Newcastle United are in a competitive relegation battle with 15 matches remaining in the season. Avoiding relegation is the primary objective of the club, but what happens if the Magpies go down again?
Newcastle United are the largest club in the North East in terms of their historical track record, financial standing and global support. Despite being recognized as the ninth most successful club in England, the Magpies’ history is comprised of several low moments as well.
The team are struggling in their effort to avoid relegation this season. The fact that Newcastle are currently 15th means absolutely nothing at this stage in the season, as a mere ten points separate Swansea City (20th) from Everton (9th) in the table.
After being relegated twice in the 2008/09 and 2015/16 seasons, Newcastle United were fortunate to earn immediate promotion to the Premier League in both instances as champions of the EFL Championship. However, being relegated this year would have a significant and negative long-term impact on the club.
Before analyzing what being relegated this season could mean for Newcastle United’s future, it is important to understand how the Magpies have responded to relegation in the past.
Since the club’s formation in 1892, Newcastle United have primarily played in the top tier of English football, but the Magpies have also been relegated to the second division six times. Here is a list of the seasons which saw Newcastle United finish among the bottom three in the table:
1933/34 – eight seasons in the second division
1960/61 – four seasons in the second division
1977/78 – six seasons in the second division
1988/89 – three seasons in the second division
2008/09 – one season in the Championship
2015/16 – one season in the Championship
Although the Magpies were relegated six times in 125 years, the club played in the second division for 29 seasons (including 1892-1897). Aside from the bounce-back promotion seasons in 2009 and 2016, it took Newcastle United an average of four seasons to earn their promotion back to the top division.
Impact of Relegation in 2017/18
Rafa Benitez Exit
If Newcastle United were to go down to the Championship upon the conclusion of this Premier League season, the impact would be long-lasting. The first concern would be that the probability of Rafa Benitez staying on as the manager would be very low. Benitez put his reputation as an elite coach on the line by coming to Newcastle United for a rebuilding cause.
None of his demands have been met by the club’s executives and the lack of fiscal resources from Mike Ashley in multiple transfer windows has led to Benitez doing everything he can to ensure that his Championship-level side avoid relegation.
Toon Army Boycott NUFC
The Toon Army have supported the club through good times and the bad, however, Mike Ashley and his regime can no longer be tolerated. Newcastle United are one of the wealthiest clubs in the world, yet the Magpies survival in the top flight remains uncertain due to a lack of spending.
As much as it pains me to even think of Newcastle going down again, it pains me even more to imagine a silent St. James’ Park and empty away sections. If the Magpies go down, a boycott would certainly occur to serve as a major protest against the cheap and careless ownership of Mike Ashley.
With the potential of the aforementioned events actually occurring in the case of relegation, it is hard to imagine the Magpies bouncing back to the Premier League the following season. It is also worth mentioning that several players would seek transfers or the termination of their contracts. It is difficult to convince players to stay after experiencing relegation multiple times under the same owner. The potential loss of key players would only weaken the quality of an already mediocre roster.
Overall, Newcastle supporters must continue to motivate their team until the end of the season as anything can happen. Several clubs are more superior in quality, but not all of them. The Magpies have enough talent with this current roster to finish a few points above the bottom three. However, in the instance that Newcastle United fall back down to the Championship, it should come as no surprise if the events mentioned above occur.
Newcastle United are not just fighting to avoid relegation, they are fighting to avoid the gradual downfall of the largest club in the North East.