Two years ago Mike Ashley allowed some big money to be spent in the summer transfer window and we brought in players like Georginio Wijnaldum, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Chancel Mbemba and Florian Thauvin.
And then we signed players like Andros Townsend and Jonjo Shelvey in January of last year, but we were still relegated.
Newcastle got off to a terrible start under new manager Steve McClaren in the summer of 2015, and things went downhill from there.
And even though we had a very decent squad it took 9 games to get our first win (6-2 against Norwich City at home) and that took us up to 6 points for the season.
Jamaal Lascelles – we have drive and hunger
Today we have 14 points and four wins in our first 9 games back in the Premier League under Rafa Benitez.
What McClaren couldn’t do that season was motivate his players and as soon as we were a goal down that was almost it, and we would end up losing the game, often by conceding far too many goals.
That’s not the case since Rafa Benitez joined the club and our players have the will to win, with guts and spirit in great abundance.
McClaren won only 6 games in 28 Premier League games for 24 points when he was finally sacked by Lee Charnley and replaced by Rafa Benitez a year last March.
But it was too late, and we were relegated.
Rafa picked up 13 points in the final 10 games of the season, and 12 of those were in the last 6 games.
That was after he had worked out what the problems with the team were.
Captain Jamaal Lascelles has summed it up nicely in the Chronicle today about this Newcastle advantage:
“A lot of these big teams have a lot of talent and expensive players who play for their countries.
“But if you don’t have that drive and hunger, and whatever else you aren’t going to succeed.
“That’s how we are playing it.
“And you look at Huddersfield and they got a good result the other day, so anything can happen.”
“It is literally about who turns up on the day.”
Rafa is an excellent tactical coach who seems to be able to motivate his players every single day.
That’s one reason he is one of the best managers in the world.
We could even shock ourselves this season by finishing high up in the Premier League.
We hope that’s the case.
Top eight would be an excellent finish.