When Brighton gained a well deserved automatic promotion on 17th April by beating Wigan 2-1 at home they had won five games in a row and had gone 7 points ahead of Newcastle at the end of round 43 of games – and just 3 games to play.
Brighton were away at Norwich, home to Bristol City and away at Aston Villa on the last day and they needed 3 points from those 3 games to ensure they went up as Champions.
So two of the last three games were at clubs relegated with Newcastle last May.
It looked like Newcastle had thrown the Championship away after we had dropped 2 points to Leeds United at home on Good Friday and 3 points at Ipswich Town on Easter Monday – 5 points dropped in two successive games.
Rafa Benitez – pleased with two wins on the trot
We did gain automatic promotion in our 44th game this season when we hammered Preston 4-1 at home so all was forgiven.
And if we couldn’t go up as Champions well at least the main goal of an automatic promotion spot was reached in our first season down below.
Then on Friday night the lads had a very good 2-0 win at Cardiff City and suddenly we were only a single point behind Brighton, but they had a game in the hand.
They lost that game in hand later yesterday afternoon when they were surprisingly beaten 1-0 at home by relegation threatened Bristol City, after losing 2-0 at Norwich on the Friday (21st April) in their previous game after they had gained promotion.
Rafa was asked in the Chronicle about our recent record after the game at Cardiff and before the Brighton game against Bristol City:
“I’m really pleased, because I think the players were doing so well all season, especially away, that it was a pity not to have broken the record before.
“To do it after the promotion and be closer to Brighton is quite positive for everyone.” “After promotion we gave them a day off,”
“During the week they were training well. I think they were quite focused.”
“You could see, especially in the second half, that we played very good football.”
“Something that they have is experience,” “We did our job. We’re happy with that.”
“Also, when you play away, always it’s good for your fans if you can win, and especially if it’s a long, long trip.”
“I think that the fans were delighted and hopefully they can go back even happier.”
“I don’t think I’ll bother to watch the Brighton game tonight.”
“I will try to enjoy the evening with the family if I can. “I can’t change anything. Why do I have to be there suffering or not suffering? “
“It depends on them. We have to wait.”
Newcastle seem back in form with both Ciaran Clark and Isaac Hayden back in the side and we must be favorites to now win the Championship with a celebration crowd of over 52.000 at St. James’ Park on the very last day of a successful season as we say a fond goodbye to the Championship.
If Newcastle win then we are Champions, unless Brighton can win at Aston Villa and they have lost only three games at Villa Park all season.
And you can bet that Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce wants a (very) good performance and result to go into the summer transfer window with some real momentum as he prepares the Villa club for a real promotion attempt on the Championship next season
So with any luck we can go up as Champions and that would be absolutely fabulous – it would be icing on the cake.
And we’d all have to thank manager Rafa Benitez for his absolute brilliance this season – with more to come next term back in the Premier League.
It all sounds very good to ys.
🙂 🙂 🙂