After relegation inflicted partially by local rivals Sunderland two years ago, the future of Newcastle United looked uncertain.
Recently appointed Rafa Benitez looked as if he may depart and an exodus of players was going to follow him out of St James Park.
A year later and an instant return to the Premier League was secured through automatic promotion as winners of the Championship.
Newcastle United were back, with a swagger and a togetherness not seen since the 2010/11 season with messrs Nolan, Barton, Smith, Harper and the like.
Now fast forward to May 2018 and thanks to the heroic efforts of Benitez, the players and us the supporters – who have been superb in our support home and away, Newcastle’s return to the Premier League resulted in Premier League football assured for season 2018/19, with still a handful of games remaining.
This is thanks in large part to Benitez, who has succeeded despite the restrictions of Mike Ashley and the transfer market. Dubravka and Kenedy were brought in only on loan and were pivotal in our resurgence from February onwards, the marvellous 1-0 win over Manchester United setting us on our way and the 2-1 win over Arsenal making NUFC mathematically safe a month ago.
As we approach the end of the season, we finish against Chelsea, then it is essential we keep Rafa.
Reports linking him with Napoli, Arsenal, West Ham and Leicester have surfaced recently and nobody can rest easy, until the manager is given assurances of what transfer budget he has to play with and full control of how he wants to use it.
It is a significant summer for the future of Newcastle United.
The foundations have been built and we are back where we belong, a comfortable safe season, despite our very recent form after relegation fears became history. However, if we are to progress next season, funds need to be available to Rafa.
It is imperative that at least two strikers with top tier goalscoring ability need to be brought in, after the struggles of Gayle and Joselu this season.
Another left-back, right-back and left midfielder need to be brought in to strengthen the squad, and with a more limited time in which to recruit players, we must act fast.
We either see the rise of Newcastle United, or see a future I dare not contemplate if we lose Rafa.
Any alternative manager of your choosing will not be able to match his quality, integrity and ability, only mutiny and disunity will ensue.