Paul Dummett believes relegation was a blessing in disguise for Newcastle
Rafa Benitez’s men face play-off contenders Leeds at a sold-out St James’ Park knowing three points could leave them just one win away from reclaiming their Premier League status.
While a season in the Championship has cost the Magpies millions in TV revenue, the club is a better state than at any time since they finished fifth in the top flight five years ago.
And local lad Dummett said: “Looking at it one way, relegation could have been a blessing in disguise because I suppose it has helped turn things around.
“Hopefully, we can be on the up now.
“Obviously, it was disappointing to be relegated and as a Newcastle fan, it felt even worse.
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“My first few seasons here were really tough because we were not doing well and it was quite negative so to have a year in the Championship after all that can maybe do us no harm really.
“Being part of a winning team is totally different and to have that good vibe around the place is really positive.
“The feeling around the club, the city, everywhere is much better.
“Being from Newcastle, there’s no getting away from it for me because all friends and family want to talk about is football.
“Whereas last year was hard, everyone I speak to now has only good things to say.”
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Newcastle are gunning for promotion under Rafa Benitez
Newcastle could find themselves five points behind leaders Brighton by the time they kick off.
It’s a situation that does not concern Benitez who insists promotion is the be-all and end-all.
Privately he must think that finishing runners-up behind the Seagulls may strengthen his hand in negotiations with owner Mike Ashley this summer.
Dummett, however, is desperate to emulate the promotion sides of 1992 and 2010 who went up as champions.
The left-back added: “Of course, the title matters.”