When we left last season we had come so close to the clubs first title since 1936 but we fell away towards the end eventually finishing behind both Manchester United and Chelsea missing out on the title by only 4 points. The board had demanded that we qualify for Europe but I was more than happy to aim for the champions league again, I didn’t think we were quite there to be champions as the original big six were better than us but I figured if we nicked some unexpected results we could push someone all the way but be a bit more proactive in the cup so far bar a championship title i’d only picked up a league cup.
With the youth teams doing so well as both the U23s and U18s winning their respective leagues and even picking up some cups i decided to take the opportunity to go through a bit of a rebuild. Departing the club was Carey he was at the end of the day always going to be a backup striker he scored some goals but mainly notched on the international stage so he departed for Belgium and Club Brugge for £18.75m, following him out the door was Joel Piroe to New York City for £8.5M as he struggle to be more than a bit part player, the first major departure of the summer was Saul Salcedo to Milan for £15m he asked to leave with the form of both de Ligt and Tuanzabe he found his appearances limited a surprise bid from German side Wolfsburg of nearly £50m saw Brooks Depart. i couldn’t really refuse that bid it was just too good to turn down for someone who i was contemplating selling anyway!
Incoming as you can see was mainly youth players the scouts had managed to find most wont play for some time the only first team signings were Gentille a DM who could go onto big things either here or elsewhere and the return of Jordan Henderson on a free Hendo was brought back mainly for tutoring duties hopefully to help bring on a lot of the younger lads.
Like last year we started strongly beating Huddersfield 2-1 when it should have been by a higher margin we went until the beginning of December before we lost our first league game as we picked up win against mainly the sides that i expect to finish mid-table and bottom half the first real test was the arrival of the red devils to the stadium of light and we came through with flying colours as we came from a goal down to win comfortably with Arp even taking home the match ball, we followed that big win with another massive win as Prego and blackman got on the score sheet as we won the first tyne wear derby of the season, i tried to rotate a bit but it backfired as we were comfortably beaten by West Brom we bounced back with a rivero goal to seal a win at new white hart lane, and a win over Liverpool was followed by an unlucky performance City just edged a game we both could have won and these are the games i really need to be winning in the future if i want to move on to being a genuine title challenger, again we bounced back as we thrashed Arsenal and beat Leicester but again a rotated side fell 2-0 this time to West Ham, these little defeats need to be turned around as we seemed to win then lose as we fell to Everton and Bournemouth in the run up to the second tyne wear derby of the season.
Thankfully we returned to form easing 3-0 past Newcastle but again we lost twice on the road falling to Manchester United then to Norwich as we slipped away and lost what was going to be too much ground in the title, despite turning the form around it was ultimately not to be again as Manchester City just about edged their way ahead of us claiming the title by three points, even if we had managed to beat them on the final day of the season the goal difference swing would have been just to much
Next attempt at winning the League cup we started brightly as we got the first goal through Boyles at the new Vale stadium before two 90+ minute spot kicks were dispatched by Hendo to put us into round four. Round four was eased through as we took out Burnely with McGeown and Almeida scoring before Liverpool were just too strong for us and dumped us out.
So out of the League cup before Christmas i turned to the FA Cup and we struggled in the first attempt as we laboured to a 0-0 draw in the 3rd round and had to rely on extra time to get through we then eased to a victory on the 4th round before relying on another replay to get past Everton easy wins over Leicester set up a the hardest draw in the semis to play Chelsea but we made light work of them to put the club in the final for the first time since 1992. We managed to come from a goal down to beat them and lift the clubs third ever FA Cup! as Rivero and Alena notched the goals with less than 15 minutes to go.
Our champions league group was hard on paper, as we got Real Madrid, Italian champions Napoli, and Shakhtar we made our debut at the Bernebeu and got battered but Pickford put a brilliant performance in and we held to a 0-0 draw, we lost the return home game by only one goal we should have taken a point but couldn’t hold on. Napoli were despatched first at the Stadium of Light by 2-1 and then in Italy with a 5-1 win we went into the napoli game needing to win to get through and i didnt expect to win by so much it was promising that we can hold our own and possibly build to go deep into the competition in the coming years.
unfortunately we had to take on Monaco in the knockout round as the French side who push PSG regularly edged the home tie and equalised late in the game as Arp had tied the game up but Monaco’s late goal put them through.
The Under 23s continued their run as the lifted the Premier League 2 title by a massive 10 points. led by top scorer Shankland who may be included in next seasons squad they also made the EFL Trophy Quarter finals, only and bombed out of both domestic cups.
The Under 18s went on to win their division again, the PDL-Cup and also the Youth cup in a domestic treble, They completed the clean sweep after beating RB Leipzig in the UEFA Youth cup.
Around Europe it was a shock in Germany! no Bayern won the league again but Leipzig struggled to a 5th place finish and Schalke got relegated!
In Spain as Barca and Real cope without Messi and Ronaldo Real Madrid did well as they won the title but Barca finished back in 3rd a massive 10 points behind
In France PSG claimed the title again beating Monaco to the title this time by a massive 12 points which is unusual as normally its been a lot closer
In Italy neither Juventus or Napoli were anywhere to be found well they were Juventus finished 3rd Napoli finished 4th, It was the two Milan clubs resurgence as Inter claimed their first scudetto in 14 years with AC Milan a close second.
In Europe Newcastle were the surprise package of the Europa as they went to the semi finals before losing to eventual winners Manchester United
No real surprise in the champions league as Monaco and Real Madrid faced off at the Amsterdam ArenA in this years final and it was Real Madrid who took the title as a Mustafi goal clinched it.
As ususal 2024 brings a major international tournament and ill post the information on that in next seasons write up.
but ill leave you with this :O