Why Newcastle Could Face a Tougher Relegation Battle Next Season

Posted on July 28th, 2021 | 21 Comments |

Magpies in despair
How a relegated Toon side might look like next May.
A late goal-scoring run from Joe Willock helped power Newcastle to five wins in their last eight fixtures to finish the 2020/21 campaign in 12th place – a full 17 points above the drop zone. Yet, there were times when Steve Bruce’s men looked genuinely in danger of facing the drop. The big question ahead of the new season is: Can the Magpies carry that good form forward and consolidate mid-table status? Or will they regress into relegation candidates once again?

A Late Run of Form Papered Over Cracks

The Toon’s late rally that propelled them clear of the danger was remarkable considering where they were in March. With 27 games played, they were just a point ahead of 18th-ranked Fulham in the table and had won just two of their last 16 games. The Cottagers were showing good form, having conceded just seven goals in 10 games, compared to 17 in the same period for Steve Bruce’s men.

At the time, Fulham were being hailed as a great battling side who were on course for survival, while Newcastle looked to be on a downward trajectory. The club had just played out two uninspiring draws at home to Wolves and away to West Bromwich Albion that gave fans little hope. Yet, those games proved to be the catalyst for a run that no one saw coming.

Newcastle’s last 13 games featured five wins, five draws and just three defeats, yielding 20 points at over 1.5 points per game. Over their previous 25 games, that ratio stood at just 1 point per game. In contrast, Fulham’s 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield in March that moved them to within a point of Steve Bruce’s team proved to be their last triumph of the campaign as they added just two more points to their tally. While Newcastle’s late run of form was welcome, for many, it papered over the cracks of a mostly uninspiring season which exposed the club’s lack of strength in depth.

Transfer Window Could Hand Advantage to Rivals

While many fans would rather see the back of Steve Bruce, he looks set to be staying for the foreseeable future. With a tight budget (estimated at £10m) and a youth-only transfer policy, it looks set to be a tough summer and pre-season for the Geordie boss.

The latest odds on football betting sites like Space Casino suggest that there are five teams more likely to be relegated than Newcastle: The three promoted sides (Norwich, Watford and Brentford) plus Crystal Palace and Burnley. Of the newcomers, Brentford have already spent £9m on one player, having signed Frank Onyeka from FC Midtjylland with more incomings expected. Norwich have splashed out over £35m and haven’t finished yet, while Watford’s summer spending has already hit £14m and is expected to rise.

Meanwhile, new Crystal Palace boss, Patrick Viera, has already run up a £30m bill and Sean Dyche is thought to have a boosted transfer budget courtesy of Burnley’s new owners with £12m already spent on Stoke’s Nathan Collins.

With the teams around them investing, The Toon Army look to be at a serious disadvantage and it’s highly likely they’ll face an even tougher relegation battle this time around. While a repeat of last season’s 12th-place finish would have to rank as a major success under the circumstances.

NUFCBlog Author: Frankly Various Frankly Various has written 66 articles on this blog.

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21 Responses

  1. Chuck, you picked a very odd post to write your comment in, so I’m replying here.

    I’m guessing Ashley expects us to be relegated every once in a while. That’s the only way his minimum-spend, risk-taking method can work. He might be relying on getting lucky maybe 8/10 seasons and suffering a relegation at times. He is after all a renowned gambler.

    You can’t expect NUFC to behave like a normal club and have a bit more ambition that just trying to stay in the PL. Ashley’s not interested in the club and wants out, and in the interim he’s probably figured out it’s cheaper to get relegated once in a while. He’ll then use the parachute payments and (maybe) a bit of his own money to try and bounce straight back.

    He might get lucky this coming season. If all our first team players avoid injury for most of the season we might have enough to survive. But if he’s unlucky he’ll just try to bounce us back after relegation – we’ve done it twice already.

    It’s not much fun for supporters of such a club, but Ashley won’t care about that.

  2. It’s always a huge trauma getting Chuck to move to a different post, it’s like trying to herd cats.

    How much of all this doom and gloom is just newspaper shite though? On the relegation thing, even with parachute payments, getting relegated is still very costly indeed, even if it only happens every five years or so and that’s only if it lasts for one year. Maybe Ashley likes the gambling aspect of it? He’s very keen on that sort of thing.

  3. Ah sure whats the difference when I write that NUFC are due for a more than permanent reduction to the second tier, and like the other two NE giants remain there .
    Why ?
    No money, that is of right now , although I’m sure our kind and generous owner has possibly taken from the club, possibly less than most owners, which in turn may, along with other reasons keep the Toon chugging long though possibly just above the requirements of finishing above the recent additions to the EPL and therefor safe to sell as a EPL side, which is slightly better than the championship.
    And as the NE is now in a state of de-industrialization and about to be replaced by telephone banks or something similar leaving the whole former industrial area even more barren, there’s an example facing those living in the area move and find a job or stay put and watch an idiot attempt to do something with a side of useless players, and who’s reason for going to games is based on habit.
    One of the reasons I was in favor of the Saudi takeover, not that I expected they would lead us to the promised land or overspend, but to afford what other players are given and to at least end up as a top ten club.
    However a combination of manager and owner are certainly not what we do need, Being Ashley is a cheapskate and our manager is
    hopelessly entailed by playing a boring game of defensive football
    throughout the entire game and yeah it would be interesting to see
    changes appear from both , that is if we are to succeed in the slightest.
    I recall a moment in time when we were somewhere around the twentieth position in word rankings as far as wealth is concerned, god only knows where we rank to day ?
    So it’s all about selling the club and having someone who actually runs S.A. as a backer, which we thought we were going to get when the local idiots ran outta money and we expected a guy with 2billion quid took over, only to find he was intending to use the club as a basis for HIS future in fact use the club and it’s earnings to increase both his other business interest’s and to hell with the locals and their approach .
    Ah well ! who knows there are few who can afford what the Saudi’s
    have offered, however there is a small chance things could still work out as we the fans expected, though doubtful, I wonder how those who support such sides as Boro,, and S’land feel about the situation, they could certainly fill us in on how things are in the second and third divisions and make more room for the channel ports and sides from locations that have been unaffected by Maggie’s de -industrial policies .
    Unfortunately some kinda political event” no not the recent killing of Kashoggian”which brought about the problem but something we are yet unaware off has triggered this misfortune.

  4. Chuck, you just completely edit out all the good bits, you’re totally biased..We did play some quite a few excruciating games last season, but we did play some exciting ones too. If we could carry on like we did on the last lap of the season gone we could actually do well next season. You’re like one of those old men who used to walk around with sandwich boards many years ago saying things like ‘The end of the world is nigh!; and ‘we’re all doomed!’

    Oops! I thought I posted that first paragraph yesterday but I didn’t. To carry on, I think I will be keeping an eye on Ligue 1 this season, if PSG fail to win the league again after signing Messi on top of Neymar, Mbappe and all the rest, that would be hilarious. The team that beat them llast season, Lille, have a really good manager called Christophe Galtier, If I was the Newcastle owner, I’d definitely give him a go if he was available because he’s been good with two clubs now, St Etienne and Lille. He resigned at the end of last season but he was snapped up by Nice.

  5. Rafa the Gaffer doesn’t seem to be going down very well at Everton so far. In the latest incident, Benitez has told their best player, James Rodiriguez, to pack his bags as he is not to his “idea and taste.” I think that might mean he’s going for the big lad upfront approach like he did at Newcastle. They won’t like that if he is.

  6. I have a friend who’s an Everton supporter and he was definitely not happy when Rafa was appointed manager. He still hasn’t forgiven him for the “little club” comment. Fair play to my friend, though, he says it’s done and he can’t change it so he’ll get behind Rafa now. Although he did add “at least initially”.

    I don’t think Rafa’s going to have an easy run with the Everton fans. With the finance Everton now has behind it they’ll be expecting a trophy or a Champions League place within a couple of years.

    It will indeed be interesting to see how Paris Saint-Germain do in this coming season.

    I was shocked to read Barcelona is now a billion euros in debt.

  7. Look you two, worky

    LOOK you two who find my comments contrary to their own,
    I may in fact be an embarrassment to many nufc fans but they are as much my side as yours and my comments in regard to them are my own, not someone I recently read in the press, including the attempted take-over of the club.
    And yes I was always in favor of they being chosen by Saudi Arabia as their personal representatives, and why not, being there are already clubs that have been bought by non British interest’s, who have done very well under their patronage, of which I suggest for instance Man. City.
    The present situation without the hope of a wealthy benefactor, remains .
    Our future and yours, leaves little to grasp at by joining the other former first division sides Boro and Sunderland, is that what you would like to see ?
    We in turn having the Saudi government as a backer could do just perfect over time backed by Saudi petro dollars .
    However your disagreement just makes no sense knowing well that
    money is the necessary part of the operation, that has certain clubs
    in better shape than their neighbors. no ?
    Well money and good management, which we cannot say we have experienced since Ashleys take-over.
    So get off my back and call for whatever plan you favor or at least show us that you have some sort of plan for the side other than
    joining the other two big side that were a constant members of the top league in the country but have now lapsed into second and third tier clubs.
    Face it we were once the twentieth richest team in the world and a pleasure to watch, with to-days crap teams we put out , due to a lack of a decent coach and a transfer dodging owner where are we rated within the final six in the division, yep! and looking at a season we will find difficulty avoiding relegation once more, sad really !

  8. Hugh, I was listening to ‘Wee’ Pat Nevin very early this morning on the World Service ‘World Football’ show; from the picture he painted it seems to be mostly about the ridiculous wage bill at Barcelona. It isn’t just about Messi as even though they’ve let him go now, they’re still way over the limit on the wages they are paying their players.

    Closer to home though, Willock’s been signed! Even Chuck might be pleased about that? I didn’t think that Arsenal would let him go, or even if they did, I didn’t think it would be at a price that Ashley would accept.

    I don’t think Rafa will have an easy run with Everton fans if he plays the way he did at Newcastle. I’ve said it before but people assume he’s a tippy tappy manager because he’s so Spanish, but he isn’t.

  9. Well i do apologies if anyones feelings have been hurt by some of my blather, but at least I am voicing the fact that Newcastle and it’s surrounding area were and I believe still, believers in the fact we could still be in line to receive the monetary influence of the Saudi government .
    Look the only thing missing is a team, a decent manager and coach, definitely a new owner and enough money to make our side competitive .
    It’s the same for most fans just ask the Man cites fans, or any number of clubs who have been taken over by non local interests
    who’s interests have changed since the declaration of the EPL,
    which was in itself a completely different form of the footballing contingent, an open suggestion that only failed to state it’s true nature “we will all get rich” which has actually happened to certain clubs, unfortunately Newcastle is located in what is now a depressed area in which case they just don’t meet the required
    “Ah let them go broke there’s no money around here anymore”we used to be an area of high employment with steel mills, coal mines ,
    ship-building, arms manufacturing, etc., however “wore Maggie ‘
    decided that we could now become an area where services would take over, but somehow it didn’t work and instead of services there are now phone banks which put a Geordie on a phone and you have to learn a completely different language as few understand it.
    So the only thing left was at the time a decent football side ‘The Entertainers’ which over the years became a nightmare, but what the hell they still attended the games regardless.
    As time passed it became obvious that we were about to become
    a hopeless case due to a cheap ass owner who took any profit he could without there being any riots as there could have been, yeah a lotta bullshit talk about what they intend to actually do, but for the most part was just nonsense as they continued to attend games and pay for it.
    Then surprise surprise, the Saudi of all people come and report they want to buy the club, of course there were those who both loved the idea and those who opposed it (some for deeply hidden political reasons) others who knows ?
    However the bog standard of fans loved it , like a dream come true
    until the opposition began, by who, the football league, the government, who knows ? without really giving a reason, Personally I believe it as more to do with the country’s politics than
    any criminality and used the EPL as there were certain clubs that didn’t want another competitive club, especially from the poor reaches of the EPL to contend with, certainly not one backed by Saudi cash , so here we are sitting and hoping the deal will go through, at least I am, before we become another Boro or S’land’
    Soh ! keep your hopes to yourself as I am in favor of a Saudi takeover at least it’s a trip for the sixty or more thousand fans every other Saturday, who represent the area and would love to be a fan of Newcastle United.


  10. I was really enjoyed the first half of that game today, shame about the second half though, especially the penalty that wasn’t a penalty at all. It seems that no matter how many assistants, cameras, screens and other technology are brought into the game, shite decisions will still be made.

    Chuck, you haven’t upset my feelings but you can’t torture us into turning a blind eye to the awfulness of the Saudi rulers, not to mention the effect it’s had on some fans. As for call centres, I usually get a Geordie voice on the end of the line when I phone the tax office, which came in very handy a few years ago when I was overdue with my tax return, a bit of friendly banter about ‘the lads’ won over the Geordie taxman, got me an extension and saved me a fine. It was the last time being a Toon supporter brought me any joy!

  11. Chuck, I don’t know how much political interference there was in the Saudi takeover thing. The PL never said no to it, they merely let the deal expire, quoting a lack of evidence about the extent of the Saudi government’s involvement with the fund that was attempting to take over NUFC.

    Irrespective of my opinions about the prospective owner, that was gutless by the PL. If they didn’t want the Saudi owners they should have said no and justified the decision properly (and said which rules of the PL’s constitution the prospective deal broke).

  12. It dragged on and didn’t look good but playing advocate for the Premier League and looking at it from the other side for a moment, they said they were waiting for evidence and rather than provide it, the Saudis dragged their heels and eventually pulled out.

  13. Ah ! for god sake stop trying to sound like you were in favor of the Saudi deal ffs., you were both against it or you would have backed it and now I know for sure Worky and his fellow anti Israely Marxist like the former leader of the Labour Party a useless jerk who was constantly thrashed each time he raised a question vs two of the biggest idiot’s from the depths of the Tory party, not to mention it’s former leader Cameron who did more damage to the country with
    Brexit than any prior PM in recent history.
    So don’t tell me I hoped for a bit of cash from the Saudis , no not one of those deals where we end up once again “The Entertainers”
    and “kick ass” each weekend, but just do well in the league.
    Otherwise it’s us and the Mackems and Boro,and that’s a fact . lost in the lower leagues.
    It’s a political Nightmare, though no one is admitting to the fact, hidden within the Tory crowd who in turn used the League as a scapegoat to cover their involvement .
    So much for an independent trader which the UK is about to become and thank goodness they got a reasonable deal from the EU, though as far as being an independent they look tiny to prospective traders and we have no Spanish Armada approaching
    nor hero’s, like Drake who after all was no more than a pirate commonly threaten to hispanic children as “El Drake”when they were naughty.
    Well there will be hell to pay what with the Tories and their non existent plans to become The leaders of a new UK, that is if the Scots don’t do a bunk back into Europe when they decide to leave
    the UK and leave a small whatevers left consisting of England and Wales, Norn Iron having reverted to being once again a whole nation, when the native Irish and big farmers vote to eliminate that small statelet.
    Don’t think it won’t happen, as the plans are in the process of delivering the goods and what will poor robin do then , poor thing ?
    But no one in Newcastle will know the difference, as long as the Toon reman in the top league and can buy the usual talent with good old Saudi Petro-bucks, ah well !


  14. Caught some of the game however it was on very early, awful I’m afraid. we certainly at least stood a 50/5o chance a couple of years ago, but to get hammered by such a poor club is an embarrassment and I don’t want to watch a side get hammered each week, as it is becoming apparent how bad we are and getting worse, thank you Ashley for being so f666666g cheap and Bruce why don’t you resign and take a hike, as the citizens of the surrounding areas deserve a hell of a lot better, than a cheap
    useless manager who only got the job being no one else wanted it.

  15. Chuck, I was not in favour of the deal. I don’t know where you got the idea I was trying to sound like I was. Perhaps you’re mistaking balance for bias.

  16. Chuck, West Ham were 6th last season, your idea that they are a ‘poor club’ is nonsense. We won the first half, it was going well, ‘the Saint’ was magnifiicent and we were 2-1 up in what was a very exciting game. West Ham managed to grab back the initiative in the second half but it was still a anybody’s game at 2-2. Shoulders went down a bit after that total non penalty which put West Ham in front and that’s my criticism. I’m not disheartened by it though, despite the defeat, there were some positive signs.

  17. Yeah ! yeah!yeah!,
    changed your mind folks, think we (nufc) can rise from the dead and add a couple of spots within the top ten, look we will be happy enough meeting the standards of the past league outings and avoiding relegation.
    The is one of the worst situations faced by this club and I’m sure I don’t have to explain why, being I have given my interpretation week in and out as to why, once we get rid of Ashley, with a new owner someone both interested and with enough in the way of dosh, no not asking for a Man Citeh side only one that they can support and who is willing to spend, in supporting a top side, then the fans will show up .
    However to continue with this present owner and his choice of management (talking top to bottom) with mostly to-day full of
    bottom ranked clowns who would find it difficult to run a Whitley Bay team.
    Sorry I have had enough !


  18. Chuck, that’s a huge exaggeration, once again, we’re mid table in the Premier League. I’m old enough to remember Newcastle looking at possible relegation to the third tier. ‘Ossie’ certainly wasn’t on his way to Wembley that season, he finished 20th in Division 2 and that’s just one example of darker days. I would call you a ‘Cassandra’ with all your doom and gloom but unlike you, Cassandra was always right. I’m not happy with the way the club is run neither, but we are still a long, long way from the picture you paint constantly. There are good bits and bad bits, hence the mid table positions, but you only ever see the bad bits, and say that the good bits are bad bits too!

  19. Oh ! following those years where we were relegated and the others when we narrowly escaped what kind of club has this been for the people who constantly show up? yup ! the fans .
    Perhaps we an compare their views with ours, which is its something awful both to watch and shameful the way it has been managed as a business, following Ashleys purchase .
    A cheap and nasty succession, that concentrated on Ashley using
    club money to invest in his major business (the rag trade)l
    Therefor the club suffers by having a poor youth system and poor trining grounds, a poor bunch of players and of you can’t see that and don’t realize were we are now heading losing the first couple to side’s they regularly beat before this guy Ashley took over.
    And any decent offer could take it … which makes Ashley the culprit who accepts these conditions and have no doubt he will eventually
    be forced out if in fact there are no changes, it may be sooner rather than later. being I don’t see the fans as they are now “placid”when a more active role is obviously a role they should consider.

  20. It’s early days, Chuck, and the football certainly isn’t as boring as it used to be, I no longer have the problem of keeping my eyes open through a whole game anyway. The first two games have certainly brought disappointing results, but it’s a long season. The defence certainly hasn’t been perfect and they tended to be tail off later in games but there have been positive sides too.

    I don’t think Ashley has used NUFC money to finance Sports Direct, Fraser’s, or whatever name his business goes by nowadays. What he has done is let them have millions of £s of free advertising over a very long period and invested relatively little in the Toon squad, especially so considering the huge rate of inflation in football whilst he’s been owner.

  21. Yes, I may sound like a Cassandra concerning my attitude to the present circumstances, with more than half the fans agreeing with me , even those who are still attending home games.
    Being we are already in the relegation zone and only played two f*****g games played, well @ this time halfway through the second half , however being a favorite for the second tier says a lot and Ashley is attempting to settle both the crowds @home games and the general public, by spending a bit more than the promise of ten million (don’t forget ten million is chump change that might get you a decent youngster from most teams youth system, instead of a decent player ten years ago)
    Perhaps we should get the old timer transfer geezer back on the train in France where most great players are from.
    Being our best years were enjoyed when he signed those great French crowd pleasers of which Worky is placing his trust in with our present French winger they were lucky enough to sign, however one French ace does not a team make, especially when you have a manager who is the worst in the EPL.
    No we are on our way for the last time with little hope of a return , unless there is a sale as there is not enough money in the NE altogether to purchase for whatever Ashley is asking .
    so enjoy the finality of the situation and try and stay out of the third tier also, being the area can’t seem to find the money to support a top division side.
    Had the government not interfered we may now be leading the league and I don’t get it why we are still an unsold club that has what could be unqualified amounts of people against any sale
    both including the top six or eight within the epl., and we have yet to hear the governments side of things, someone has obviously been paid off.
    And we will never hear the real report or why ?