Today sees Newcastle United face Chelsea in a season-ending game that means different things to different people.
Chelsea come searching for a victory that would see them qualify for the champions league in the unlikely event that current 4th placed side Liverpool lose at home to Brighton, so they’ll be well up for the match whilst we need a result for varying reasons although none that have any real damage to our future well being.
For us, today will be seen as a test against one of the best sides in the division whilst paying tribute to the job that Rafa Benitez, his staff and the players have all done in getting us to point in our recent existence where it’s the end of an era. An era that has seen struggles and attempts to rectify mistakes that were as regular as rain.
Newcastle under Mike Ashley has always been set up to just do enough to survive in the Premier League but in recent years that all went wrong. We struggled for a few seasons and eventually succumbed to relegation. With Rafa here now, he has got us back into the Premier League and consolidated so the plan from here on in must surely change.
The increase in TV and prize money will allow us to provide enough capital for our world-class manager to work with and he’s said it himself, that it’s not so much about the amount of money he’s allowed to have, it’s the ability to spend it as he wishes and when he sees fit.
Whilst the highest placing we can finish is 10th and a cause for a celebration, it is not because finishing 10th is such a big deal in the overall bigger picture, it is because of the context of where we’ve been in recent seasons of the soul being stripped away from the club and the emergence of Rafa’s Magpies but after today the expectation will rise and rightly so.
Hopefully, the correct amount of transfer funds are released in order for the job to be attempted and whether Ashley realises this or not, he has a chance that he hasn’t had before in his whole ownership of us in that there really could be a brighter future ahead.