It is impossible not to compare and contrast this season with the last one when Newcastle United found themselves in the Championship.

Seven years ago Chris Hughton was given a caretaker manager’s role almost as an afterthought, numerous players were sold or didn’t have contracts renewed, whilst he wasn’t given a penny to spend in the transfer market in summer 2009.

This time around, with the riches on offer in the Premier League and desperate to get back there to push his retail empire, Mike Ashley had no other option but to accede to Rafa Benitez’ demands and allow him total control of transfer and the use of significant transfer funds that were generated by this summer’s sales.

Chris Hughton of course performed miracles and Newcastle ended with a points total of 102, some 11 clear of second placed West Brom.

So just how are Rafa’s boys performing at this point compared to where Newcastle were at, at this stage, during the 2009/10 season?

This time Newcastle went into the 14th match of the season against Ipswich on 28 points, having won 9, drawn 1 and lost 3.

In 2009/10, the first 13 games gave 7 wins, 3 draws and 3 defeats, with 24 points from a possible 42.

So Rafa Benitez went into yesterday four points ahead of that Chris Hughton season – but just look at what happened next, seven years ago.

Hughton had started with a draw and five wins, before a seven game run which included three away defeats and two poor draws.

However, the 14th game of the season proved pivotal, as Newcastle went a goal down at home to Doncaster, had a player sent off, conceded a penalty that was missed, yet still came back to win with a goal from Carroll and a dramatic 92nd minute winner from Kevin Nolan, curling it in from outside the box.

That action was witnessed by 43,849 at St James Park but none of them could have expected what happened next.

From those humble beginnings, including that win over Doncaster, Newcastle only lost one more match all season, a surprise 3-0 defeat at Derby County only four days after smashing Cardiff 5-1 at home.

In the final 33 matches of that 2009/10 promotion season, Newcastle picked up a remarkable 78 out of 99 possible points, winning 23, drawing 9 and losing only the 1.

Obviously we would all settle for promotion in any circumstances but it would give a very nice extra edge to it if Newcastle could repeat that kind of domination seen seven years ago.

The way the momentum is building at the minute, Chris Hughton’s total of 102 points and 90 goals is hopefully in real danger from Rafa’s boys.

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