Fifty-two thousand supporters attended Newcastle United’s final game in the Premier League for at least a year.
52,000! How many other clubs could do that?
Our fate was sealed on Wednesday night as the letter R appeared to the left of Newcastle United on the league table after Sunderland’s win over Everton at the Stadium of Light – but relegation wasn’t going to stop us from supporting the team that has let us down all season.
Most importantly, it was the last opportunity for us fans to show our love for manager Rafa Benitez.
I was a couple of minutes late for kick-off but as I walked into the ground, the hairs on the back of my neck rose as Rafa Benitez’ name echoed around the four corners of the stadium.
It was electric, and 15 minutes in the “Ra Ra Ra Rafa Benitez” chant was still going strong, getting louder and louder as each minute passed – setting up a great atmosphere for what would be the best game at St James’s Park for a long time.
As Newcastle’s confidence grew, the goals kept on flying in but where did that unbelievable performance come from? Where had it been all season?
Was it down to lack of pressure on the already relegated players or was it the final opportunity to put themselves firmly in the shop window to the top flight teams across Europe?
Only the players will be able to answer those questions, but what a way to sign out of the Premier League despite it being incredibly frustrating to watch it as a fan; a fan that has been waiting for this sort of response from the players all year.
But now the attention turns to Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley yet again.
On Saturday, we showed Rafa how much we appreciated his efforts in trying to sort this avoidable mess out, so now it’s up to those two to offer the Spaniard an offer he simply can’t refuse.
We all know that we are asking a lot from Benitez, a Champions League-winning manager, to take charge in the second tier of English football, but I honestly think that he can see what Newcastle and its fans has to offer.
We’ll be back soon enough and this club will be great again. I can promise you that.