The Braga 4 Newcastle 0 scoreline has certainly ‘livened’ things up.
Anybody who was thinking pre-season was ticking along ok, will have had their eyes opened a little wider with this one.
The official club line has been how Newcastle had remained ‘unbeaten’ in pre-season.
The reality though being, that if you scratched below the surface, the friendlies had seen an easy 2-0 win over lowly League of Ireland opposition, a lucky late draw against a poor Hull side that nearly dropped straight through to League One with Sunderland last season, then an incredibly lucky draw against Porto on Saturday. Newcastle forced to defend all match and not having a shot of their own at the Porto keeper.
So what about Braga, are they any good?
Well, like a lot of the weaker European leagues, a very small group of clubs tend to totally dominate.
In Portugal, it is Benfica, Sporting Lisbon, and Porto, nobody else has finished in the top three these past five seasons.
With clubs in Portugal getting a pittance from domestic league TV deals, unless you are in the Champions League, cash from broadcasting is a pittance.
In terms of support, Braga only averaged 11,706 for home matches last season, so how did they fund this superstar team that embarrassed Newcastle United?
Well, after looking into it, this is how much the starting 11 against Newcastle cost Braga (stats via Transfermarkt):
£Free R. Horta
£1.8m Raul Silva
£2.7m Bruno Viana
£1.8m R. Esgaio
Total cost of the Braga team = £9.9m.
Newcastle United are in massive trouble and desperately in need of better quality players.
Last night Rafa Benitez played a full team that was here in the Championship season, with the exception of Dubravka.
Of signings since promotion, you would say that the injured Florian Lejeune would be included in the first eleven, but apart from that you are only looking at Kenedy (on paternity leave) who is only here on loan with Mike Ashley not even allowing Newcastle to try and buy him.
Progress two seasons later???