It isn’t exactly breaking news to say that life at Newcastle United under Mike Ashley has been pretty grim.
Two relegations and a few near misses in only eight previous Premier League seasons under this owner, tells its own story.
As for the highs…the fifth place finish with 65 points in 2011/12 stands out a mile.
Aside from that season, Newcastle have never reached 50 points under Mike Ashley in the top tier and once scraped a top half finish.
These are the Premier League finishes during the Mike Ashley era:
43 – 2007/08 – 12th
34 – 2008/09 – 18th
(102 – 2009/10 – 1st in Championship)
46 – 2010/11 – 12th
65 – 2011/12 – 5th
41 – 2012/13 – 16th
49 – 2013/14 – 10th
39 – 2014/15 – 15th
37 – 2015/16 – 18th
(94 – 2016/17 – 1st in Championship)
So how could this Rafa Benitez season measure up?
Newcastle United are currently on 38 points in 10th, after 32 games.
Maintaining 10th would be the equal second best PL position under this current owner.
However, Newcastle have a game in hand (and a better goal difference) on ninth placed Everton who are three points ahead.
As for points, on the current average per game, Newcastle would end this season on 45 points, which would be the fourth highest under Ashley.
The six games remaining are Arsenal (H), Everton (A), West Brom (H), Watford (A), Spurs (A), Chelsea (H).
Newcastle’s last six matches this season have produced 13 points.
Whilst these next set of fixtures are generally against higher placed clubs – including three of the top six – could Newcastle in their current form just possibly match that points return?
If they did pick up another 13 points that would give a final total of 51, the second highest under Mike Ashley.
As for league position, 51 points has been enough to get 8th place in four of the last 10 Premier League seasons, 9th in another four of them, then 10th in the other two.
Whilst safety is/was the only item on the agenda this season for NUFC, it would give a massive boost if Newcastle could finish in the top 10, or maybe even as high as eighth.
A very tangible sign of the progression under Rafa Benitez, despite operating in very difficult circumstances.