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Opinion

All these signs are positive at St James’ Park – Key factor for Newcastle United as kick off 2022/23 season

2 weeks ago
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Nobody did St James’ Park better than Kevin Keegan.

At least in living memory for pretty much all of us, the peak of this was the 1995/96 Premier League season.

Newcastle picked up an incredible 52 points in that ‘so close’ season, winning 17 of the 19 Premier League games at St James Park, only losing one at home (Man Utd) and one draw (Tottenham) on the very final day of the season.

Sir Bobby Robson also didn’t do too bad at St James’ Park, his peak was the 2002/03 PL season, really harnessing the home crowd, 47 points from 15 wins and two draws, with just two defeats.

So is fortress St James Park returning?

Well just maybe we are seeing a return to the days when Newcastle United could count on picking up a formidable number of points at home, with Eddie Howe at the helm.

These are the points returns at St James Park in each of the Premier League campaigns during the 15 seasons kicking off under Mike Ashley’s ownership…

2007/08: 29 points from 19 matches at St James Park

2008/09: 22 points from 19 matches at St James Park

2009/10 (Championship)

2010/11: 26 points from 19 matches at St James Park

2011/12: 38 points from 19 matches at St James Park

2012/13: 28 points from 19 matches at St James Park

2013/14: 27 points from 19 matches at St James Park

2014/15: 26 points from 19 matches at St James Park

2015/16: 28 points from 19 matches at St James Park

2016/17 (Championship)

2017/18: 28 points from 19 matches at St James Park

2018/19: 25 points from 19 matches at St James Park

2019/20: 26 points from 19 matches at St James Park

2020/21: 23 points from 19 matches at St James Park

2021/22: 30 points from 19 matches at St James Park

The brilliant dominant Newcastle United win over Arsenal in the final home match, made it 30 points at St James Park last season, with only that freak 2011/12 season (38 points at SJP) beating it during Ashley’s reign.

Considering Eddie Howe inherited a side that had picked up only two points from the first five home games, it is even more remarkable.

Indeed, after having to sort out such a mess left behind by Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley, Eddie Howe and NUFC didn’t pick up a second home win of the season until February 2022 (3-1 v Everton)!!!

It says it all though when you consider that in 14 Premier League games at St James Park under Eddie Howe, only Man City and Liverpool have managed to beat Newcastle at home.

Even better, Nottingham Forest on Saturday gives Eddie Howe and his NUFC players the chance to extend the second half of the season form at St James’ Park, with seven wins in the last 2021/22 eight Premier League games at St James Park, Newcastle could make it eight wins in the last nine on home turf. Apart from the defeat to Liverpool, these past eight SJP matches saw wins over Everton, Villa, Brighton, Wolves, Leicester, Palace and Arsenal.

Even with his squad split in two, Eddie Howe managed two friendly wins at St James’ Park in a 24 hour pre-season  period, beating Atalanta and Athletic Bilbao.

Everybody connected to NUFC must now be fully focused on taking that fortress St James’ Park form into the 2022/23 season.

If Newcastle United are to continue to progress this coming season under Eddie Howe, then you have to feel that home form will be key to it.

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