Optimism and Newcastle United have not often been bedfellows in recent seasons, but a new manager and some exciting signings will mean they start this campaign in just such a mindset.
Come the end of the first, longed for, home game of the season, their parade is expected to remain unrained-upon, at least metaphorically (the vagaries of the British summer meaning a sousing can seldom be regarded as out of the question).
They could certainly have been handed easier opponents for the occasion, with last term’s seventh-placed finishers Southampton afforded 17/0 favouritism on Tyneside.
Yet the Saints have a little discussed secret shame that is enough to make the hosts look like quite a way to make a living at 9/5 for victory.
Namely, the dodgy Premier League away form that saw only five sides finished last season having lost more road games than Ronald Koeman’s men.
They went seven away matches without a win at the crux of the 2014/15 campaign, losing all but one of those outings.
Even with the Magpies under the madcap stewardship of John ‘Bubbles’ Carver last January they were extremely fortunate to chisel a 2-1 victory at St James’ Park.
Steve McClaren is in charge now and his pedigree promises far better things that than the self-styled ‘best coach in the Premier League’.
Newcastle’s talent pool has been significantly bolstered since the days of ‘The Knife’ and their new manager’s first competitive selection will have the added advantage of playing a side who travelled to the Netherlands on Europa League-qualifying duty less than four days ago.
Their first taste of the vicissitudes of a Thursday-Sunday schedule will have to be negotiated without their manager, who will cede the hotseat to his brother and assistant Erwin in order to recover from surgery on a ruptured cruiciate ligament.
Without his guidance, injured mainstays of last season Fraser Forster and Ryan Bertrand and four days after a continental away trip, Southampton look three points ripe for the plucking.