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Wijnaldum, Sissoko, Townsend and Janmaat deserting – When Newcastle lost their quality…

4 years ago

Take this as a compliment.

Newcastle United and their supporters, will get far more coverage if ending up second in the league rather than champions on Sunday night.

It would nicely round off a season where the twisted media logic has been reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984…and no he wasn’t writing about Kevin Keegan leading us to promotion as a player.

Pre-season it was all about how the Championship was such a tough league to get out of and that with star rats such as Gini Wijnaldum, Moussa Sissoko, Andros Townsend and Daryl Janmaat deserting the ship, Newcastle had lost any quality they had possessed in the Premier League.

Most damning of all was that Newcastle had a Manager who would struggle due to lack of knowledge of the English second tier, despite a CV that included winning the Champions League, Europa League, La Liga, and promotion from the Spanish second tier, twice.

Defeats to Fulham and Huddersfield meant that the media was positively glowing with their predictions of struggle coming true, with it being a case of how long before Rafa Benitez would be walking/sacked, rather than what date bouncing back to the Premier League would be confirmed.

With 13 wins and only one defeat in the next 15 games, each successive victory further silenced the media. So much so that by the time December was reached, they didn’t really want to discuss Newcastle United much at all.

The next five months have produced plenty of ups and downs until Rafa steadied the ship and Newcastle glided back to the Premier League with something to spare.

Victory over Barnsley on Sunday would see Newcastle finish the season on 94 points, yet still be only runners-up if Brighton also win at Villa.

If that happens, then perversely the story will be more about how Newcastle failed to get more than 94 points, rather than how well Brighton have done to get 95.

If the two clubs win their final games then they are both guaranteed to be at least nine (Newcastle) and 10 (Brighton) points clear of the rest, potentially up to 12 and 13 points clear.

Surely the story, regardless of final day results, should be all about how two clubs proved significantly better than the rest of the competition.

Both Chris Hughton and Rafa Benitez had numerous obstacles to overcome in their quest to be automatically promoted.

Any press overviews post-season should only be positive about what the two have achieved but if this is how it plays out, far more will be written about how Rafa Benitez didn’t come out on top, than Chris Hughton achieving that.


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