What is next for Newcastle United if, as looks increasingly likely, we are relegated this season?
My predictions have little credibility to them but I thought it was worth pondering.
Personally speaking, I enjoyed the last time there were Championship matches at St James Park.
It was refreshing to play different teams, avoid the rescheduled televised kick offs and develop upcoming players like Andy Carroll. It didn’t do any harm to actually win matches either.
It is easy to see some elements of history repeat itself from 2010: a dramatic slashing of the wage budget, an exciting new striker getting their shot in the first team (this time Adam Armstrong) and possibly a speedy promotion.
The experience of Hull this season suggests that far less talented sides can bounce back from the drop and, with parachute payments of about £100 million across a few seasons, demoted clubs should be more comfortable than ever in lesser surroundings.
Nor would I be sorry to see the back of Steve McClaren which surely, surely has to happen if he takes NUFC down. Mind you, there aren’t too many promising replacements. The very best that could be hoped for – and this really would be something of a coup in the circumstances – is to pinch Sean Dyche from Burnley.
Then again, things could get even worse. For every quick recovery from relegation there is a team like Cardiff, Middlesbrough or Bolton. Obviously, none of those teams can attract close to the attendances Newcastle has historically had in the second tier.
Even so, it is hard to predict when a club will implode and we are no stranger to that feeling. It is not nice to imagine a situation of a long exile from the few undeniable attractions of the Premier League.
Losing 0-3 at home to MK Dons? I don’t fancy that at all. Having to watch Channel Five for highlights is bad enough.
With maybe half a dozen exceptions, our current starting line up is already pretty average Championship material. Players that are likely to stick around and do admittedly fairly well at that level would be Dummett, Haidara, Elliot and possibly Gouffran.
If Newcastle United shock us and avoid the bottom three, there is a clear idea of what will happen next year…another 12 months of the same rubbish.
Relegation for Newcastle United, however, opens the door to all kinds of mysteries that are up for speculation. Let’s just hope we don’t end up there as long as Middlesbrough.
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