Yesterday we asked the question – ‘With no new signings, where would this Newcastle team finish in the Premier League next season?’
With only 34 days to go until the end of the season, it is not surprising that supporters are beginning to think ‘What will happen if/when…’
Obviously it would be very bizarre if Newcastle bought nobody in the summer if heading into the Premier League, although of course Mike Ashley did do that back in the 2013/14 season, not a single senior player bought in summer 2013 or January 2014.
That was of course with the owner’s patsies doing as they were told, Director of Football Joe Kinnear and Manager Alan Pardew standing by as the owner’s actions in refusing to sanction any transfers damaged the squad in the short and longer-term.
Very difficult to see Rafa Benitez accepting that kind of stupidity and he would surely walk if Ashley did that again.
However, how do Newcastle fans think this current team/squad would do in the top tier if it wasn’t strengthened?
Thanks to the thousands of Newcastle fans who took the time to vote, we have an answer in terms of what many supporters believe.
Leaving aside the near 2% of jokers who selected Premier League winners 2017/18, the voting gives a very clear picture.
There were 33% of Newcastle fans who put Newcastle down for relegation in the bottom three, then if you include 16% marking 17th, you have roughly half (49%) thinking that it would be definite relegation or a very close shave.
Extending that to bottom six and you have a massive 77%, over three quarters, of fans predicting 15th or lower.
With 22% forecasting a relatively comfortable season of finishing somewhere between 8th and 14th with this current squad.
I think the mood has definitely changed as the season progressed.
After getting the opening two games/defeats out of the way, Newcastle went on winning runs of five and eight games, impressively racking up 13 wins and only one defeat in a period which ended with a home defeat to Blackburn at the end of November.
The results and football on show, had many Newcastle supporters fancying cup matches against decent Premier League teams, to gauge just how good this Rafa Benitez team was.
The last 17 matches have seen a more realistic view, with eight wins, five draws and four defeats.
Maybe even more than the results though, the level of football and/or dominance has never really reached the levels we saw in the Autumn.
That doesn’t of course mean this Newcastle team/squad aren’t good enough to go up, rather than if they intend to stay up and prosper if promoted, Newcastle fans are seeing an increasing level of team/squad strengthening needed to ensure it won’t be a struggle/disaster.
In that 17 game run into the Autumn, it also saw Newcastle scoring 35 goals and conceding only 10, as the team threatened to run away with the Championship title.
Hopefully Mike Ashley has realised the limitations of this squad as well – ideal to get Newcastle promoted but then Rafa Benitez needing to be properly backed in the summer if/when promoted.
‘With no news signings, where would this Newcastle team finish in the Premier League next season?’