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22nd Apr 2019

Last season’s league table shows staggering rate of Newcastle progression under Mike Ashley

Kyle Picknell

A remarkable turnaround for the Geordies

Other than the club record signing of Miguel Almiron and another season of Premier League football all but guaranteed, Newcastle United fans don’t have many reasons to be cheery.

Mike Ashley is still running the club into the ground – more concerned with snapping up struggling high-street retailers rather the quality centre forward his team needs- and Rafa Benitez, the man responsible for squeezing every last drop of talent out of one of the most limited squads in the top flight and worshipped on Tyneside, is out of contract in the summer.

You wouldn’t blame the Spaniard, who won promotion with the club from the Championship in 2017, for walking away on June 30 when his contract is up. And you won’t need a better explanation than the one offered below: a comparison of the Magpies performance this season against last year in the league.

As you can see, the records are identical and show just how little the club has progressed in comparison to the rapid evolutions of teams such as Wolverhampton Wanderers, Bournemouth and Watford. All three pale in comparison to Newcastle United in terms of fanbase and stadium yet have playing squads and indeed, a playing style, far surpassing their Northern counterparts.

It is clear that Benitez has done all he can with the current group of players and a net transfer spend of around £3.5 million is laughable when compared to the rest of the league. He is performing an absolute miracle just to keep Newcastle’s head above water when clubs such as West Ham, Brighton and Crystal Palace are spending over £100 million in the same period.

If (more likely when) he does leave, it’s difficult if not impossible to think of another manager willing to work under Mike Ashley who will be able to match the 11 wins, 8 draws and 16 losses through 35 games that he has achieved so far in his two full seasons in the Premier League. Tread water long enough and sinking becomes inevitable.