Newcastle are allegedly in one of the toughest leagues in the world, the Championship acting like quicksand with its supposedly ever clinging competitiveness – trapping unsuspecting relegated clubs.
After these past 53 days though, I am beginning to think that whilst yes there are a lot of games to get through in a Championship season, pretty much all of the teams are rubbish.
In all four of the games Newcastle have not managed to win, I have to say that looking back, on all four occasions it was the failings of NUFC that led to the results, a lot more so than anything the opposition did.
So on the charge of the Championship being rubbish really, I prevent my first exhibit, Reading FC.
On Wednesday 17 August, Newcastle played Reading at St James Park.
Off the back of morale sapping defeats against QPR and Huddersfield, Newcastle at last got themselves into some kind of shape and comfortably beat Reading 4-1, without really hitting any kind of form.
Having realised that just doing the basics quite well would be more than enough to beat pretty much any team in the second tier, that victory over Reading proved to be the start of a six match (all competitions) winning run, only coming to an end when they didn’t turn up against Wolves.
However, what about Reading who looked so desperate at St James Park, even though Jaap Stam bizarrely claimed that they had actually deserved to beat Newcastle…
Well, these are their results since losing 4-1 to Newcastle:
Reading 2 Brighton 2
Reading 2 MK Dons 2 (Reading win on penalties – EFL Cup)
Cardiff 0 Reading 1
Reading 2 Ipswich 1
Reading 0 Birmingham 0
Barnsley 1 Reading 2
Brighton 1 Reading 2 (EFL Cup)
Reading 1 Huddersfield 0
In the eight matches, Reading have won six, drawn two and lost none.
What is more, in these games they have played every other team in the Championship top seven with the exception of leaders Norwich (as well as Newcastle and of course themselves – Reading are now 4th) – Huddersfield (2nd) Brighton (3rd) Birmingham (6th) (Barnsley 7th).
Reading actually lost their rising star in the summer for £5m, Tshibola snapped up by Aston Villa and of course scoring that equaliser on Saturday.
As well as a handful of free transfers, Reading only splashed out around £3m in the summer and their star signing was £1.5m left-back Tyler Blackett from Manchester United reserves.
Money isn’t everything but we are talking about Jaap Stam pulling together a load of free transfers and players for nominal fees, then adding them to a team that had finished 17th and 19th the previous two seasons.
Newcastle United do really just need to wake up and yes, you still have to treat any opposition with respect, but along with Norwich City we really should be steamrollering this collection of average Championship clubs.