The Roar
The Roar



Why Newcastle's Champions League rise would be the greatest achievement of the year

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Roar Rookie
18th April, 2023

Newcastle United are currently fourth in the Premier League with three points and with a game in hand above nearest rivals Tottenham Hotspur. This time last year they were fourteenth, halfway through last season, they were second bottom.

If Newcastle keep their Champions League place, it would be the greatest achievement of the year, even if Arsenal win their first league title since 2004.

Of course, there is one obvious reason why Newcastle are doing so well. On October 7th, 2021, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund completed their long-awaited takeover of the club, ending 14 diabolical years under Mike Ashley. This reportedly made the club, at the time second bottom in the Premier League, the richest in the world.

It was expected that Newcastle would spend big on large names and shoot up the Premier League with a budget that no one else, not even Manchester City, could compete with. If that was the case, then their current position would not be a surprise.

However, Newcastle have not been rash, as they were expected to be. In fact, they were smart, and only spent money when they were sure that the player fitted their vision. The first thing they did just one week after the takeover, was sack manager Steve Bruce, who was clearly not capable of taking where the Saudis wanted. In came Eddie Howe, who revolutionised a squad that looked set for relegation.

It wasn’t just the manager that changed though. Their first signing, Kieran Trippier, has been one of the best players in the Premier League this season. Dan Burn, bought for €15.00m is currently one of the best left-backs in the league. That was in January 2022, and more players came in in the summer of that year. Sven Botman and Nick Pope have both been seen as smart deals, resulting in the second-best defence in the league.


Yes, money has certainly been spent, money that Mike Ashley wouldn’t have brought, but it was spent remarkably wisely.

The team now is remarkably different to what was there before the takeover. They have gone from a dysfunctional rabble to a coherent group that will be playing in Europe next season. The change came almost straight away, finishing eleventh last season, ending in incredible form. That form has continued to where they are now.

Yet it isn’t just Newcastle who have performed a lot better than expected this season. Aston Villa’s rise has been a lot more recent than Newcastle’s, but a very impressive one nonetheless. Despite the quality of the roster they had available, the Villains struggled under Steven Gerrard. When Unai Emery (who was initially courted by Newcastle) replaced Gerrard in October of last year, the club radically improved, and are now occupying sixth place.

Similar, has been the rise of Brighton. Graham Potter’s September departure forced a change of manager, so the club brought in little-known Italian Roberto De Zerbi. His modern style of football has brought the Seagulls – typically low achievers – up to seventh.

A final, and arguably the greatest overachiever, has been Arsenal. The Gunners have steadily improved under Spaniard Mikel Arteta to first in the league. That being said, I think Newcastle’s achievement would be more deserving of any award due to the sheer transformation from stragglers to fighters that has taken place under Howe.