Rob Lee's Saudi rich Toon Army - season three


And Newcastle are in Europe… or are they?


A big turnaround for the club this season, with consistency being a key, as ‘The Toon’ dumbfounded critics to secure a second-place finish – the club’s best finish since the Keegan/Dalglish days of the 90s.


Entering the season, a Europa League finish would have been very welcome, but the club went one better and, thanks to a seven-game winning streak to end the season, guaranteed their place in the elite competition for next season. What does this do for the club? It means we have increased spending power and reputational pull for season four!


The team's performance was consistent throughout the season, with the side being particularly strong at the back, Issa Diop being key all season long, and the addition of Dean Henderson further enhancing the back line. The one let down, and perhaps the one that cost us a real tilt at the title (we finished eight points behind Liverpool) was that my strikers failed to impress. Julian Alvarez, didn’t push on at all, finishing with six goals total, Adeyemi was in and out, and in the end it came down to Timo Werner, who finished on 18 goals in the Prem, after I switched him from left wing. I’ve already taken steps to improve that for next season, as I have secured Robert Lewandowski on a free transfer from Ajax.


The FA Cup ended up being a bust going out in the third round, albeit losing to Spurs. In all honesty we should have done much better in the Carabao Cup too – it was there for the taking, but a quarter-final loss to Leeds United ended up costing us. All the big clubs had been knocked out, so this felt like a missed opportunity.

Accolades

A coming-of-age season for Rob Lee as he took home Manager of the Season, and also a sole Manager of the Month award. New signing Dean Henderson took home the Golden Glove award for the season, for keeping 22 clean sheets in 38 games.

Transfers

Not a mad one in terms of players coming in this time round, but a lot of money spent. Again, this was all lumped on future instalments – surely it won’t cause me an issue… right?

Players in

  • Yves Bissouma, Brighton - £65m (£99m)

  • Anthony Norman, Chelsea - £16m (£37m)

  • Dean Henderson - £25m

  • Josko Gvardiol, RB Leipzig - £70m (£90m)

  • Samuel Chukwueze, Villarreal - £48m

Players out (first teamers only)

  • Bright Arrey-Mbi, Bournemouth - Loan

  • Ciaran Clark, Al-Ittihad - Free

  • Ryan Kent, Rangers - £16.5m

  • George Davey, Barnsley - Loan

  • Sean Longstaff, Notts Forest – Loan

  • Thimothee Lo-Tutala, Birmingham - Loan

  • Fabio Carvalho, Nice – Loan

  • Grady Diangana, Bournemouth – £7m

  • Giacomo Raspadori, Wolfsburg – Loan

  • Hans Vanaken, Sheff United – Loan

  • David Turnbull, Southampton - £12.75m

  • Tyreeq Bakinson, Brentford - £3.3m

January ins

  • Dominik Szoboszlai, RB Leipzig - £58m

January outs

  • Callum Wilson, Crystal Palace - £1.1m

  • Angelo Garcia McNulty, Sporting- Loan

Points total

2023/24

  • start with 3 points after season two

  • 2nd place finish + 77 points

  • Manager of the Year – 25 points

  • Golden Glove – 25 points

  • Manager of the Month – 10 points

Total points after three seasons - 140 points


Looking to the future…
"Delighted with the season and our first foray into the Champions League. Need to strengthen further to make sure we give it a good tilt. Up the Toon."

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