A lot of debate about this promotion run-in amongst Newcastle fans.
Whilst you get the odd supporter who doesn’t believe Newcastle United will get over the finishing line, they are few and far behind.
So why is there such an ongoing debate between those who currently think the glass half full and those who see it as half empty?
I think that a lot of Newcastle fans, either consciously or subconsciously, are waiting for Newcastle to show a statement of intent for next season.
There is obviously still a job to finish in the Championship but supporters are looking for encouragement/class/momentum that can carry through into the Premier League, if that is where we end up.
At the minute I don’t think there is great confidence there.
Back in 2009/10, Chris Hughton’s team made a real statement of intent when winning 13 of their final sixteen games, drawing three and losing none – scoring an impressive 41 goals in those last 16 matches.
In that run of games it included seven wins in a row that culminated in confirming NUFC as title winners with a victory at Plymouth.
Likewise, in the previous Championship season of 1992/93, Kevin Keegan’s team won seven of their final eight games scoring 23 goals, including a 6-0 win over Barnsley and 7-1 in the final match of the season against Leicester.
As somebody mentioned yesterday, at the minute Newcastle are looking more likely to stagger over the promotion line, rather than swagger.
In one sense it is fair to say that the only thing that is important is that Newcastle United get promotion by whatever means this season.
However, I think that also we need to be realistic and if players don’t start and show they are too good for this level, it is difficult to see them being good enough in the Premier League.
If promoted, the expectation of course is that serious investment will be needed, and made, to strengthen Rafa’s hand, but the more new players that will be needed to be fast tracked into the first team from the transfer market, the tougher it will be for Newcastle to quickly adjust and gel for the top tier.
Injuries are playing a part and yesterday at Birmingham, Rafa was missing what I think are four of his best five players, the ones who could/would successfully form a basis of the team next year, for summer signings to be added to.
Shelvey (ill), Yedlin (injured), Clark (injured) and Gayle (still getting back to full fitness) were all missing from the starting eleven, only Darlow of those better players (in my opinion) in the team yesterday.
So maybe if most/all of them get back in for the run-in, just possibly they can start and relax as promotion gets (hopefully) ever more certain and help the team to take on the look of one that is destined for better times ahead.
If you add Ritchie and the youthful promise of Isaac Hayden (still only 21 and in his first full season of first team football), you then have seven players who can give Rafa Benitez a head start in the summer, plus hopefully a few more prove good enough for the squad.
However, it would be a massive boost if in these remaining eight games, they can give both fans and Rafa a boost when looking towards next season, as well as securing promotion ASAP.
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])