Walking towards St James’ Park on matchdays, there’s a buzz around the place and the Toon Army are on the march again with a spring in their step.
“Even though we’re playing in this division, it doesn’t really feel any different to last season in terms of the size of the club,” said Ayoze Perez.
“You just have to look around at all the full stands – we feel 100 per cent at home and it’s great to know everyone is behind us.
“The fans have not left us. They are still the same as they were when we were in the Premier League and that’s important.”
Benitez’ decision to stay on was the catalyst for the Magpies’ revival.