A win for Sunderland on Wednesday against an unpredictable Everton side will confirm Newcastle’s relegation from the top flight and leave the club in turmoil and in need of a drastic overhaul.
The only circumstance in which the Magpies can stay up is if Sunderland hit self-destruct and lose their final two games of the season and Newcastle manage to beat a Tottenham side who seem to have imploded. In a Premier League season which has seen 5000/1 long shot Leicester City win the title, it still remains a possibility but more than likely, Newcastle will be facing Burton Albion next year.
It will be a sorry end to a dreadful season which has seen some of the most utterly pathetic football from a Newcastle side since our promotion to the top flight over 20 years ago.
Since Kevin Keegan’s Entertainers got promoted, along with Leicester, funnily enough, Newcastle have only been out of the top flight for one season. They bounced back straight away last time; strolling the Championship with over 100 points. Something tells me this time it won’t be so easy to return.
And where there is a glimmer of hope, still in United fans that Sunderland will choke and give us a sniff of survival on the final day, most of us are preparing for life in the second tier of English football for the second time in Mike Ashley’s ownership.
If Rafa Benitez does manage Newcastle to a famous win and Premier League survival on the final weekend, it will most probably follow him feeding the capacity of St. James’ Park with a couple fish after crossing the Tyne via foot.
The question on most fan’s lips is ‘Will Rafa stay should we go down?’ The answer, as unpopular as it may be, is probably not. For one; why would he want to exactly? He will have no problem at all getting another top flight job.
The prospect of building something from scratch with Newcastle may have a certain appeal, but can we really expect a man who was in charge of Real Madrid six months ago to lead us out in the Championship? Secondly; Newcastle can’t afford to keep him. A manager of Benitez’s calibre commands a Premier League wage.
Newcastle will have a colossal job trimming their huge wage bill as it is, to offer Benitez a deal to keep him would be way out of character for a Newcastle board who has tried to run the club on the cheap for years. Only recently has money been thrown at the club in a desperate bid to survive. The trouble was, they were so massively out of practice, that they did finally spend millions, they managed to squander most of it.
But we will leave talk of next season for another day. For now, Newcastle are still in the Premiership and still have a chance, no matter how small, of staying there. Yes they need a miracle, yes the odds are stacked against them, but one thing we can learn from Leicester is that miracles can happen. Allow yourselves one final bit of hope because all we actually need is for Sunderland to lose twice and Newcastle to win once. That, my friends, is possible.