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Darkness surrounds Newcastle, but light is at the end of the tunnel - Opinion

In October it was a dream come true for many Newcastle United fans. The ex-owner, Mike Ashley was no longer in charge of the club as the Premier League finally passed the deal.

It was a lift on Tyneside, not only did it mean Ashley was gone, but new ambitious owners gave a much-needed boost of optimism.

However, the Toon Army’s season thus far has still been a rough one to stomach. The club sits 19th in the league and have just come off a 4-0 loss to out of form Leicester City. In addition, the Magpies have statistically the worst defence in the Premier League, leaking 34 goals.

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Rebuilding a club is a marathon, not a sprint

It was very easy to get carried away when the new owners came in. With more ambition and seemingly no fear to spend, the talks of big names were on a lot of lips.

Having said that, Newcastle United has been a neglected club for well over a decade now. The previous regime quite often did the bare minimum to keep the club afloat. So it’s no surprise that with this approach, Ashley saw more relegations than any other Newcastle owner.

It’s evident that the new owners have taken on a club that needs a lot put into it. Investment is going to be put into a lot of different aspects such as transfers, training facilities and the youth academy. Furthermore, these are not things that can be changed overnight, it’s a long-term process.

The owners have started to shape and form the vision of their club, having said that’s still a lot of Ashley’s mess they still need to clean up.

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Relegation has been a matter of not if, but when

For many fans, this feels like the season that Magpies will sink down into the Championship. Sadly, the discussion of relegation fights have been much more frequent under previous owner Mike Ashley. Since the return to the Premier League in the 2017/18 season under Rafa Benitez, relegation has always loomed.

Under Benitez, he managed to achieve solid 10th and 13th positioned finishes with limited resources. There had been periods where it did seem there was the possibility of relegation, but a disciplined defence was one of Newcastle’s strong points.

However, after the expiry of the Spaniard’s contract, Steve Bruce came in. This appointment was a reflection on what the Mike Ashley era really was. Bruce’s tenure always seemed that despite performances being outright awful at times, lady luck would find a way to keep Newcastle in roughly the same position as before.

What must be noted is that last season the Magpies seemed doomed. The arrival of Joe Willock in January really seemed to change things, the 12th place finish was not a fair representation of last season. The vast majority of that campaign was battling for survival along with Fulham, but results went in their favour and pushed them up the league.

The neglect in last summer’s window may have been the final straw for Newcastle this season. No new faces were brought in, Willock was signed on a permanent deal but no new squad additions joined. So unfortunately for the new owners, they’ll have to manage this sinking ship that could well plummet into the Championship.

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One step back, two steps forward

Relegation will not doom Newcastle United for eternity. The club has managed to bounce back both times under Ashley, so surely better owners can do the same?

Additionally, the funds will be available for the season ahead. A bigger budget will mean Amanda Stavely and co can help build a team to escape out of the Championship. We’ve seen teams like Wolves in the past attract players such as Ruben Neves to the second tier, perhaps the Magpies could do the same?

Having said that, the downside is there is an almost definite possibility of losing some fan favourites. The two that come to mind are Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson. Both men have proven they’re top-flight quality and are likely to attract many clubs.

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There is no doubt that the state of Newcastle currently is not a great one. This season has been extremely poor with very little to shout about. You can’t help feel that relegation is on the cards, but it’s not all darkness and despair.

We’re still in the early days of the new ownership and they clearly have a vision. Rebuilding the club will take a while to do so, considering the rotten state.

However, long term there’s a lot to look forward to on Tyneside. It will just take time for everything to come together, as the old saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

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