Inheriting a squad with a massive wagebill and fresh relegation was never going to be easy. Wiithe the expcetation of winning the league, the board gave me a hefty transfer budget of £0 and I was way over the wage budget. Something had to give, stars had to go whilst retaining enough to achieve promotion at the very least. First out of the door was Fabricio Coloccini, his £80,000 a week alone bringing me nearly within my budget. Others soon followed Nicky Butt (£55,000 a week), Alan Smith (£50,000 a week) all helped me quickly bring the wages under control.
I then had to strenghten, not so much the quality as the players at my disposal are undoubtedbly of better quality than the rest of the league. But wht if they got injured? Numbers were needed, strength in depth. In came Ebi Smolarek, and Zoran Tosic. That should do me as I had youngsters in Nile Ranger, Andy Carroll, Tamas Kadar aswell as the even younger Aaron Spear ready for a chance. This was their time to shine.
Having steadied the financial ship and got pre season out of the way, the season began. Away to West Brom, another recently relegated team, was going to be a tough ask for my team who were devoid of morale. I fought out a scrappy 1-1 drawm conceding in the last 5 minutes. A point was better than none. My first home game against Reading was a polar opposite of that, running our comfortable 7-1 victors. This is how it began.
Over the months I struggled for consistency, unable to go on a winning run. At one point I was down as low as 11th place half-way through the season. Rumours of my sacking were beginning to surface, the pressure was on. Somehow I turned it around with 7 straight wins, the unbeaten run that I had yearned for, and come the end of the season promotion was secured finishing 2nd behind West Brom. Newcastle were back in the big time!
It's a bit sketchy but I was trying to remember as far back as November last year. Stay tuned for more!