When Sir Bobby Robson was the manager of the club (1999-2004) we finished 4th, 3rd and 5th in the Premier League in his final three seasons at the club.
That was after his first season – 1999-2000 – when he saved Newcastle when he came in after Ruud Gullit was fired and the club had only one point from the first six games.
But that season we finished in 11th place on 52 points – a magnificent performance by the manager.
Back during Sit Bobby’s time, both Everton and Newcastle were starting to challenge teams like Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea.
But Everton have never been relegated from the Premier League, and since Mike Ashley bought the club, Newcastle have been on a steady decline and relegated twice.
Rafa Benitez – Everton miles ahead of Newcastle in terms of investment
But things have looked up since Rafa Benitez arrived at Newcastle and we are in 10th place in the league table and can overtake the Toffees on Monday night with a win.
Rafa was asked in the Chronicle if Everton and Newcastle are now two big clubs trying to break into the top six in the Premier League:
“No. Everton finished seventh last year.”
“There is a massive difference between teams already in Premier League – Burnley, Bournemouth, Swansea – and those promoted.”
“They already have the money from the TV and are able to attract players.”
“When you are on the brink of dropping out of the Premier League or in the Championship, it is much more difficult to attract players.”
“Everton were ahead of us and are miles away from us in terms of investment.”
“We need to improve to compete, to be consistent in terms of we want to be there.”
“Not just one year where we finish fifth after you could be relegated twice, so it makes no sense.”
“It has to be about the consistency of staying in the Premier League and then competing for something.”
In a normal season with Newcastle having done so well, Mike Ashley would think no real investment is needed in the summer because the players have improved so much this season under Rafa.
This year we are the fifth best performing team in the Premier League behind the current top four clubs.
That’s Mike Ashley’s thinking, and it does not jibe with that of the (very) ambitious Rafa Benitez.
If Mike Ashley stays at Newcastle, he must be prepared to invest in the squad and the club every year even when we are flying high.
But that’s not his nature, and that’s the big problem.
What do you think?