The Newcastle fans have been suitably impressed this season.
Whilst the NUFC side isn’t quite the ‘Championship team’ that many pundits/experts have trotted out, the supporters know that to get Premier League safety with at least a month to spare, was some achievement.
There have been plenty of highs and lows over the course of the season and indeed the recent form or four wins followed by four defeats couldn’t have summed it up better.
The final day was glorious for Newcastle fans, hammering Chelsea in the sunshine, seeing the team end up in the top half of the Premier League table.
Now we know that Mike Ashley will grasp any reason for not spending money in the transfer market, pointing to any positive in order to question why there is such a desperate need for strengthening.
I am just a little worried that a lot of Newcastle fans are now inadvertently giving him one of these reasons not to finally break the NUFC transfer record that has stood for 13 years already.
Finishing in the top half was an excellent psychological lift for everybody connected to Newcastle United but the devil is in the detail.
The excellent (unofficial) NUFC stats man @bigchrisholt coming up with this cracking stat:
The 44 points NUFC won is the lowest total any Premier league team has finished in the top half with.
Not just Man City breaking records ✊
— Chris Holt (@bigchrisholt) May 14, 2018
This doesn’t make ending up 10th a negative but it does show that the reality is that points are a much better reflection of how well a team has done.
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)
44 – 2017/18 – 10th
If you look at the last time Newcastle were promoted, they actually got two more points (46) but ended up two places lower.
In Ashley’s first season in charge (2007/08), Newcastle were 12th with 43 points but it would have taken 50 points to get above West Ham who were 10th.
Looking at the above stats, Rafa’s 44 points is the fourth highest of Mike Ashley’s nine seasons in the Premier League, credit to Rafa although it just sums up what a low bar the fat controller has set.
Obviously a lot of water to flow under the Tyne Bridge before next season kicks off and we anxiously wait for Rafa to confirm he is staying.
However, if he gets any kind of realistic backing, I reckon 50 points is the target for next season – a total that pretty much guarantees you top half and starts getting you looking up at the top six in the distance.
If Newcastle had hit 50 points (two wins from those late games against Everton, West Brom and Watford???), then that would have given Rafa Benitez eighth spot this season, which would have been four points behind Burnley in seventh, 13 points behind Arsenal in sixth and 25 points behind Liverpool in fourth…
With Rafa we could make progress each season and who knows just how quickly that progress might be, if he is given the opportunity?