For long suffering Newcastle United fans, 2015 has been a year to forget on the pitch. Good fortune has evaded the Magpies all year and seems to continue to hound them as they let slip an injury-time goal to Everton despite a solid performance on Boxing Day and followed it up with a narrow defeat to West Brom just two days later.
The Fall of Pardew
All the underlying problems got even worse when Alan Pardew finally left the club on January 2 to join Crystal Palace.
Whilst many of the Toon Army had been calling for Pardew's resignation, the performances of the club crumbled further as John Carver was unable to fire up the struggling squad in the second half of the 2014/15 season.
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To make matters worse, Newcastle once again put in an underwhelming performance in the F.A. Cup, being knocked out by Leicester City. With rumours of a divided dressing room and players not willing to commit themselves fully on the pitch, Newcastle found themselves in yet another relegation battle which they narrowly escaped from on the final day of the season.
The Magpies found themselves in transfer difficulties. At the end of the January window, the loan and subsequent sale of promising Davide Santon to Inter served to undermine an already unstable Newcastle defence, which struggled to recover.
The despicable release of Jonas Gutierrez and fan-favourite Ryan Taylor enraged the Newcastle faithful, at the end of a disappointing 2014/15 season.
Yet, despite all these troubles, St. James' Park rocked to capacity throughout the season. The fans were rewarded with a last moment survival story - unlike Damien Duff's tragic own goal to relegate the Toon back in 2009.
The Toon Army still had hopes of a respectable finish for the next season and the appointment of Steve McClaren, fresh from his Derby County nightmare was greeted with mixed reactions.
Then came the signings. Mike Ashley, well known for his reluctance to bring in new star signings appeared to have got the message when McClaren brought in Georginio Wijnaldum from PSV for £14.5m and Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic from Belgian side Anderlecht - both on long-term, five-year deals. The late addition of French winger Florian Thauvin from Marseille further boosted hopes for the upcoming campaign.
These hopes so far this season, have been tantalisingly fed with glimmers of an outstanding team, but kept undernourished by oodles of misfortune and poor results.
The first win of the season came through a surprise demolition of Norwich City, 6-2 despite solid performances against Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.
These performances came at a cost however as the injury list mounted up. The loss of Tim Krul whilst on international duty for the Netherlands was a particularly substantial blow for Newcastle, although Rob Elliot has put in some sublime performances of late.
The New Year: A New-Newcastle?
So what can Newcastle fans hope for the rest of the season? Few would argue that the Toon deserve to be in the relegation zone. Their luck thus far has been horrendous; for every good piece of fortune, a barrage of bad seems to follow. Newcastle are not far off hitting their stride though.
The transfer window might see a revival of form. The squad as it is, is highly promising with the new signings putting in some sterling performances.
An experienced defender would be a welcome addition to the side to sure up an inconsistent back four which only Sunderland have conceded more than.
Transfer rumours around Charlie Austin have never ceased which may suggest that McClaren would favour outscoring the opposition and would certainly lead to some entertaining football on show.
But Newcastle need results. Even though they find themselves near the bottom, there are few, if any, alarm bells are ringing... yet. But points are what are most needed for Newcastle United, and 2015 has clearly not been their year.
With a new year on the horizon, there are new opportunities Newcastle will need to seize to remain in the Premier League and continue the rebuilding process.
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