If Newcastle can pick up where they left off in the Premier League last term, promotion back to the English topflight this coming season shouldn’t be much of a problem.
An emphatic 5-1 home win over Tottenham on the last day of the campaign concluded what had mostly been a miserable nine months for the Magpies. Played 38, won nine, drawn 10 and lost 19.
It was form that left them two points adrift from safety – though Rafa Benitez’s side can take solace from the fact they finished the season unbeaten in six.
They start life in the Championship away to Fulham tomorrow and are 3/5 with Marathonbet to secure promotion back to the Premier League.
Marathonbet spoke to Toon super-fan Andy Macfarlane, of nufcblog.co.uk, for his thoughts on all things Newcastle.
“It’s a distant memory for me, banished to the back of my mind never to be retrieved from the dusty filing cabinet that I have stored somewhere in the recesses of my brain. Onwards and upwards I say, although it is pretty tough being a Newcastle fan at times. Seeing Sunderland and Middlesbrough in the top flight pains me but now is the time for us to get it right. It’s been ten years now of disappointment and I really don’t know how much more I can take.”
“I have a feeling of optimism this year. A season in the Championship could well be just the tonic we need to wake up and refresh ourselves ready for the Premier League again. Of course it is no given that we will bounce straight back up and although I confess to some nerves this year I am confident that promotion is on the cards.
“Benitez staying is a real boost as he really is a class act (you don’t win the Champions League and Uefa Cup if you don’t know what you’re doing) and I think the addition of Jesus Gamez from Atletico could be a complete masterstroke despite Wijnaldum jumping ship.”
Thoughts for the Fulham game?
“We’ve got Fulham on Friday but I feel pretty confident we will pick up three points against them especially as they have lost Ross McCormack to Villa (He would have been a great addition to us but £12 million does seem a bit steep).
“All I do know is I will be fully behind the lads this season. We have been here before and that can only be a positive for us although I just hope it is the last time we find ourselves in this position.
“Despite everything I feel positive about the future, last season is gone, it’s time to start a new chapter. Up the Toon!”
Newcastle first five games: Fulham (A), Huddersfield (H), Reading (H), Bristol City (A), Brighton (H)
Players In: Jesus Gamez (Atletico Madrid, undisclosed), Dwight Gayle (Crystal Palace, £10m), Grant Hanley (Blackburn Rovers, undisclosed), Isaac Hayden (Arsenal, undisclosed), Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth, £10m), Matz Seis (AA Gent Bel, £5.5m)
Players Out: Medhi Abeid (Panathinaikos, undisclosed), Shola Ameobi (released), Fabricio Coloccini (San Lorenzo, cancelled contract), Seydou Doumbia (released), Shane Ferguson (Millwall, undisclosed), Gabriel Obertan (released), Steven Taylor (released), Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace, £13m), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool, £24m), Remy Cabella (Marseille, £6m)