This season has gone way beyond the expectations of the vast majority of Newcastle United fans.
Personally I never subscribed to all the doom and gloom predictions from pundits and press at the start of the season and knew we wouldn’t be involved in any kind of relegation scrap like some had us down for, but equally I never expected us to be level on points with the 4th placed team heading into the last five games of the season!
The big question is now, can we keep it up and carry on punching our weight at the top end of the table? Can we do even better than that and challenge for Champions League places? Can we go further than that and mount an assault for the Premier League title? Probably not on the last one, but for the other two I see no reason why we shouldn’t be in and around the European places again next season.
Obviously much of that is assuming that we follow the transfer policy that has served us so well. That, unfortunately, means that it might be the end for one of our senior players, but it also means that we’ll get multiple replacements that will make our squad stronger and benefit us as a whole. Not just that, but those that do stay will have an extra year of Premier League experience and will have built up a chemistry which, hopefully, lead to better performances.
Of course it’s very likely that we’ll have the distraction of Europe to contend with next season, and we’ve seen just how a bit of fixture congestion can affect a season. Extra injuries, travelling, fatigue can take their toll on a squad. It’s also likely that we won’t be viewed as such a surprise package next season and teams will take us seriously from the word go, which is up to us to overcome of course.
It’s a fine balancing act, but if we carry on doing what we’ve been doing I see no reason why we can’t be up there again next season. Expectations will be raised and it’s up to the manager and staff to try and match them by showing that this season hasn’t just been a one season wonder.
Can we do it though?