Premier League Countdown: Newcastle set tough St James’ marker
Newcastle’s legions of fans will be hoping the latest managerial dawn can bring about better fortunes on the pitch than were witnessed during a highly-precarious slump in the second half of 2014/15.
Steve McClaren is the man those hopes are pinned on and some decisive moves in the transfer market in recent weeks have increased the optimism around the upcoming campaign.
Georgio Wijnaldum and Aleksander Mitrovic were well coveted around Europe so McClaren has excelled in selling them his Newcastle rebuilding project.
One thing the former England manager will have to address if he’s to enjoy a bump-free ride is turning around Newcastle’s dodgy form at St James’ Park.
Only seven Premier League wins were mustered there last term, and just two in 2015, so if McClaren wishes to be challenging for Europe rather than scrapping for survival things must change at home.
As part of Ladbrokes’ Premier League seasonal specials, the bookmakers price both 11 or more home wins and potential European qualification as 15/1 chances.
Given the two will be closely linked, those who fancy McClaren to work his magic will probably wish to back both.
Newcastle were well versed in making St James’ a fortress back in the Bobby Robson and Kevin Keegan glory days, recording 15 home wins under the former during the 2002/03 season.
However, since then, 11 home wins is the most any manager has achieved in a single top-flight season (occurring three times) with Alan Pardew the last gaffer to collect 33 points at St James’ en route to a fifth-place finish in 2011/12.
Encouragingly for backers of these specials, Pardew achieved this mark after the Magpies crawled to six home wins the season prior.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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