I know that the only show in Toon is for ourselves to get back into the Premier League…but you can’t help keeping an eye on what else is going on around us.
It is looking increasingly likely/possible, that three Newcastle Managers could be ascending to the top tier in May.
Rafa Benitez and (former Newcastle boss) Chris Hughton have stretched nine and eight points clear of third place this week (see below), with massive superiority in terms of goal difference meaning realistically it is also worth an extra point to both.
However, last night saw the bookies make yet another one-time Newcastle Manager clear third favourite to go up this season.
Steve McClaren engineered a seventh straight win on Wednesday night, meaning he has taken a remarkable 25 points from a possible 30 since returning to Derby County.
Bearing in mind that picked up only 10 points from the 11 matches pre-McClaren.
Having watched the shambles he oversaw at Newcastle, it is bewildering the job he is dong now. Though as it showed when Newcastle faced the fourth placed Birmingham, this league isn’t the greatest, with Brighton and Newcastle a different class to the rest, with now potentially Derby County creeping up as outside contenders for automatic promotion.
Derby County have risen to be now only two points off taking third in the table, though still 10 and 11 points off Brighton and Newcastle respectively.
I’m pretty confident that there is hardly a Newcastle fan out there who doesn’t wish Chris Hughton well and would like Brighton to take the other automatic spot, just so long as United went up as well.
How though do Newcastle fans feel about Steve McClaren?
I can’t say I really dislike him, unlike say Pardew or JFK, though I do hate the fact that he was prepared to take the Newcastle job knowing that the ridiculous conditions (no say on transfers etc) meant it was almost certainly doomed to failure.
I think he was more of a well meaning clown at Newcastle, who took the job for all the wrong reasons. I don’t really have any opinion on most/all of the other 23 clubs, apart from the respect for Hughton.
So, I do kind of hope Derby stay around but don’t get too close, the idea of three Newcastle Managers: Rafa, Chris Hughton and Steve McClaren all getting promotion together, is an interesting one. The Championship is littered with teams in the past who went on unexpected runs of form/wins to get promoted, so maybe Tufty can add his name to that list.
Current Championship table after 21 matches:
46 Newcastle (GD +27)
45 Brighton (+20)
37 Reading (0)
36 Huddersfield (-1)
35 Derby (+8)
35 Leeds (+3)