Newcastle Crowned Champions

Newcastle United were crowned the Champions of the Sky Bet Championship on a dramatic final day of the season. Rafael Benitez’s men beat Barnsley 3-0 on a comfortable afternoon at St James’ Park. The stadium erupted as news filtered through that Jack Grealish had equalised for Aston Villa against Brighton in the 89th minute.

The result meant Newcastle were lifting the trophy, on a dramatic and emotional final day. It is the second time in eight years that Newcastle United players and manager lifted the trophy. This time feels a lot different, Mike Ashley made his first appearance at St James’ Park since the final day of last season. The fact the owner was there to join in the celebrations is a positive sign, there has been constant speculation over Benitez’s future and how much he will have to spend in the summer. Ashley and Benitez will meet this week to discuss all those matters, there have been rumours circulating this morning that Ashley will offer Benitez a long term deal at the club.

Everything looks positive on Tyneside and it is fantastic to see, Benitez has completely transformed Newcastle United. The fans adore him and the feeling is mutual. The Spaniard has been able to get the best out of players who had been under-performing under previous managers. The likes of Gouffran and Anita have shone this season, it is a credit to the manager and the players themselves. Benitez is very aware of the task in hand at Newcastle, next season will not be easy and the expectations will have to be managed. Ashley will back Benitez and give the Spaniard everything he needs to build a squad capable of staying in the Premier League next season. Beyond next season it is about gradually improving the squad and climbing up the league.

The Rafalution has just begun. Getting to the Premier League as champions of the Sky Bet Championship is only the beginning. Benitez has huge plans for Newcastle United, he wants to win more silverware and knows exactly what it takes to achieve that. Newcastle owner, Mike Ashley has made mistakes during his time at the club, he has now realising what he has. A special football club with a fantastic fan base, superb stadium and a manager of real quality in Benitez. Ashley now has the chance to change the opinion of him on Tyneside, he is slowly doing that – It will take time. One day Ashley may just be able to every home game, perhaps wearing the famous black and white stripes again, without getting any stick from the fans. Ashley will be the first to admit that he has made poor decisions in his time, however he is now looking to put that right by backing Benitez and bringing success to this sleeping giant of a football club.

Rafael Benitez gets the same sort of ovation from the fans that greeted the likes of Sir Bobby Robson, Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan. When Benitez took the reigns as manager in March 2016, Newcastle fans took the Spaniard to their hearts. Following Newcastle is very much like a roller-coaster, the fans have been through a lot of downs, now it’s time experience the ups with Benitez.

This years championship campaign has been a long and hard slog, it makes winning title even more special after the amount of things Newcastle had to deal with this season. Newcastle have been written off time and time again by so many people in the game, from pundits to journalists. Newcastle have had the last laugh. The club have been on the end of numerous poor decisions by the officials this season, the disallowed penalty against Burton, the two red cards against Forest to name just a few. The team have come through all of that, silenced their critics and they can now look forward to next season.

There will be a lot of changes in the summer, Benitez will want new players in quickly, it looks set to be a busy few months ahead at Newcastle United. The scenes of yesterday will stay with us for a long time to come, now it is a time of celebration, reflection and looking forward to a bright future. Everyone connected with Newcastle have played their part in a title winning season. A special mention to Gallowgate Flags, Wor Hyem 1892 for bringing back the atmosphere to St James’ Park, it really has been a special season for so many reasons. The support received for the Newcastle Food-bank has been superb and it has been things like this that have really united us. Nurse those sore heads today and look forward to the Premier League next season.

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