Despite Newcastle's struggles this season, they have the perfect blueprint for success if they just glance up the table.
Last season was a phenomenal one for Newcastle United. A fifth-place finish and Europa League football spoke of a side that had the near-perfect campaign.
Thoughts of the Champions League proved to be a little too much too soon, but Alan Pardew’s side were very much on the up.
So much so that the manager completed his own kind of hat-trick, winning both the Premier League and the League Managers’ Association Manager of the Year awards and signing an eight year contract with the Magpies.
With a side containing the likes of Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote, it seemed that this season would be a continuation of the last; and that with a little luck, the top four could be a realistic aspiration.
Of course the reality was anything but. And following injuries, departures, dissatisfaction and poor form, Pardew’s side are still not safe from relegation.
The likelihood is that they will be okay…just. Although Cisse’s injury time winner against Fulham could ultimately prove to be the most important goal in the club’s recent history should they survive by the skin of their teeth.
But just as fans shouldn’t have got carried away following last season’s successes, they shouldn’t be distraught following this year’s disappointments.
There is a Premier League club that Newcastle should be paying very close attention to, and a manager that Pardew would do well to emulate, or at least try to.
In Everton, the Magpies have the perfect example of patience and stability.
Their manager David Moyes took time to end the fluctuating form that saw top-half finishes one season and relegation scraps the next.
And it will take Pardew a similar amount of time. That is the problem with the Premier League; in many ways it is easy to have one great season. Consistency is a much harder skill to acquire.
Pardew showed enough last season to be given the chance to recreate it.
He will need reinforcements. And he will need luck. But Everton have been in worse positions than Newcastle are now and they escaped them.
They say that success is moving from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. In between those failures, and ultimately on top of them, come the good times.
It remains to be seen if Newcastle can do what Everton have done so well. But in time, with patience from one side and skill from the other, United fans may one day see failure as finishing just outside the top four rather than just above the bottom three.
How do you see next season going for Newcastle? And is Pardew the man to bring them long-term success?
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