For years, the Toon Army and countless fans that made their way to St. James Park suffered through immense inconsistencies in the club.
However, out of the blue, Newcastle United has risen to the surface as one of the top teams in the world. Following the Magpies’ fourth-place finish in the Premier League, the team has clinched an appearance in the Champions League for the 2023-24 season. So, what was the journey like to make it to this point?
Part one covers the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons
Part two covers the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons
Part three covers the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons
Part four covers the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons
Part five covers the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons
This five-part series will cover Newcastle United’s journey from the 2012-13 season up until the past 2022-23 campaign.
Unfortunately, the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons proved to be another bumpy ride for Newcastle United and the Magpie supporters. The two seasons, filled with moments of despair and occasional glimmers of hope, left everyone involved disappointed.
In this article, we will summarize and analyze the team’s performances in the league table while examining the factors that contributed to their struggles.
The Magpies’ 2016-2017 season began in the EFL Championship after being relegated in the previous season from the Premier League.
Expectations were high, with the aim of an immediate return to the top flight. Luckily, the campaign got off to a great start as the team won six of their first seven outings, with an impressive 6-0 defeat of QPR being one of those.
One big consistent though as the season hit its middle point, was their inability to stay consistent on the pitch. They had moments of incredible play, securing impressive victories against some of the top tier-two sides, but proceeded to struggle in games against lower-level opponents.
However, those moments were quickly put to rest.
These inconsistencies ultimately were fixed, and Newcastle finished the season in 1st place, securing automatic promotion. They dominated recording 85 goals for and just 40 against.
The quick relegation to promotion turnaround came at the hands of Rafa Benitez taking charge. The adjustment period didn’t disrupt the team’s cohesion, even with several managerial changes over the past few seasons.
While they made a managerial change, they also brought in the likes of Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie who instantly made an impact.
However, even with the club securing promotion, the concern still sat on whether or not they could survive in the Premier League. With the team’s rotation still not being 100% consistent, the front office needed to make adjustments and bring in new signings to heighten the ceiling.
Newcastle’s return to the Premier League for the 2017-2018 season was met with plenty of doubt from both the club’s supporters and the league alike.
The Magpies needed to reestablish themselves among the Premier League elites, but the reality of the situation proved far from it.
From the jump, the goal was to survive, and that was difficult for the club.
Despite some promising performances, they found themselves stuck in a dogfight to avoid the treacherous relegation to the EFL Championship once again. Their struggles were evident, and a lack of consistency and firepower led to the team massively struggling.
While there were some signings such as Florian Lejeune and Christian Atsu, they did very little to boost the team’s play on the pitch. Newcastle lacked the necessary quality players to compete with the league’s top teams.
However, even with the team barely putting up impressive play, they finished in 10th place, four points shy of relegation.
Off-field matters also played a pivotal role in the team’s difficulties to succeed post-promotion. Financial constraints from being relegated two seasons ago limited the front office’s ability to invest in the squad, which left them at a disadvantage.
The uncertainty surrounding the ownership of the club also created a sense of instability, which impacted the morale of everyone. This began the “get rid of Mike Ashley” boycotts and movements.
The following years would be some of the worst in club history as the boycotts and hatred towards Ashley put a stain on all the club would do.
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So, to put it simply, 10 years ago, Newcastle United had a long way to go until they would be considered a respected Premier League squad.
Make sure to stay tuned for the remaining two parts of the series, as NewcastleToons goes in-depth on how the Magpies found their current success.