You would be hard pushed to find a Newcastle supporter who doesn’t think that Alan Pardew has done an exceptional job in his time at the club.
Despite the deserved hiding of the other night Newcastle find themselves a point off the Champions League places with a home tie against struggling Wolves next on the agenda.
If all goes well we can pick up three more points and if results go our way find ourselves fourth come the end of February.
As Newcastle supporters go I would consider myself in the optimist bracket, but not for a second do I think we will be fourth by the end of the season.
Before the season started I said that 8th would be a very good season, and even with what has come since and the obvious rise in expectation from all in sundry I think that finishing 7th should be chalked down as a very successful season and clear progression.
That said, we do find ourselves in a position where Europe is a realistic goal, and with the so called big guns around us continually slipping up, chances are we will be there or thereabouts right up until the final whistle is blown on the season.
With that being the case it has made me think though. Could it be a season too early for Newcastle to be in Europe?
Now most I’m sure would linch me for even thinking of us missing out as a good thing, and maybe it wouldn’t be. My concern is that although our strongest eleven looks impressive, as we have seen when they are called upon against genuine good sides, our squad still lacks quality in depth, the quality required for a go at four competitions anyway.
A part of me obviously wants Europe, and would hope that in achieving it we would invest in squad strength along with a few gems to improve the first team even more, and come next season be more than able to handle a push on all fronts.
However as much as I would be a supporter of the conduct of Medium Mike over the past couple of years, we all know there is no guarantee we will see the level of investment needed over the course of one summer.
So, taking that as the reality, would Europe come a season too soon? more importantly, would our Premier League form suffer because of it, meaning we would potentially miss out on Europe next season?
Personally I think it would as we stand. I am all for bringing back European nights to St. James’ but I want them every season and believe another season of building and clearing out deadwood is needed to make that a realistic goal each and every season in the future.
There is a risk of course that if we don’t achieve Europe this season, we could lose one or two big name players. A legitimate concern no doubt but one which I’m not so sure about. I actually think we can hold on to our big names, and January has shown us that the FFP rules are starting to have their effect on big clubs spending fortunes to get their man.
Like last summer, if we can get a few big names in early and show the stars already at the club that we mean business going forward, I can’t see many if any really wanting to leave what it quickly becoming a very exciting time for Newcastle and a project that is quite frankly the envy of a lot of clubs.
As well as that, most offers they may get at a club clearly in a different class to ourselves will not guarantee first team football week in week out, and I think what our wage structure has shown is that we now have a bunch who are there for the football and not the paycheck. I would like to think so anyway.
Anyway, all things considered I would be very interested to hear what others think.
Is achieving Europe vital this season or would it be a season to soon?