Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United currently have 91 points after 45 matches, a shade better than two points per game on average.
Chris Hughton and Brighton have 92 points at the minute and because of that, some/many people are trying to claim that Newcastle’s season is embarrassing…
What about this scenario…imagine you turn up at the Olympics as the hot favourite in the 100m and you do pretty much everything right but on the day, somebody lifts themselves well above anything they have done before and just shades the gold medal.
Yes you might be disappointed/gutted but you had done your best and it was just one of those things, somebody had improved leaps and bounds and just got ahead of you. It wouldn’t equal being a failure!
Back to Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United.
They have been promoted weeks ahead of schedule and are nine points clear of the closest chasing team, with only three points to play for.
In anybody’s book that should equal success but it gets even better when you then also take into account the whole picture.
In the past 10 years, only three Championship clubs have accumulated more points in an entire season than Newcastle United’s current 91 points total.
Those three clubs are Burnley (2 x 93), Leicester (102), and…Newcastle United (102).
Leicester finished top with 102 points in 2013/14, Burnley finished second to them that season with 93 points, as well as getting the same total in 2015/16 when they ended up top themselves. Newcastle of course got 102 points in 2009/10.
If Rafa Benitez leads his team to victory over Barnsley, then only Leicester and Newcastle themselves., will have got more than Newcastle’s 94 points since 2006. A small correction, possibly Brighton will! If they beat Villa tomorrow they will end as champions on 95 points.
This Newcastle points total is very good already and it is only Brighton’s performance that has given our enemies some ammunition that is basically the equivalent of firing blanks.
To put it into perspective, if Newcastle win on Sunday and Brighton fail to do so, only 2014 vintage Leicester and 2010 Newcastle United, will have bettered Rafa’s NUFC points total.
The bulk of Chris Hughton’s 2009/10 promotion team finished fifth in the Premier League only two years after promotion.
The bulk of the 2013/14 Leicester promotion team won the Premier League two years later.
In 2005/06 Reading finished top of the Championship with 106 points, then in their first season up they ended up eighth in the Premier League.
It isn’t a case of counting chickens but both Brighton AND Newcastle have posted outstanding points totals whilst getting promoted and the last decade and beyond suggests that if you get these higher totals, you are well set for the step up.
I think one of the best bets of all will be backing Brighton to stay up, you heard it here first!
Due to them not being a big name club they will be more fancied than say Newcastle to struggle BUT they have a very ambitious owner and a core of very good players, such as Stockdale, Knockaert, Duffy, Dunk and Murray, and Brighton will spend next season’s Premier League money on adding half a dozen players to that.
I think that like Newcastle United, they are knocking bets to stay up and both clubs potentially capable of much better…
Championship winners in past 10 years with points totals:
88 Sunderland 2006/07
81 West Brom 2007/08
90 Wolves 2008/09
102 Newcastle 2009/10
88 QPR 2010/11
89 Reading 2011/12
87 Cardiff 2012/13
102 Leicester 2013/14 (second placed Burnley got 93 points)
90 Bournemouth 2014/15
93 Burnley 2015/16