When the Championship season started in early August Newcastle had the shortest odds in history before a season had even kicked off – for a club to win the Championship – and those odds on Sky Bet were at 9/4.
And Newcastle made an extremely worrying start to the season with two defeats at Fulham and at home to Huddersfield in our first two games.
But 15 wins in the last 17 games in all competitions with only one defeat have seen the Magpies surge to the top of the Championship table 3 points ahead of an impressive Brighton side and 8 points ahead of 3rd placed Huddersfield Town.
We also visit Hull City in the quarter finals of the EFL Cup at the end of the month.
Rafa Benitez with his Newcastle coaching staff
And try to get those odds of 9/4 now on Newcastle winning the Championship – no chance.
This is what Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery has said about Newcastle today, after Rafa has just won the Sky Bet Manager of the Month award for October:
“Our traders were amazed at how short the odds on Newcastle to win this year’s Championship were entering the season, with the Magpies priced at just 9/4.
“It was widely acknowledged that they would have an extremely strong squad and a big budget, as well as a fantastic home advantage due to their huge fan base.”
“But the club was out of the winning mentality and falling into a division widely considered as the most difficult in world football.”
“Benitez deserves huge credit for keeping the squad together and employing a style of play that is suited to the Championship, encompassed for me by their gritty 1-0 win at Rotherham to start the month.
“The 9/4 that was available at the start of the season seems generous these days, with Rafa’s men now 1/3 to bring home the Championship title in May.”
There is a long way to go before the end of the season and there’s no way Rafa Benitez will let our players get carried away or over-confident.
His approach is to take only one game at a time and concentrate on how to win that game – and that philosophy is working well and it keeps our players on their toes with their feet on the ground. (is that possible?)
Here’s the latest placings at the top of the Championship with our next game a very tough one at Elland Road against an in-form Leeds United side a week on Sunday after the International break.
That game will have close to 40,000 in attendance – a complete sell-out.