Seven years ago I was devastated when Damien Duff deflected the ball past Steve Harper on 24 May 2009, that moment consigning Newcastle United to relegation to the Championship – Mike Ashley subsequently claiming he wanted to sell up and the club we all love was in limbo.
There were a lot of rumoured offers for the club but no forthright bidder came through. Initially named caretaker boss, in October 2009 Chris Hughton was appointed manager and Mike Ashley stayed on. We did not look back and got promotion at the first time of asking.
The circumstances behind relegation were different this time. Newcastle United had not learnt from the mistakes made in 2014/2015. Our defence last season conceded 65 goals and we did not do enough to sign defenders who could have prevented our relegation.
Instead, in January we signed Townsend and Shelvey, as well as Doumbia and Saivet, in an attempt to stay up – which sadly did not pay off. Another major reason why we went down, in my opinion, was because of Steve McClaren.
He was clearly incapable of masterminding the turn around the club so desperately needed and was out of his depth. Much as I as a fan wanted him to succeed, just so we could stay in the division and rebuild, game after game he showed he did not know which tactic to use and which players to play.
Rafa Benitez for me, presents us with the best chance in years to rebuild Newcastle United and make us a top team in the Premier League again. Having managed in England, Italy and Spain, with honours including the Champions League and Europa League, I do not think we could have anyone as experienced and up for the task as Rafa.
He loves the club and we love him. In the short time he has been here, the outpouring of love and support for Rafa has been overwhelming and key in his decision to stay. I hope come May 2017 we are back where we belong.
I think we need to buy and sell this summer to get the right blend who can help us get the goals to bounce back at the first attempt.
I have every confidence Rafa and his coaching staff can do this and that just maybe, we will one day be walking down Wembley way seeing a trophy making its way back to Tyneside – one can only dream.