might think after their comprehensive four nil win over Wigan that they’ll be a tough nut to crack – they will, but we can do it.
Add to that list Wigan, three points at home is very possible and if we can break our duck away from home at the DW Stadium, then we’ll be doing fine. There a lot worse sides that us in this league, but we must battle to stay up. If we do manage to stay up, it’s been a huge success, both financially and for manager Chris Hughton.
Our signings so far have been interesting to say the least.
- James Perch (£1m) – Looks like a lad who has plenty of ability, but had the potential to capsize against more commanding forwards. Only time will tell how the 24 year-old will far, but his versatility is a key asset to the squad this season.
- Dan Gosling (Free) – He won’t play until early January, but well done Chris Hughton. A major coup if I may say so myself. A very talented midfielder who had great ability, and a very good positional sense. Should be good to watch, but will need some match practice before we can see the lad strut his stuff.
- Sol Campbell (Free) – Another interesting signing from Hughton. an experienced center-back who when fit, can be a very good defender indeed. He had experience in all departments, internationally, Champions League etc. I’d imagine he’ll feature more than most expect, and he rejected Sunderland to join Newcastle United so it’s all good!
- Likely signing:
Hatem Ben Arfa (Loan) – Has gone on strike in order to force a move to Newcastle. Very very talented player, and would be a coup to get him to St.James’. Could be the difference between us scoring goals, and scoring enough to keep our heads above water. Not saying he’ll be hitting the net every Saturday afternoon, but he’ll have a large part to play in any goals we do score – providing he arrives. For me, his arrival is imminent.
Victor Anichebe? Whether the Everton striker would play in the same team as Kevin Nolan after ‘that incident’ two seasons ago, remains to be seen. There will be developments, and rumours for sure.
Player To Watch: Danny Guthrie
Prediction for Manchester United v Newcastle United: 3-0 to Manchester United
Howay The Lads!
The author of this article, Kevin Doocey, writes for TyneTime.com.