Newcastle United were on their knees when Rafa Benitez took over, according to Jack Colback.
And the midfielder believes that the Spaniard has not only brought the feel-good factor back to St James’s Park, but also long-term stability, something which the club has lacked since the former Sunderland man signed.
Benitez has already started work on a complete overhaul of the Magpies squad, with almost 100 players linked to SJP since the victorious final day of the Championship season.
And there’s no doubt that number will only increase over the coming days and weeks, as United’s return to the Premier League edges closer and closer.
With every link to a new face anticipation and excitement builds on Tyneside.
That’s a long way from the air of uncertainty of recent years.
That security and positivity has been a breath of fresh air for Colback, who has endured a turbulent time since switching the Stadium of Light for his boyhood heroes.
On Benitez, the
Killingworth lad said: “He has brought positivity to the club.
“We were on our knees when we went down. There was a lot of negativity around the place.
“But as soon as he signed up it gave the fans optimism. That has helped the fans and us along.
“The fans can see the long-term plan which is what someone like Rafa Benitez brings to the football club.”
The fans have played their part in all of this, too, says Colback.
The easy option would have been for supporters to desert their club, but the United faithful have done anything but.
“After we were relegated it would have been easy for lots of them to disappear,” Colback continued.
“But they haven’t - you just look at this stadium every week, it is full. It is astounding in the Championship, especially when you look at the Premier League and some stadiums are nowhere near full.
“Thanks for sticking by us.”
And while many so-called experts thought United should have walked the second tier, a simple look back over history, according to Colback, tells a very different story for sides dropping out of the top flight.
“It was tough,” he said of achieving promotion at the first attempt.
“A lot harder than people were expecting but I think if you look at the likes of Aston Villa and Norwich they struggled.
“They haven’t been able to bounce back.
“There haven’t been many who have over the last few years.”