After a morbid campaign where the club just about maintained their Premier League status, Newcastle United really could have done with a low-key summer last year. But for a club who have never traditionally gone down that route, outrage, confusion and predictions of impending doom reigned supreme amid Joe Kinnear's appointment and yet more despair over the direction Mike Ashley is taking the club.
Six months on, things aren't so bad it seems with Newcastle United sitting eighth. But with so much scrutiny over the success the club's director of football will have in bringing in new players, what does the January transfer window have in store for the Magpies at this crucial moment of the season?
IB Times UK spoke to Ed Harrison, editor of the Newcastle United Blog to find out.
What areas of the side are in need of the most strengthening?
Ed: The major area of the Newcastle team that needs strengthening in January is the striker position, and the club have already been linked with a number of potential targets.
What players would you like to see brought in to fill those roles?
Ed: Loic Remy is on loan for the season from QPR, and Newcastle may not be able to turn this into a permanent signing, while veteran striker Shola Ameobi's contract runs out in Jun, and it will not be renewed.
Newcastle have been linked with four strikers so far, Luuk de Jong (Borussia Monchengladbach), Shane Long (West Brom), Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon) and Demba Ba (Chelsea).
The striker most fans want back is Demba Ba, who is sitting on the bench too much at Chelsea, and in our poll including all four strikers Ba came out top with 46%, followed by de Jong on 22%.
While Ba was at Newcastle from August of 2011, he scored a goal in every two appearances for the club, and in eighteen months on Tyneside he scored 29 goals.
It could be difficult to get Ba back however, and as far as getting a striker in during January it's not certain. The club have said they will only make the right deal in January - but manager Alan Pardew will be backed by owner Mike Ashley and Director of Football Joe Kinnear.
Any dead wood? Do the club need to offload anyone who isn't pulling his weight?
Ed: While most players this season have performed well, it appears that Sylvain Marveaux, Gabby Obertan and long serving Jonas Gutierrez can leave the club.
There is also interest in two of Newcastle's top French players - Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy - from some big clubs.
Do you believe the manager will be backed in his hopes (if any) of adding to the squad?
Ed: Mike Ashley's relationship with the fans has never been good, and that's an issue at Newcastle this month, but it is a been a long term issue for some time.
Fans don't think Mike has enough ambition to take Newcastle to where the fans want to see the club, which is regularly in the top four of the Premier League.