That’s it folks, our 2018/19 season is over, with us rounding things off today with a thumping win at Craven Cottage – a result that sees us finish in 13th.
Goals from Shelvey (and it was a stunner!), Perez, Schar and Rondon sealed a 4-0 win – and if that’s to be Benitez’s final game as manager of Newcastle United, it was some send off!
It was a scoreline we’ve not been used to seeing this season, with us two up in 10 minutes and scoring 4 on the road for the first time this season, but it was a display that summed up our form in 2019.
We battled superbly, defending admirably and took our chances emphatically, outclassing and frustrating a Fulham side that spent over £100m last summer.
It may be the last time we see a few play in a Newcastle United shirt. Hayden finally looks set to seal his move away for family reasons, Rondon is due back at West Brom tomorrow and a permanent deal is up in the air, Perez rumours have been rife since his rise to form, Diame is out of contract as things stand and it feels like Shelvey will be cashed in on should Rafa stay. All five have been good servants in one way or another, and all of them played brilliantly today, but the biggest signing this summer would be Rafa Benitez.
I’m sure I speak for every Newcastle United fan in saying I hope and pray this isn’t his last game as manager.
Here’s how the final Premier League table looks after today’s results, with Man City lifting the title with a 4-1 win at Brighton and our 0-4 win seeing us finish up in 13th:
So, another season down and another incredible effort from the players and brilliant job done by Rafa Benitez.
All the momentum gathered last season was sucked out of the club over the summer, with us leaving signings too late and starting the season slowly as a result, but both Benitez and the players recovered remarkably after such a poor start to the campaign.
Our first win of the season came in November, with us enduring our worst start to a league season since 1898, but survived comfortably once again. That’s now something we should be celebrating, however, and that’s why Benitez won’t sign until he gets assurances that the club will show ambition beyond simply ‘staying up’.
The club has reached a crossroads. Either Benitez leaves – and all hope leaves with him – or we either go on with Rafa, sign Rondon and start making steps towards becoming a solid top 10 side and beyond.
Let’s hope the right decision are made over the coming weeks and we can enjoy a 2019/20 season where relegation battles are no more and Rafa’s future isn’t the topic of conversation every week.
For now though, hats off to Rafa and this group of lads for grinding it out once again.
Another rollercoaster season filled with unbearable early-season lows, mid-season nerves, but ultimately the resurgence of a organised, charismatic and gutsy side who gave us some big away day wins and electric moments at St James’ Park.