Don’t Underestimate Newcastle’s Achievement This Season

Having achieved promotion to the Premier League at the first time of asking, there are many playing down Rafael Benitez and Newcastle’s achievements this season. Newcastle may have spent big last summer, however people have to remember that the club lost an awful lot of players as well. The changing of the squad has been huge, it is difficult to essentially build a whole new squad and get them playing a brand of football that would see them promoted. That is exactly what Benitez has done at Newcastle United.

You only need to look at the likes of Aston Villa, to know that throwing money at a squad does not guarantee success. The money must be invested in the right areas, identify the squads weaknesses and ensure it is capable of challenging at the top of the table. There have been a lot of media outlets playing Newcastle’s achievement down, which is very unfair. I noticed an article on Sky Sports with the title “Have Newcastle Underachieved”.  Newcastle are only the second team in 5 or 6 years to bounce straight back up automatically, that reason alone shows how difficult it is in the Championship.

There have been a number of people suggesting that Newcastle should have won the Championship easily. I certainly didn’t think that at the start of the season, I said from the very start that it would be a long hard slog, that is exactly what it has been. Over the course of this season, Newcastle have suffered some surprise defeats, that is because the opposition up their game against Newcastle. The magpies are a huge scalp in the Championship and the opposition play the game as though it is their cup final.

Hardly anyone has looked at the difference in away form from this season to last season. It is an astonishing turn around, Newcastle picked up just nine points away from home throughout the whole of last season, winning two. This season, Rafael Benitez’s men have broken the club record for away wins in a season. To turn the away form around in such fashion is nothing short of incredible, Newcastle and Benitez are not getting the plaudits they truly deserve.

Newcastle kept their slim title chances alive with a win against Cardiff last night. The magpies need Brighton to slip up in their next two games and Newcastle to win their final game against Barnsley, if they are to lift the title. However, title or no title – This season has been a big success, promotion was always the priority and they have achieved that, anything else is a bonus.

The players Benitez brought to the club, are a testament to the hard work the manager put in before the season had begun. Benitez did his homework and identified the players he thought were needed to get Newcastle out of the Championship. The likes of Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle and Ciaran Clark who have been influential all season, Benitez looked for players who could get Newcastle promoted and do a job for them in the Premier League.

What is most important, Benitez has united a club and fans that had been divided for so long due to a period of poor managers. The Spaniard has made sure everyone is pulling in the same direction, there is a buzz around the city again which is fantastic. Mike Ashley will hold meetings with Benitez over the coming weeks, the Newcastle owner will back Benitez. Ashley has seen what a difference Benitez has made to the club, more importantly from Ashley’s point of view, he has seen how much money Benitez can make the club providing he is backed.

Newcastle will finish their season at St James’ Park against Barnsley, everyone will be bouncing. The players, manager, backroom staff and everyone involved with club should be proud of the seasons achievement. The fans should now be allowed to enjoy their promotion party.

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