Considering Newcastle have finished in the top and bottom halves of the Premier League ten times apiece since first entering the Sky brand in August 1993, it’s fair to state that Alan Pardew’s men ending last season in tenth place represented par.
The spread of the Magpies’ top-flight finishes over their 20 Premier League campaigns has been bewildering, with multiple second, third, fifth, 11th, 12th and 13th places claimed as well as relegation just six seasons ago when unable to prevent being mired in 18th.
Truly we can say that there has never been a more difficult team to predict in the 22-year history of the competition, although with a little further scrutiny there is something resembling a pattern to their Premier League odyssey so far.
If we were to break down the 21 seasons since Newcastle first reclaimed top-flight status – in 1993/94 – into seven three-year cycles, then potential betting lessons do indeed become apparent.
The Geordies have finished third, second, 11th, third, seventh, 18th and fifth in the first years of each of the aforementioned consecutive cycles.
That’s five top-seven finishes in seven seasons over two decades, with their 1999/2000 11th far from a terrible effort considering they were only six points off sixth.
Relegation in 2008/09 is clearly the fly in this particular betting ointment, but Newcastle imploding like they did six years ago, when owner Mike Ashley went through comedy managerial trio Kevin Keegan, Joe Kinnear and Alan Shearer, is completely unforeseeable.
These stats strongly point to a punt on Pardew’s men bagging another top-ten finish this season at 6/4 with bwin.com, while 12/1 on a top-six berth will no doubt be snapped up by the more optimistic among us.
At 3/4, Newcastle also look a lock to be north-east top dogs ahead of 2/1 Sunderland and 4/1 Hull.