“Rafa was great and I wish he’d come a little bit earlier. The day he arrived, straight away he had the boys out on the training pitch, he was extremely professional. There was a real aura about him. If he’d come in two months earlier, I don’t think we’d have been in that position.
“I remember going into the last game of the season when we were already down and winning 5-1 against Tottenham, then on the Monday morning I met Lee Charnley and we had a good discussion. He said there would be a lot of squad rotation, and I wanted to play, I’d missed a lot of games over the last few years with injuries and I wanted a new chapter in my career.
“I loved my time there; I’m a Newcastle lad, sitting in the terraces with my old man, being ball boy, scoring at the Gallowgate End, there’s not much more I could have asked for.”