Jack Colback admits a relegation battle was the last thing he expected after crossing the Wear-Tyne divide last summer.
Colback’s switch from Sunderland to Newcastle caused controversy after he quit the Black Cats on a free transfer to join their closest rivals.
Having helped the Wearsiders sensationally beat the drop in his last campaign at the Stadium of Light, as part of the Great Escape, Colback had hoped he’d put behind him life struggling at the bottom end of the Premier League.
Fast forward 12 months, however, and the midfielder found himself in an identical situation with his new club, only avoiding a drop into the Championship on the last day of the season.
But does he have any regrets? Far from it, it seems. In fact, Colback is adamant he can still achieve success with the Tynesiders.
“It was a whirlwind first season for me,” he admitted. “To be honest, I thought I was moving away from relegation battles when I signed here!
“It is what it is, and that’s the thing about football, it’s so unpredictable.
“You can only control so much in football.
“It’s been an up and down season. It started OK, and then we had some fantastic results beating the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool.
“I got to experience what the fans can be like here, but then obviously the second half of the season was a massive low.
“You learn from these situations, and hopefully get stronger from it. You just hope that things like that don’t happen again.
“I still feel as though I can achieve everything I want to here.
“That was a huge reason why I signed – it wasn’t as though I only came because it was my boyhood club and the team I supported as a kid.
“I saw it as a club with an awful lot of potential there.
“I want to be playing for a successful team, and a team that’s coming into St James’s Park and winning games.
“We beat Chelsea and Liverpool, and we need to get back to a level where we’re able to compete with those sort of teams, especially at home.”
Newcastle fans have called for owner Mike Ashley to spend big this summer and invest in new players to avoid a repeat of their second half of the campaign.
Ashley, himself, came out before the final game against West Ham and pledged not to sell the club until they had won something.
Colback, however, admits fans and players alike have to be realistic – and wouldn’t want to see the club over-spending and getting into financial trouble as the likes of Leeds United and Portsmouth have done in recent years.
“You have to be realistic, and we’re not going to be challenging for the league or anything like that any time soon, but you want to be able to compete in every game,” he added.
“That should be the bare minimum for a club like this.
“It definitely still feels like a club where, if everything went right, it could be incredible.
“Everything’s here for that to happen – there are great foundations for the club to go wherever it wants to go.
“You’ve got to be sensible with that because there are clubs that have overstretched in the past and that are in a mess now. There’s a certain level that’s realistic to get to, although that’s out of my hands.
“It’s a club with potential, and it deserves to be higher up the league than it has been. Hopefully, we can have a right good go next season.”