The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: -

Storm­ing straight back into the Pre­mier League at the first time of ask­ing, New­cas­tle United’s ti­tle chase with Brighton went right down to the wire be­fore the Cham­pi­onship tro­phy headed to Ty­ne­side. United were a full nine points ahead of third placed Read­ing in the fi­nal anal­y­sis, as un­der Rafa Ben­itez The Mag­pies were never des­tined to set­tle any­where but on the high­est perch.

The Toon’s pro­mo­tion cam­paign started be­fore the sea­son did. Un­beaten in the last six games of the pre­vi­ous year, a fi­nal day 5-1 an­ni­hi­la­tion of Spurs showed that while the Mag­pies were down they cer­tainly weren’t out. The ‘Rafa-lu­tion’ saw 11 play­ers leave and another 17 de­part on loan, while in to­tal a dozen came in. A Cham­pi­ons League win­ner, Ben­itez loaded up with play­ers equipped to get New­cas­tle straight out of the Cham­pi­onship and de­spite back to back shock de­feats to be­gin with United were soon in full stride. Through the 6-0 away win at QPR, the sen­sa­tional seven goal thriller with Nor­wich, the nine-man pan­tomime at Not­ting­ham For­est and a record 14 away wins ev­ery step of the Rafa­lu­tion is cap­tured in ‘Toon Up.’ Re-live a sea­son to re­mem­ber as ev­ery match in league and cup is re­viewed and re­flected on in the story of New­cas­tle’s in­stant re­turn to the top-flight. Pub­lished at the end of May: PRE-OR­DER your copy now.

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