In ten days time we kick of our 2012/13 Premier League campaign at home to Spurs and I can hardly wait.
Almost everything surrounding the club of late has been positive - a strong 2011/12 season, European qualification, great morale amongst the players and fans and most importantly, so far, no high profile sales - even the Demba Clause has been and gone. We have brought in some high potential youngsters who will almost surely contribute to our Europa and League Cup campaigns and we have been linked with high quality first team additions such as Debuchy and Andy Carroll, though we have not yet agreed deals with any senior players and our squad needs to be strengthened in one or two areas.
If we pass through the closure of the transfer window without selling any of our stars, regardless of whether we buy anyone else, the pressure will be on Alan Pardew at a level it has never been before in his career at the start of the season.
This pressure will be fuelled by expectation. No one expected us to be competing for a Champions League spot right up until the final day of last season and in doing so we found ourselves way 'ahead of schedule'. We, the Newcastle faithful, need to be patient. We still have an excellent first team but beyond that we don't have the depth to seriously compete in what could be a 50+ game season.
I firmly believe that the success of last season was triggered by the great unbeaten run we enjoyed at the start. Spurs at home on the opening day is no more formidable a fixture than Arsenal was at the same time last season, but a trip to the Bridge straight after and Europa fixtures too - this is a big ask. (Yes, I know we won comfortably at the Bridge last season but that win was under very different circumstances).
Pardew comes across as a very cool man and for that reason I think he will handle whatever comes our way. I am confident that we will have another solid campaign, but when we face the inevitable difficulties that arise lets make sure that we don't jump the gun and that the support remains positive.
We are on the right track with an approach focussing on youth development. This approach WILL see us win something in the medium term and I am certain that we will see some of the young stars become regular first teamers this season. Rash reactions from the support (and let's be honest, those of us who have attended the games for years have seen this type of reaction more than once) will only stifle these plans.
Let's stay positive and hope that as a club we continue to make the immense progress that we have made since September 2009.