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

  • Steve Smith

    I disagree on brighton staying up for the reason you think they will. They have quality players. Quality players tend to get poached by bigger clubs.

    If they lose 2 or 3 of their first team I can see them really struggling. A few clubs are allegedly sniffing around Stockdale and even we were apparently close to knockhaert before. I wouldn’t be surprised to see us go in for him again.

    • Jezza

      We’ve missed our chance with Knockaert. We should have pushed the boat out and got him last summer. He’ll be going to a top ten Premiership club now.

      • Steve Smith

        I’m inclined to agree.

        It has just occurred to me that where Brighton have a handful of players being linked with other premier league clubs, this has to be the first time for longer than I can remember where we don’t have a single player being linked to leave us.

        Makes Rafa’s work this season that much better in my eyes.

        He’s either:
        1) Turned the club right around and managed the squad so well after all the damage over the past 10 years that there is no discontent or players wanting to leave, or;

        2) Managed promotion without a single player of note to a premier league side in our squad.

        • Danimal

          Good manager. I remember him staying calm and smiling after the two opening defeats. I think 2009-10 was remarkable for the number of times we reinvented ourselves to cope with adversity (Ameobi goals then injury, Carroll goals later, Nile bloody Ranger, Van Anholt for Enrique, Harewood, Fabrice Pancrate, One Size Fitz Hall etc). But this season much the same. Gayle nailed on for 30+ goals but rarely seen after new year. Shelvey, the only player with no obvious replacement, out for five games. More recently the entire spine missing (Clark, Colback/Hayden, Gayle) all at the same time. Boss stayed calm and we walked it.

        • Jezza

          I agree 100%. The current Newcastle squad is probably the weakest one we’ve had since the early 90’s. Rafa has performed a miracle to achieve promotion with this squad and it goes without saying that we need substantial reinforcements in the summer if we are to avoid coming straight back down.

    • Geordiegiants

      I have to say Knockheart is an excellent player, Jabba made a big mistake not pushing the boat out for him, we would of walked it with him in our team and Brighton not. He is going to be a very good prem player.

  • SH.ER

    Even me, one of the positive guys here will just say stop fooling us
    Points total doesn’t matter
    It’s an absolute sh*t league my friend
    Have you seen the standards & the way teams play, It just make me puke when i compare to how Premier League clubs play football
    Route one, too much aggression, rarely saw a team get effective 5 or 6 passes together in the opposition half INCLUDING us , just a pathetic focus on long [email protected] & aerial battles & poor standards, I watched a few Championship games this season spending most of the time shaking my head right and left
    Fulham have been impressive with their passing style, they look like Man City when they pass it at this level & we saw what they did to us at SJP
    If they did it in the EPL they will be a good team, mark my words
    We got the job done , but i think we should thank the other clubs about how bad they are
    ( Hoping badly badly badly we get like 7 or 8 Prem quality this summer )

    • Wor Lass

      You need a holiday, m8!

    • Grahame Johnson

      Fulham are 6th but would be a good team in premier league, alas it just proves good premier league quality championship teams get stuck in the championship and some fade

  • Toon Army AZ

    Don’t forget that Brighton accumulated 92 points despite losing twice to Newcastle. Speaks to the fact that both Brighton and Newcastle have performed at a level not typically seen in the Championship.