Would missing out on the title represent failure?

With Brighton on the verge of taking the Championship crown, Newcastle are left to focus on sealing automatic promotion.

Sky Sports recently published an article asking if Newcastle have underachieved by failing to win the title. They point to having a manager of the calibre of Benitez, a Premier League wage bill and a large outlay on transfers during the summer as reasons to why they feel we should be doing more.

It’s important to mention that as much as Sky and other media outlets like painting a picture of Newcastle splurging vast sums of money on promotion (the most expensive squad in the history of the Championship they call it), this doesn’t tell the whole story.

In terms of salaries and transfer fees, it is the biggest outlay a team has made in this division. This doesn’t account for the fact though that our wage bill has reduced from last season and our net spend for the season on transfers actually comes out as a £30m profit. Being a ‘bigger’ Premier League team always meant we had assets to sell and a bigger budget than many teams. Rafa and the board should instead be congratulated on securing such high fees for outgoings, Sissoko in particular looks like a better bit of business with each passing day.

We do have a squad though that is the envy of most, if not all, of the Championship. Most fans will agree we need vast investment this summer but for this level, we have a very good squad. Arguably, no more than three or four other players from this league would get into the Newcastle starting XI, on paper at least – which as we know from previous seasons, is not always an accurate judgement in reality. However, it also meant signing 12 players in the summer. So many signings always means difficulties. Time is needed to find your best XI and a clear pattern of play and as we have seen, some signings won’t work out.

This brings us nicely onto Brighton. They already had a balanced squad with only a few additions needed after just missing out last year. It’s a group that has Championship experience and a playing identity, all under a very good manager in Chris Hughton, as we know.

It’s also important to put some context on the task we faced. Only 3 of the 30 teams in recent years who have been relegated, have bounced straight back up, one of which was us in 2010. Aston Villa and Norwich, who came down with us, are nowhere near the promotion reckoning. There are countless big clubs who are stuck in the Championship: Leeds, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday to name a few.  If we finish second it would be a great achievement.

This was always going to be a pivotal season in the history of the club. If we don’t go up, it is very likely that we would lose Rafa and many of our key players. Not having another season of the new TV money from the top flight would make promotion each year even more difficult to achieve. To go up and avoid all these potential problems would be a massive relief.

I think there is no shame in admitting we have the best squad in the league, with the most illustrious manager, but we came up against a team who were well set in Brighton. They could get more than 100 points. It’s the longer term we can focus on if we go up; I would fancy us to be in a better position than Brighton in 12 months time, with Rafa and the resources we have.

So we can congratulate them and celebrate going up in second place, if it happens. I am sure there will be many teams who wish they were in our position, especially those who are relegated from the Premier League in May.

About Simon Riddlesden

Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.

40 thoughts on “Would missing out on the title represent failure?

  1. Good read Simon. Yep I posted the sky link on here a day back, it’s the usual Sky mischief making crap. They love doing negative Toon stuff it’s in their DNA 🙄 Going up is ALL that matters in reality, yes a trophy is a trophy and it would of been nice but the bigger picture is automatic promotion. No probs with Hoots boys getting the cup, they earned it and that teams been 3 years in the making with lots of cash spent, something Sky conveniently fail to mention .

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  2. CH has shown Rafa how its done in the Championship. If it wasnt for a few poor games we’d be close, if not above them. We havent been consistent enough in the 2nd half of the season, especially at home.

    Don’t forget, we did come to the Championship with an OK team. Adding Richie etc to the ranks made us obvious favorites to win it.

    Difference is, Rafa has the guile and experience to do better than CH in the Prem & hopefully,he’s backs enough to keep us there.

    I’m not bothered about winning it, the important thing is getting out of it.

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  3. Nervy weekend and Monday night coming up. Hope after Monday night we can all relax. Going up matters more than finishing top although that would have been nice. We might have been top now if refs been as favourable to us as they have been to our rivals.

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  4. Groucho:
    Nervy weekend and Monday night coming up. Hope after Monday night we can all relax. Going up matters more than finishing top although that would have been nice. We might have been top now if refs been as favourable to us as they have been to our rivals.

    well our next refs from Huddersfield mate.# wouldn’t happen in Spain

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  5. kimtoon: well our next refs from Huddersfield mate.# wouldn’t happen in Spain

    Not fair on the ref either. He is in a lose lose situation. Will he feel under pressure to be favourable to Newcastle to clear himself of any bias towards Huddersfield or will he make decisions against Newcastle which might easily lay him open to charges of bias towards Huddersfield? He should never have been placed in this position. The people who run the game are unbelievably stupid.

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  6. Put 100euros on Chris Hughton not being manager of BHA at the end of next season, easy money.

    That’s the name of the game.

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  7. Groucho: Not fair on the ref either. He is in a lose lose situation. Will he feel under pressure to be favourable to Newcastle to clear himself of any bias towards Huddersfield or will hemake decisions against Newcastle which might easily lay him open to charges of bias towards Huddersfield? He should never have been placed in this position. The people who run the game are unbelievably stupid.

    Aye, beggars belief really mate, only in English football could this happen.

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  8. On the face of it people will say yes because they’ll look at Rafa and look at the money spent but that’s only half the story. Brighton have been building their squad for three years and Rafa has rebuilt a squad in rapid time over one transfer window. That deserves a lot of credit on its own.

    We have been a huge scalp for every team we have played this season and that also makes it harder. Finally when you see the likes of Sammi Ameobi getting a game then that should tell you we don’t have the greatest squad that everyone keeps telling us we have.

    All in all, second place finish will be a good achievement all things considered.

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  9. Reading 1 .0 down, Forest looking good too apparently

    Could be a good day on the cards here lads, can we make it pay.

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  10. Bleeding hell! I’ve been talking to myself all afternoon in another thread! I never k ow which one is the “live” thread to be honest!

    Anyway what a day it is for us so far! A win on Monday and were there. 😛

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  11. Stuart79:
    Bleeding hell! I’ve been talking to myself all afternoon in another thread! I never k ow which one is the “live” thread to be honest!

    Anyway what a day it is for us so far! A win on Monday and were there.

    And here was me thinking I had BO 😆

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  12. Stuart79:
    Bleeding hell! I’ve been talking to myself all afternoon in another thread! I never k ow which one is the “live” thread to be honest!

    Anyway what a day it is for us so far! A win on Monday and were there.

    Isn’t the one at top left corner on homepage? I was told so. Anyway the discussion is spreading everywhere nowadays. I would rather reading the discussion in a more fixed place.

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  13. Good day for us today with both Reading and Huddersfield losing… not to mention Brighton losing yesterday. Strangely, on my sky sports app, they have Brighton on 92 points and 7 ahead of us which I’m sure is wrong isn’t it? Weren’t we just 4 points behind Brighton?

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  14. Dubai Toon:
    Good day for us today with both Reading and Huddersfield losing… not to mention Brighton losing yesterday. Strangely, on my sky sports app, they have Brighton on 92 points and 7 ahead of us which I’m sure is wrong isn’t it? Weren’t we just 4 points behind Brighton?

    defo 92 mate, but hopefully only 4 ahead by late monday 😉

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  15. Who have Brighton got left to play? I see us getting to 94 points if we win on Monday so Brighton will only need one more win from two.

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  16. kimtoon: defo 92 mate, but hopefully only 4 ahead by late monday ?

    Must be a brain fart on my part then. Was convinced we would be only 1 point behind them if we won on Monday. Oh well … getting old I guess. ??

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  17. Stuart79:
    Who have Brighton got left to play? I see us getting to 94 points if we win on Monday so Brighton will only need one more win from two.

    home to Bristol City next Saturday night and Villa away on the last day mate

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  18. Hudders have Wolves away, Brum away then home to Cardiff, should the unthinkable happen and we lose to Preston.

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  19. What a great set of results to wake up to. Just about everything I hoped for happened – even down to Sunderland being well and truly cast adrift and Gateshead winning.

    Surely a win against Preston isn’t too much else to ask for. Even this Newcastle side can’t bottle it that badly.

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  20. I know it’s ifs and buts and we are where we are but had we had the clear penalty for the foul on Mbemba against Leeds we would now be promoted. Just shows how poor refereeing can have a big financial outcome for some clubs in the case of promotion or relegation. Bring on the video cameras.

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  21. looking forward to the match tomorrow., I’ve enjoyed watching Huddersfields last two games, its cheered me up more than the toons encounters 😆

    Newcastle have been at the top all season, yes, we’ve had little blips / poor decisions but I believe we’ll show the championship why we are / were contenders for the title tomorrow.

    2-0 to the toon / Party time!!

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  22. I doubt very much Huddersfield will get the 9 pts they need. In fact I said on here after the Burton win put us on 84pts that we were promoted already. Looks like I was right. Happy days 😀

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  23. Gashley:
    looking forward to the match tomorrow., I’ve enjoyed watching Huddersfieldslast two games, its cheered me up more than the toons encounters

    Newcastle have been at the top all season, yes, we’ve had little blips / poor decisions but I believe we’ll show the championship why we are / were contenders for the title tomorrow.

    2-0 to the toon / Party time!!

    Considering they have no fit first choice defenders and how well we beat them last time I’m expecting better than 2.0 .

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  24. Would settle for a one nil win but must admit that would make me a bundle of nerves until the final whistle along with Lascelles maybe.

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  25. To be honest I still feel nervous. We always seem to commit suicide when we have this kind of opportunity. We never make it easy for ourselves. Also pissed off that I’ll miss it as I’m off to Shanghai tonight. Nervous too about the Huddersfield ref…

    However, that said, I hope I’m completely wrong and when I wake up on Tuesday morning we are in the Prem. ??

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