Despite 23 changes in the three Newcastle United Cup matches so far, not a murmur of protest from the fans.

Little surprise as Rafa Benitez, the man with six appeal, has (in his spare time…) delivered a quarter-final place on the back of 3 wins, 10 goals and 0 conceded.

A very nice distraction as only struggling Hull now stands in the way of Newcastle United and a two-legged semi-final in the League Cup.

A bit like the Championship campaign, the progress in the Cup has been so smooth and feels so natural – some achievement when considering the knockout competition policy that has been life under Mike Ashley.

Who can forget Alan Pardew proclaiming on behalf of his boss: ‘Thank God we’re not in Europe again’.

Whatever the future holds, whether it is defeat at Hull City or a trophy at Wembley, what a relief to be talking (positively) about the manager and players, rather than the absent landlord.

Normal feels good and long may it continue.

Maybe, just maybe, Newcastle United is once again going to be a club that is allowed, as a minimum, to punch its own weight.

In both league and cup, the fans have shown that with a minimum of encouragement they will back the club when given a proper manager to believe in.

Just how far Rafa Benitez can actually take NUFC, is a question we are looking forward to seeing answered in the weeks, months and years to come.