As we come to the witching hour of the 2017/18 premier league season, regular tests have been overcome with many more layers on the horizon.
Whilst we may not be involved seemingly, in the shenanigans that go on with teams that are right in the relegation mix and their unlikely results that have you wondering whether there’s some sort of black magic involved, the final batch of games sees the squad face a different type of battle.
More mental than anything else as seasons before have seen the flip-flops come out and the deck chairs used in advance of the impending Summer break although in truth this was pre-Rafa Benitez.
We beat Arsenal on Sunday and the first test will begin as safety is then guaranteed in my opinion.
Luckily for us, as a club now, we have a manager that will stamp out anyone taking their foot off the gas as any extra placing prize money will surely be an extra on the Summer transfer kitty although, in fairness, there haven’t been any instances yet as the team shows spirit not seen in years.
The next test after a likely looking survival battle is to keep hold of the likes of Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey as they will be big players next season for whatever rung Rafa has in mind on the ladder for next time out, closely followed by the strengthening of the departments that our Spanish general will have earmarked as important to take that next step.
I know publically, Rafa will be taking the next game as the next important step but privately he will have pencilled in his schedule or plan for the weeks ahead and one more win will allow that then to be written in ink.
This Summer has to see our transfer record broken and a proper net spend on upgrading the squad as Mike Ashley has got away with murder on many occasions and the test for our fans is to not listen to the forthcoming takeover rumours that will surface again or dominate the already World Cup filled Summer break. Ashley or whoever has their name above the door of St James’ Park, has a big test ahead and that is to back up the manager and allow us to trade our wares well away from safety battles.
We’ll see how this pans out.