It’s a day Danny Guthrie won’t forget any time soon.
Six years have passed since Newcastle United last dropped out of the Premier League.
Obviously, there was disappointment, but, for me, it was more embarrassment. The standard of play from that squad wasn’t good enough.Danny Guthrie
But memories of that day at Villa Park are still vivid for Guthrie, who admits to a feeling of “embarrassment”.
Guthrie was in the gifted and expensively-assembled side which was beaten 1-0 by Aston Villa on the final day of the 2008-09 season.
And the midfielder – a free agent after three years at Reading – sees similarities between the club’s plight that season and the present day.
Newcastle, two points above third-bottom Hull City, need to beat West Ham United at St James’s Park tomorrow to be certain of Premier League safety.
Guthrie said: “Obviously, there was disappointment, but, for me, it was more embarrassment.
“The standard of play from that squad wasn’t good enough. We had some really good players.
“Maybe the squad that went down was better than the current one, but no club is too big to go down. It was a very difficult day. There are a lot of similarities in the two seasons.
“The one positive is that it is still in Newcastle’s hands. I’d rather be in Newcastle’s position than Hull’s.
“But if Hull go ahead, it’ll be more difficult. It’ll be an interesting afternoon to watch from afar. I don’t envy the players. I just hope they stay up.”
Guthrie still keeps a keen eye on his former club, which has been in freefall since Alan Pardew’s departure at the turn of the year.
“I’m shocked at the position they are in,” said Guthrie. “Four months ago, they were mid-table and 10 points above the relegation zone. I think the big thing to come out of this is what a really good manager Alan Pardew was for the club.
“I know that and the players who played under him know that.”
Guthrie still has a huge affection for the club.
“I love the club – it’s massive,” he said. “I can’t wait to go there again – it’s an unbelievable stadium.”
Reflecting on his career at St James’s Park, he said: “To win the Championship was a highlight. The pressure was on us, and we did it.
“But finishing fifth (in 2012) rivals that. It was a massive achievement – I was very proud – and I don’t think that will be bettered by a Newcastle team for a long time.”