BBC Sport main man, Phil McNulty, has been looking ahead to the new season for Newcastle United.
McNulty is the BBC Sport Chief Football writer and sums up many of our thoughts when he says:
‘The only thing you can predict about Newcastle United is that a crisis is always just around the corner – and this is why I fear the worst for them this season.’
As a Newcastle fan it is difficult to disagree with that statement, especially in these past 11 years of Mike Ashley.
His disastrous ownership has overseen two relegations, two very near misses (only reaching safety on final match day of 2014/15 and the second last one of 2012/13), two seasons in the Championship, and only one time have Newcastle finished top nine in the Premier League.
The 11 seasons before Mike Ashley took over, Champions League football, two FA Cup finals and twice finishing in the top four.
The BBC Sport man sees the strengths at Newcastle as being Rafa Benitez and his relationship with the fans, as well as the players.
Ashley of course the person who once again is the one holding Newcastle back with a refusal to allow a realistic level of investment in the transfer window.
Predicting the Premier League table this season, Phil McNulty sees Newcastle United going down.
Newcastle haven’t exactly been helped by the fixtures, with four of last season’s top six amongst the opponents in the first five matches.
History tells us that if Newcastle make a bad start then it can be very difficult to climb out of a downward spiral.
Much will depend on how quickly Rondon, Muto and Fernandez can fit in, all having had no pre-season with Newcastle, as Mike Ashley failed to back Rafa Benitez with his early targets.
Today is massive, as with Spurs missing players due to late returns after World Cup duty it has given Newcastle an enhanced chance of starting on a positive note.
Three points would be massive but a draw and a positive performance would go some way to suggesting disaster this season might be avoided.
Phil McNulty, BBC Chief football writer:
“Newcastle United: Last season – 10th, This season (Prediction) – 18th:
“The only thing you can predict about Newcastle United is that a crisis is always just around the corner – and this is why I fear the worst for them this season.
“Manager Rafael Benitez and owner Mike Ashley are at odds once more and the Spaniard, no stranger to the game’s political manoeuvrings, has made his discontent clear while retaining the support of the Toon Army.
“If Benitez stays and can be kept reasonably happy (a big if that one) then there is reason to suspect Newcastle can stay up – if he doesn’t then there may be serious consequences.
“Salomon Rondon is a decent signing as a striker but he is not prolific and will carry a huge weight of responsibility.
“As ever Newcastle’s vast following deserve better.”