THE BLOG

Why Next Season Will Be Make or Break for Newcastle United

01/07/2015 22:48 BST | Updated 01/07/2016 10:59 BST

A prodigious ROOAARRR reverberated around St James' Park on the final day of last season as Jonas Guttierez struck home to save Newcastle United's Premier League status.

A real football story. The Argentinian cult hero came back from a battle with testicular cancer to save his side from the dreaded drop - cue rapturous celebrations and joy from Magpies fans.

A brilliant tale and really, what football is all about. Even some Sunderland fans may have raised a wry smile, even if they would never admit it.

But despite all the exhilarating pandemonium on Tyneside after the ball hit the back of the net, one could not help but think that 'it should have never really gotten to this stage.'

And it shouldn't.

After 12 games Newcastle were sitting pretty in fifth place, having won five of their first twelve games. Then... well the rest is history and culminates in Guttierez's heroic final-day strike.

But for a club that averaged just over 50,000 attendance even during such a poor season, do the fans not deserve just a little bit better?

Well, that's where Steve McClaren comes in. The new Magpies boss is set to usher in a new era at St. James' Park: one of transparency, attractive football and one where the club owner doesn't seem hell bent on destroying a century old organisation in the name of profit.

Mike Ashley's first ever interview as owner of the club on the final day of the 2014/15 season was a breath of fresh air and hopefully, a sign of better things to come.

Many Toon fans are understandably skeptical of the man who has previously rebranded their historic stadium as the 'Sports Direct Arena' and slapped Wonga on the revered black and white stripes but so far, the signs seem to be positive.

Newcastle haven't yet officially yet signed anybody, but Ashley seems to be making good on his promises of squad investment - at least in theory.

The Magpies have been linked with the likes of Bas Dost and Charlie Austin throughout the summer, while more recently Marco van Ginkel, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Stewart Downing have also been associated with a move to Tyneside.

Undoubtedly, these are the sorts of names that will help McCalren get his career off to a flying start. Ashley could make a remarkable assertion of intent by backing his new head coach with a decent transfer kitty - something that he will be acutely aware of.

Which brings us nicely on to the ambitions of the owner himself, something that has often been derided by many who believe that he is using the club as a means to a financial end.

Of course, to some extent this will be the case. He is a billionaire and one does not accumulate that much wealth by entering into business transactions without the near-certainty that you will come out with more money than you started with.

The difference now however, is that Ashley has promised Newcastle fans that he will win something as owner of the club. And now that he has done so, the club simply has to win some sort of accolade. For if they do not, if nothing else, he will have failed - and rich businessmen do not take failure lightly.

Looking from the outside in the man may not look like a fiercely competitive specimen, but as a billionaire he is generally used to getting what he wants and if he wants Newcastle to win something, then he will do all he can to make it happen.

To help him do so he has taken on Steve McClaren, a manager who has in the past performed miracles, but at other times has been pilloried as he seemed to only exacerbate his own downfall (yes, the brolly).

Perhaps the era of McClaren's past that should be focused upon most closely in relation to Newcastle is that of his time at Middlesbrough. His time at the Riverside was characterised by brilliant signings and instilling the belief in a side that would simply never give up - embodied by their charge towards the 2006 UEFA Cup final.

He has been hit and miss since then. An Eredivisie win with FC Twente bodes well, but poor spells with Wolfsburg and Nottingham Forest mean there will always be question marks above his head.

More recently he transformed Derby into one of the Championship's most destructive sides and was incredibly unlucky not to be promoted in 2014 before his head was turned by Newcastle in 2015 and the Rams' form took a nosedive.

So, the jury's out: McClaren will either be brilliant or he'll be terrible. Only time will tell if Newcastle are about to head into a bright, new triumphant aeon.

Whatever happens, Toon fans can take something from the fact that next year can hardly be any worse than last season, can it?

For more fan views or to join the conversation visit www.90min.com