GUEST POST - Newcastle United: What a difference a year makes
by George Didcote - Follow George https://twitter.com/GeorgeDidcote19
Enjoy what you read - Checkout George's blog https://gdonsport.wordpress.com/
May 12th 2016, Newcastle United found themselves relegated from the Premier League for the second time in the Mike Ashley era.
I found myself sat at my laptop preparing to write my first ever blog piece.
“Newcastle United- Where its all gone wrong” was my title as I began a journalistic attack on the club I’d supported since the age of 6.
I targeted the ownership, previous managerial appointments and poor boardroom decisions as I vented my frustrations on a team which throughout the season I’d grown tired of watching.
Today is the 8th of May 2017 and Yesterday I witnessed my beloved Newcastle lifting the Championship trophy, as they secured the title with a 3-0 home win over Barnsley.
One year on from my first ever post, its time to take a look back at what has been a fantastic season for the magpies, as St James Park sealed a return to top flight football.
Rafa Benitez – One of the best things to come out of last season was securing the signature of Champions League winning manager Rafa Benitez.
This season the Spanyard has been the engine in a well oiled Newcastle machine and I think many Newcastle fans will agree that he has brought the atmosphere back to St James Park. securing Rafa for the Premier League season now is vital for owner Mike Ashley. He must give Benitez control of transfers and let the championship winning manager build his top flight Newcastle squad.
A Team that tries…
The squad this year has been far from disappointing. One of the points I was quick to make in my post last year was that Newcastle sign too many players looking to use the club as a stepping stone. This has not been the case this season as some key players have produced stats which make for magnificent reading, as they dug deep and helped Newcastle across the line.
Jonjo Shelvey- The controlling midfielder got 5 goals for the magpies this campaign, and was Newcastle’s highest creator, generating 8 assists, one more than winger Matt Ritchie.
Dwight Gayle- despite struggling with injury at the back end of the season, Gayle was the Championships 2nd highest goalscorer with 23 Goals, a fantastic return from 26 Games.
These are just two names in one of the strongest Newcastle squads in recent years and it has taken just One season for Rafa to turn a struggling Premier League XI into a dominant Championship squad with fantastic depth.