In July 2011, ex-Newcastle United left back Jose Enrique famously and controversially blasted Newcastle's owners and board on its transfer policy and what he perceived to be a lack of ambition. On his personal Twitter, Enrique said (in Spanish):
"The club is allowing all the major players of the team to go...This club will never again fight to be among the top six again with this policy."
And yet today, Newcastle United sit in sixth place, one point above Liverpool, Enrique's current team, who sit seventh.
Since Enrique's outburst, much has changed at Newcastle United. Some major Newcastle players, such as Joey Barton, have been allowed to leave, while other players who arrived in the summer have proven their worth as top-class footballers (and this will be discussed further in the slides).
Through all the changes and the ups and downs, Newcastle seem to have reasserted them as one of the best teams the EPL has to offer.
It's hard to say if they're top-six quality once again like they once were, but with the quality of players they're able to put on the pitch and the consistency in results that they've achieved over the first half of the season, it's safe to say that they're on the way up.
Here are five reasons why Newcastle United will continue to progress as a club in 2012.