We can’t really claim that this is a football season like no other.
It is only seven years ago when Newcastle United were last relegated, a season full of daft decisions on and off the pitch, chaos throughout the club and countless own goals – a toxic mix that led to arguably the best team ever to be relegated from the Premier League.
It was also the one with the biggest wage bill – which nobody argued against.
It all sounds very familiar as we stare into the abyss but then to be honest, seasons 2012/13 and 2014/15 were little different – the only real difference being that relegation was somehow avoided in each of those two. Though it didn’t happen until the final away match and the very final game of the season, respectively.
This current season has both dragged and flown over, eight and a half months of black and white madness, punctuated by (very) odd moments of light relief.Real hope arrived with 10 matches remaining, though the consensus was that the odds were very much stacked against Rafa Benitez, thanks to the wasted time and matches that had passed since Steve McClaren should have been given his cards.
Three matches now over the course of the next 16 days, to decide whether it will be Burton Albion and Rotherham, or Leicester City and Tottenham.
A very strange feeling now that Rafa Benitez has managed to get a response from the players…optimism that the team can now win games but pessimism that even winning all three remaining matches might not be enough.
Whatever happens, these past seven Premier League campaigns that have seen one relegation, two near misses and one probably in progress, tell us that without doubt this football club must be run in a different way – or else that cycle will just be repeated over and over again.
This time last year, Claudio Ranieri was an out of work football manager whose last match had been a humiliating defeat by the Faroe Islands when in charge of Greece.
Who knows where and how quickly Rafa Benitez could take Newcastle United if given the opportunity and a little luck.