Magpies are handed the toughest start possible
Any hopes Newcastle United had of making a flying start to the new season were quickly steamrollered today when the new Premier League fixture list handed us the toughest start possible with a daunting trip to Old Trafford.
Oh no there was never a chance of a quiet opener against Hull at home or even a quaint visit to Fulham - no, no only a game against the Premier League and European champions!
At one stage in Premier League history Newcastle of course were 12 points ahead of Man U, but that seems like a distant memory these days.
Even proud memories of the 5-0 win in recent times have been battered out of us by 6-0 and 5-1 beatings earlier this year.
Yet one thing is for certain the Toon Army will still turn up at Old Trafford and be right behind their team - just as they were during the darkest hour of last term when the sixth goal went in on a miserable day for the Mags.
Early home games against Bolton and Hull give United the chance to get some points in the bag in the opening weeks of the new campaign but even so the second away game at Arsenal is equally as difficult to Man U away.
And as far as local pride is concerned, it will be trips down the A19 first up as local bragging rights are contested at Sunderland at the end of October and then Boro at the end of the following month.
The Boxing Day fixture is a case of deja vu with Wigan away, probably the graveyard of Sam Allardyce as the 1-0 loss at the JJB resulted in fans chanting for his head - something Graeme Souness also knows all about after the Carling Cup loss of 2005 sparking similar scenes at a ground we have lost 1-0 four times at now.
Other notable fixtures see a trip to Villa on the final day of the season while visits to newly promoted Hull, West Brom and Stoke all come in 2009.
Whatever way you look at it, you have to play every team but dreams of a winning start have instantly been squashed.