A soundtrack of boos boomed around St James’ Park as the Newcastle United players fled the field following last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield Town.
It was their second straight Championship loss of the campaign, though they remain 3/1 favourites to win the title.
Being turned over twice by teams who weren’t expected to be in the promotion shake up will have certainly knocked the confidence of Toon backers believing a return to the Premier League would be a formality for the Tynesiders, but history says there’s no real need to panic.
Not only have the Magpies got the finest manager the Championship has ever known and a bankroll far bigger than almost all of their rivals, a few supportive stats can quell rising fears about the club failing to land their primary objective.
Since 2000/01, four teams have recovered from two successive losses to win promotion.
Considering three slots are allocated for teams to move up a division each season, this doesn’t sound like many, but only 11 teams achieved the feat having won their opening pair of matches across the same period.
Their title-winning prospects may have taken a dent by this sluggish start though, with north-east nemeses Sunderland the only team to finish first after enduring successive defeats to begin a campaign.
The Black Cats in fact lost five from five across all competitions to kick off 2006/07 as Niall Quinn got to grips with the difficulties of football management. Countryman Roy Keane came to his rescue, reversing fortunes in an incredible season that saw them top the table by two points after 46 games.
It was as recent as 2012/13 when Crystal Palace won the play-offs after suffering defeat in their first two matches, exactly as Burnley had done in 2008/09.
Bournemouth are the only side since 2011/12 to go up after winning fixtures one and two, dousing the rising optimism of QPR, Bristol City, Huddersfield and Fulham fans after their respective sides’ flawless starts.
This decade, the most common combination of results from the first two games amongst the teams who were ultimately promoted was a win and a draw, with eight out of 21 teams collecting four points from six.
It lends favour to Norwich City (11/10 to be promoted), Brighton and Hove Albion (5/2), Wolverhampton Wanderers (9/2), Birmingham City (14/1) and Sheffield Wednesday (333/100).
For those who haven’t lost faith, Newcastle can be backed for an immediate return to the Championship at 83/100.