Newcastle United don’t do normal
The last two Championship seasons for Newcastle United were very enjoyable, though nobody was more surprised than Newcastle fans at how comfortably United went up as champions in 1992/93 and 2009/10.
Those two campaigns followed seasons where Newcastle only confirmed they were safe from a drop to the third tier in the final game, then relegated with the most expensively paid and put together team ever.
Newcastle United don’t do normal.
Whilst we quickly found out in both promotion seasons that the Newcastle players were better than most of those they were coming up against, week in week out, none of us could have guessed at just how good many of the players were.
The core of the 1993 vintage went on to finish third in the Premier League only 12 months later, whilst the class of 2010 gave the solid base of the fifth place finish 24 months later.
Nobody pretends it is going to be easy this coming season, or indeed the following one if Newcastle did get back into the Premier League at the first attempt.
However, these past two examples of promotion show that if you do get the basics right in the second tier, that momentum can be carried forward back into the Premier League.
Everybody can take heart at the example of clubs like Southampton and West Ham, quickly establishing themselves at the right end of the Premier League after promotion.
The one that nobody can ignore though is Leicester City, promoted in 2014 and champions in 2016, surely that can never be repeated…
What those clubs have shown is that if you get the right manager (Pochettino, Koeman. Bilic, Ranieri) and the fans buying into the ‘project’, then who knows.
Rafa Benitez can certainly be held in at least the same esteem as those four and with him having the freedom to mould his own team, we can have every confidence that he is putting together a group of players who will be competitive.
Just how competitive we will soon find out but if they can buy into Rafa in the same way the supporters have done, then who knows what could be possible, not just this season but also those that follow.
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