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In spite of late season tailspin, this season should not end like 2009

Newcastle United will never be relegated. That was the feeling of supporters as the 2008-09 season trudged along through turmoil, multiple managers and finally heartbreak at Villa Park. NUFC is in a bit of a free fall, but still in better shape right now than team was in 2009.

Michael Steele/Getty Images

Newcastle supporters looked on disbelief as the seconds counted down at Villa Park.

This is not happening. It was disbelief for many while others openly sobbed. Newcastle United would no longer be a Premiership team.

A Magpies team comprised of -- and this is still hard to believe -- Michael Owen and Obafami Martins at forward, Joey Barton, Damien Duff and Kevin Nolan in midfield and newcomer Fabricio Coloccini in the center of defense, along with Steven Taylor, Jose Enrique and Sebastien Bassong.

That group of players went on a cold streak never seen before or since at NUFC.

Newcastle defeated Tottenham on Dec. 21 under new manager Joe Kinnear, who'd been hired at the end of November following the departure of Kevin Keegan because of his disillusionment with owner Mike Ashley and the board, which went behind his back and signed a player named Xisco that he'd never sanctioned.

Amazingly, in Joe's first few weeks at the helm, Newcastle played pretty well. The Magpies won at Portsmouth and followed it up with a victory over Tottenham. It was Dec. 21 of 2008 and this is how Newcastle looked in the table.

(Standing after W on Dec. 21, 2008)
11)Wigan Played: 17   GD: +1 Pts: 22
12)NUFC Played: 18   GD: -1  Pts: 22
13)Sunderland Played: 18  GD: -1  Pts: 21

It wasn't great, but with two wins in a row and a chance to make it three in a row with a win at Wigan on Boxing Day and things looked to be looking up for Newcastle. The Magpies lost at Wigan 2-1 and that began a 6-game winless run that ended with a win over West Brom on February 27.

(Standing after W on Feb. 27, 2009)
14)Tottenham Played: 26   GD: -4 Pts: 28
15)NUFC Played: 26   GD: -9  Pts: 28
16)Portsmouth           Played: 26  GD: -14  Pts: 28

All three of these teams were just three points above the drop zone at this point in the season. Luckily for Newcastle, it had a workable goal differential which, if needed, would probably come in handy as long as Newcastle built from its win over West Brom.

But it never did.

Newcastle would not taste victory again until May 11 ending the now infamous 10-match unbeaten run. Kinnear was forced to leave because of health reasons and Alan Shearer was brought in on April 1 to try and stop the rot.

It ended with a 3-1 win over Middlesboro, which gave Newcastle hope to achieve enough points in its final two matches to pull itself out of the fire. Here's where things stood following the Middlesboro win:

(Standing after W on May 11, 2009)
16)Sunderland Played: 36   GD: -17 Pts: 36
17)NUFC Played: 36   GD: -17  Pts: 34
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
16)Portsmouth        Played: 36  GD: -24  Pts: 34

Newcastle failed to get a point in either of those two matches and were ultimately leapfrogged by Hull to end up relegated.

Why must we trudge through this past? To show that even with Newcastle playing as bad as they have been, the team already has 35 points and is currently in 14th spot. This was secured by Newcastle's strong surge October and November. That should be enough to ultimately carry the lads to the end of this nightmare. Really all the lads need to secure Premiership status for another season is two points -- two draws in their last five matches. The one thing that is a little troubling is the three teams below Newcastle have played one less match right now, but worst-case scenario, a point to get NUFC to 36 keep it over the drop line.

Here is where NUFC is right now

13)West Brom  Played: 33  GD: -13  Pts: 36
14)NUFC           Played: 33   GD: -20  Pts: 35
15)Aston Villa Played: 33   GD: -21   Pts: 32
16)Sunderland Played: 32   GD: -23  Pts: 29
17)Hull City Played: 32   GD: -16   Pts: 28
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
18)Leicester     Played: 32  GD: -17  Pts: 28

It's always darkest before the dawn. Newcastle could use a little sunlight in these final months. Here's a video to brighten your week.