Devil's Advocate: Newcastle did well this year

Was it really all that bad? - Julian Finney

This isn't a popular opinion, but it might be worth considering that Newcastle did just fine this last season.

Season Review Week has been a bit of a downer. Who wants to relive THAT season, right? We had a look at our beginning of predictions and had a great laugh. I know my contribution to the year end roundtable borders on angry. And why shouldn't it be?The rundown to the season was awful. There was the walk out. Newcastle twitter is a strange mix of bitter, cynical, and flat out hate towards the club.

But, I'm wondering if maybe it wasn't all that bad.

The ending of, well, anything, can sour you on the entire experience. I once stopped reading my favorite author for a year after the ending of one of his books (Dean Koontz, for those curious). The series finales of long running shows such as Lost or How I Met Your Mother can leave a bad taste in your mouth if they don't stick the landing. And, when it comes to Newcastle, they didn't just not stick the landing; they missed the mat.

But, that's the ending of the season. The ending spent largely without Loic Remy, spent entirely without Yohan Cabaye. When Newcastle beat Manchester United, they were seventh in the league. At the halfway mark, the Mags were sixth. If we are to look at the season as a whole, we have to remember that this season did include a lot of good. There was legit talk of the club making a push for a European spot.

If you look at the season as a whole, there is something to be proud of. Let's do a year-by-year comparison to last year.

2012-13 2013-14
Place 16 10
Points 41 49
Goals Scored 45 43
Goals Allowed 68 59
Goal Differential -23 -16

Newcastle finished six places higher, added eight points, and allowed 11 fewer goals than they did a year ago. They scored two fewer goals. Newcastle won more games this year (15 compared to 11) than last.

Now, you're probably saying, "Big whoop. Newcastle did better than a season that they nearly got relegated. Let's pop champagne." You are saying this sarcastically, because the numbers still aren't great. But, they are better. They didn't regress, they didn't stay stuck, they improved in several metrics.

Now consider that during the last two transfer windows, Newcastle has done nothing to help themselves. No permanent transfers. Loic Remy was brought in, but that was only a loan. Luuk de Jong didn't even help anything and he's not a permanent transfer. Newcastle basically said from their nearly relegated year that the squad was ok, and rolled the dice. This hasn't gone unnoticed. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers mentioned it last week, basically calling the job Pardew did to be remarkable.

Fans were angry when Alan Pardew received his bonus for finishing in the Top 10. But, recall, that was the goal the club set for itself. The club then hampered itself by not doing anything in the transfer window (except selling their best player). It was frustrating as can be, but it may just be that the club was being realistic about what they could achieve this season.

Maybe "well" is to strong of a word for the title of this piece. Newcastle did "alright". They did "OK". I just don't feel that, as a whole, the season was terrible.

The ending was awful, but the season as a whole can't be considered a waste. Now it's up to the club to make some moves in the transfer window and continue to improve and make next season better than this last one.

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