Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

History against United in Their Big Fight Ahead

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

History against United in Their Big Fight Ahead

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas Newcastle United Editor @MsiDouglas

STEVE McClaren is battling history as well as form and a teaktough fixture list as he tries to turn things around at St James' Park.

We asked you after Saturday's defeat whether you thought United would be involved in a relegation fight this year, and the verdict was unequivocal - more than 80% of the 2,500 who voted said yes. A total of 146 said no, while 301 thought it 'too early to tell.'.

Pessimism after an annus horribilis - or a dash of the sort of realism that is borne out by the stats? It looks like the latter, if you're inclined to read the runes of Premier League history.

So here's the headline-finding from this drudgery report - just TWO clubs in the last 15 years have survived after a worse first six games than Newcastle United.

And just one - Tottenham in the 2008/09 season - have managed to extricate themselves from a battle at the bottom after collecting two or fewer points from the first available 18.

So let's get that right: only 22% of the teams with two points or fewer have stayed up. Of the 48 teams who have gone down over the last 16 seasons, just two have survived with a worse start than Newcastle - a meagre 4%.

It is one heck of a challenge for McClaren, who might take some solace from the fact that Spurs in 2008/09 and Sunderland in 2013/14 both stayed up after picking up two points and one point respectively from their first six. Others who didn't include West Ham (2002/03), Wolves (2003/04), Palace (2004/05), Sunderland (2005/06), Sheffield United (2006/07), Portsmouth (who had no points after six games in 2009/10) and QPR (2012/13).

To throw Newcastle's start into context, in seven seasons out of the last 16, no team started as badly as United (or Sunderland, who are also on two points this season). …

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