Trying to predict what may happen in the North East of England this season is no easy task.
Recent additions to both Sunderland and Newcastle United's management personnel makes the pair akin to a stick of dynamite waiting to be ignited.
Paolo di Canio was a livewire of a player who has already shown his ruthless streak as a manager, but whether he has the discipline to not only last the season but bring the results to is questionable.
Over at Newcastle, after a disastrous campaign last season which saw them drop from Europa League finishers to relegation battlers, Mike Ashley has brought in Joe Kinnear to oversee transfers and work above Alan Pardew, amid much controversy.
It certainly sets up a fascinating season, and neither club want to risk a repeat of the last, and will have a top 10 finish in mind.
Not that it will be easy. Sunderland have been very active in the transfer market, impressively adding Emanuele Giaccherini from Juventus this week.
A front four of Giaccherini, Adam Johnson, Sessegnon and new addition Jozy Altidore is certainly an impressive one, and one which has the potential to be among the more exciting in the league if they gel.
Sunderland have also been busy adding defenders and midfielder players, with Cabral from Basel the pick of the bunch.
Newcastle are yet to make a splash in the transfer market this summer, but their 4-2 friendly win over Motherwell last night issued a timely reminder for fans of the quality already at their disposal.
The club's dire straits in January forced them to bring much of their summer plans forward, splashing out on Yoann Gouffran, Massadio Haidara, Moussa Sissoko, Mathieu Debuchy and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
Now with a pre-season to work with, fans should anticipate seeing the best of them, in the knowledge that the club still likely have potential signings to come.
The big summer market moves by Norwich, Swansea and Southampton will make the club's task more difficult than ever to break into the top 10 next season, with Everton also strengthening well.
The battle for North East pride promises to be hotly contested next season, and it will be one fans around the country should not take their eyes off.
Who will finish higher - Sunderland or Newcastle - Let us know your predictions...
image: © Ronnie Macdonald