Steve McClaren's disastrous reign as Newcastle United boss set the tone for what was to be one of the worst seasons's in the club’s 123-year history.
Many fans were very doubtful about the initial employment of McClaren after he failed to guide Derby County to the Premier League the season before, having been favourites to secure a promotion spot.
McClaren's nine-month tenure at the club was put to rest after a 3-1 home defeat to newly promoted Bournemouth. The sacking was imminent as he had only managed 24 points in 28 games and left the club with a -25 goal difference; the second worst in the league.
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They needed to find a replacement, and fast, if they had any chance of staying up, but unfortunately for them, McClaren’s successor couldn’t pull off what would have been a remarkable recovery.
However, Rafael Benitez is the man to guide the Magpies back to the Premier League following their relegation to the Championship.
Benitez wouldn’t have expected to end up where he has after starting the season in sunny Spain, but Newcastle fans will be thrilled that his short time at Madrid ended the way it did and when it did.
Despite not securing survival, Benitez has without a doubt won over the Newcastle faithful, and will be aiming for a record-breaking season in the Championship in the season to come.
Over the last few weeks, Newcastle have had a very contradictive transfer period, notably completing two very exciting transfers, but also losing a very key player.
They managed to bring in Dwight Gayle for £10 million after he was left frustrated at the lack of first-team football under Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace.
The Magpies also managed to steal wide man Matt Ritchie from Bournemouth for £12m as he thoroughly impressed in his debut Premier League season, but there is a downfall to that signing.
It isn’t the official reason, but it could be suggested that they brought Ritchie as a replacement for the departed Andros Townsend, who oppositely to counterpart Dwight Gayle, completed his switch from Newcastle to Crystal Palace in a deal worth around £13 million.
Benitez expressed his desire for Townsend to stay at the club after a very successful six-month spell at the club. Townsend managed to inject a bit more optimism into the squad, but it wasn’t enough to keep them in the top flight.
If Newcastle had stayed up, he would have been at the heart of it with four goals and two assists in only 12 starts.
Even though big players like Moussa Sissoko and Georginio Wijnaldum are both subjects of a move away from St. James’ Park, with the talent and experience they have, plus new additions to the side, Newcastle still have more than enough to dominate the Championship and repeat their 2009-10 campaign with an immediate return to the top flight.
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