It has been an upward trajectory for Newcastle United these past two seasons under Rafa Benitez.

Instant promotion as champions in the Championship season, then a tenth place finish last time on the return to the Premier League.

It was though in reality a season long struggle against relegation, no sensible fan could argue it wasn’t.

The 44 points was the lowest ever to get a top half finish in the Premier League. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t still a successful season but it did distort the end table slightly.

There was some decent football as well at times, a couple of decent runs of form from end of August to mid-October and February to April sealed survival, plus hinted at times of the possibility of maybe better to come – if the squad was strengthened in the right places.

Overall, I think everybody agreed that it had been a good season, due to Rafa Benitez overachieving with the group of players and resources he had available to him.

However, survival can’t be the aim in this coming season.

Survival can’t be seen as equalling success.

Newcastle do of course need to stay in the Premier League but that should be seen as just a by-product that will happen as the club tries to move forward under Rafa Benitez.

Last year was enjoyable, up to a point. A group of players all trying their best and doing as well as anybody could have possibly imagined.

However, we can’t approach things the same this time.

I don’t want to go to games with the only ambition being  to get 40 points and avoid relegation.

What is the point in that?

I have no doubt that Rafa Benitez feels the same, he has said it plenty of times in the past.

He wants realistic investment, and the freedom to operate, so that he can get Newcastle competing higher and higher.

A player such as Kenedy sums things up, he won’t get a game for Chelsea but is seen by some fans as the kind of player that is beyond our reach. If Newcastle offered over £15m or so then I think we could/would sign him, if he was being honest when he said he was up for staying/signing permanently.

Whilst there were high points last season, if we are honest there were some real worrying lows, until Kenedy and Dubravka came in and helped with that late run.

Not winning a home game between 21 October 2017 and 11 February 2018 was pure torture, plus really struggling to score goals.

Without better creative players and goalscorers next season, such as Kenedy etc, it would almost certainly be another tough watch.

It doesn’t have to be this way, even just two or three key signings could totally change expectations and have everybody looking froward to the new season.

Mike Ashley clearly sees PL survival as success, as it ticks the boxes of Premier League revenue and PL worldwide TV exposure, but it (survival) can’t be enough for our club and fans.

Next May we could still end up grateful that Newcastle stayed up but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aiming for something far better ahead of the season.

Without everybody pulling in the same direction at NUFC and sharing the same dreams, there is no chance of success. The fans and Rafa Benitez share those same dreams/aspirations but as usual, Mike Ashley is on a different page.

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  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Last season enjoyable, it was krap until the turn of the year & but for importing
    Dubravka & Kenedy it would have been a close run thing in the relegation battle.
    next season we won`t have Kenedy & the way the Obese One is acting we won`t be buying any quality players.
    Next season, Anther fight for survival & relying once again on the Manager.

    • Paul Patterson

      To turn down the chance to sign Kenedy is the same as not completing the deal for Dubravka to me, both no-brainers and if Kenedy wants to come at around £20m, it would be foolish not to get him. Sadly, I fear the club will be looking at signing someone for half that which means no Kenedy and no clinical striker either . .

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        Fatso isn`t going to spend, Rafa will get the money from sales,
        if he`s lucky

        • mentalman

          there isn’t going to be a lot raised from sales either

          • Wezza147

            Don’t forget Rafa gets every penny!

    • thewildchimp

      Basically, this budget means more defensive strengthening. Because you can’t find attackers in the bargain bins. While I’m at it, Costa Rican RB Cristian Gamboa looked great against Brazil right now, namely Coutinho and Neymar, and he’s in Celtic on less than £2m. Very fast and has good sense for football.

  • Slim_Newcastle

    Premiership survival and on a shoestring is Ashley’s only plan. More of the same..

  • Reggae86

    Fair views, well conveyed, but how long are we just going to keep on saying the same things? How many articles have we had of the same gist? Groundhog day

  • TheFatController

    You’ll soon get replies with apologists playing ‘biggest victim’ game, worrying abut what might happen to Ashley were he to lose money on this investment …

    However, once there is big money in EPL places with overseas tv rights soon to be factored in to performance (thus maybe double or more the current £2m per place) maybe his greed will see him invest to be top 10 not too 17 .

    We can but hope. Greed would be good in that instance …

  • Wezza147

    The aim is:
    Spend as little as possible.
    Have as low wages as possible
    Avoid relegation.
    Ensure EPL riches for MA’s holding companies.
    Use PR to spin, lie and troll fans.
    Repeat year after year.

    • Peter C

      Your assessment of Mike Ashley’s aims, is right on every count.

      And I’m sure, many thousands of fans have come to the same conclusion.