Last time Newcastle were in the Championship it started with a 1-1 against West Brom (Damien Duff scoring before jumping ship..) and we kicked on from there.

This was set to a backdrop of a feeble pre-season where Newcastle managed a 0-0 draw at home to Leeds and 1-1 at Dundee United, though the real wake up call was a shocker of a 6-1 defeat at Leyton Orient!

It took a core group of players to come together and get the team on track.

Even then we were still prone to the odd nightmare, such as defeats at Scunthorpe and Blackpool, plus bad days at the office in the cups – beaten 2-0 at Peterborough and 4-2 against West Brom (we couldn’t beat them at home in the Championship either, drawing 2-2 – though they did finish runners-up by some distance, 12 points ahead of third).

However, this season we are now playing with authority, zipping the ball around, whilst changing teams and formation so the opposition can’t figure us out.

Vurnon Anita has found his place in the team, which is frankly amazing after looking like a lightweight for much of his Toon career. He looks more solid than Janmatt when defending and links up better going forward, playing passes both sideways and up the line.

Apart from Carver’s reign as best manager in the world, you could easily guess the team depending on who was fit, you know…barring sick leave/holidays in Argentina.

You can bet it was the same for opposition managers, under Pardew they figured out 4-3-3 and to pressure Tiote into giving up possession.

Under McFraud, you just had to put out a football team and three points were yours!

It’s great  now as you can’t guess who is in the team or the formation.

If you play below par, you bet Rafa isn’t going to play you (what a break from previous times!).

One thing is for sure though, we will go out to try and win.

Long live the Rafaultion, Howay the lads!