Former Manchester United defender Danny Higginbotham has explained in The Independent how the current Newcastle United side are similar to the Southampton team that got relegated from the Premier League a few years ago.
Higginbotham was part of the Southampton side that went down to the Championship at the end of the 2004-05 campaign.
The former Derby County and Sunderland defender has explained how the current situation at Newcastle is similar to that at the Saints in 2004-05.
Higginbotham has also warned that like Southampton, the Magpies could take a few years to return to the Premier League if they do go down to the Championship at the end of the season.
“Many of us were brought to the club by Gordon Strachan, who was a phenomenal manager, and got the best out of us, so we were disappointed when he left,” Higginbotham wrote in The Independent. “That, looking back, was the beginning of the end for Premier League football for Southampton.”
“The situation at Newcastle will be similar,” added the former Stoke City man. “If they go down then Benitez is unlikely to still be there next season, and I can guarantee that that will be in the players’ minds. If they go down, and a new manager comes in, then they would not need to impress Benitez so much now. But if there is continuity, and the manager stays, then he will still have your future in his hands.
“So it was not a happy Southampton squad that started out in the Championship in 2005-06 and soon enough Redknapp left and was replaced by George Burley. We finished 12th and three years later the club was in League One. It was not until 2012, seven years after relegation, that Saints returned to the top flight.”
Newcastle are one of the biggest clubs of England and regularly attract around 50,000 fans for their home games at St. James’ Park.
However, that does not mean that the Magpies will find it easy in the Championship. The likes of Derby County, Nottingham Forest and Leeds United are all big clubs, but they are finding it hard to return to the top flight of English football.