For some years now, football fans, pundits and indeed managers have craved "stability." With the average Premier League manager barely lasting a season in his job and only seven top-flight bosses currently being in situ for more than two years, it is perhaps understandable.
Manchester United even appointed a manager, David Moyes, partly on the basis that he could bring stability after the turmoil of seeing Sir Alex Ferguson leave. Stability is, to say the least, a much sought-after commodity.
And it is a commodity that Newcastle have. After Arsene Wenger, Alan Pardew is the second-longest-serving manager in the Premier League, having taken up his position in December 2010. Those three-and-a-half seasons have been, to say the least, rather mixed, with periods of relative success followed by periods of what one might charitably call "drift."
Last season was a perfect encapsulation of this. On Boxing Day, Newcastle beat Stoke 5-1 and were in sixth place, sitting pretty and with sights on a European place. They won just five more league games after that, losing 14 and virtually undoing all the good work of the season's first half.
Add to that the sale of Yohan Cabaye and some rather difficult relations with the local media, and 2014 has thus far not been a particularly good year for Newcastle.
So will it improve this term? There have been some promising signings, some to replace departing players and some to strengthen their squad, particularly in midfield. Daryl Janmaat is in for the Arsenal-bound Mathieu Debuchy, while a combination of Remy Cabella, Jack Colback and Siem de Jong will try to replace Cabaye's contribution.
However, their squad still looks light. They always seemed to have insufficient depth up front last season even with Loic Remy, but he has returned to QPR with only Emmanuel Riviere replacing him.
At the back, too, they would appear to have deficiencies, with none of Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor exactly inspiring huge confidence. Indeed, while they finished tenth last term, they had the sixth-worst defensive record in the division, behind only the three relegated teams (Norwich City, Fulham and Cardiff City), Sunderland and Aston Villa.
Pardew hinted this week that his transfer business was not over but didn't go so far as to promise new arrivals. He said, as quoted by Craig Hope of the Daily Mail:
We've always maintained that we will watch the window until the last hours. We've done some terrific business and I think it must be exciting for Newcastle fans that we've got some terrific, offensive players.
I feel much more comfortable with the team and we can play a brand of football which is expected of us. I think we could really trouble teams this season, which is something we didn't do in the second half of last season.
Newcastle may well have a form of stability in their managerial situation that others might be envious of, and Pardew's good relationship with owner Mike Ashley means only a catastrophic start to the season will change that position.
But the question for most Newcastle fans must surely be whether they can arrest the drift that made the second half of last season so painful to watch. There could even be a case to say that drift was brought about by complacency, which was inspired by the "stability."
With proven talent replaced by men who can only be seen as gambles, even the stability that has defined Newcastle could be eroded this season. Either way, they must hope for a change from the ennui of last season.