Danny Simpson celebrates winning the Championship title at Plymouth

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club

On Monday, 19th April 2010, Newcastle United won 2-0 at Plymouth Argyle to clinch the Championship title and bounce back into the Barclays Premier League at the first attempt following relegation.

Exactly two years later, the Magpies sit fifth in the top flight and on the brink of European qualification. It is quite remarkable progress in such a short space of time and defender Danny Simpson has enjoyed every minute.

The right-back has been an ever-present for Alan Pardew's side this term and also played at Home Park as first-half goals from Andy Carroll and Wayne Routledge guaranteed the title for Chris Hughton's team with two games to spare. 

Originally, the match had been scheduled two days earlier but when it was chosen for live television broadcast, it moved to the Monday evening slot - meaning an arduous weekday trip made all the more difficult by fears over a volcanic ash cloud which grounded all flights.

But it was worth the trek for players and supporters alike, and the fantastic memories of the day will stay with those who were there for many years to come.

"I remember it like it was yesterday," Simpson told nufc.co.uk. "And if you look at how far we've come between then and now, winning the Championship to being joint fourth in the Premier League with Tottenham, two points behind Chelsea and going for whatever we can go for... to do that in two years, credit goes to everyone.

"The staff, the manager, the coaches, all the lads involved; everyone involved with the club. In two years, to come that far is massive - and it's been a great ride."

Carroll headed Newcastle in front on 20 minutes before Routledge rounded David Stockdale to make it two, and no further goals meant that United were the champions while Argyle were relegated.

But the hosts were generous enough to play a musical medley to mark the Magpies' success as the travelling supporters poured onto the pitch to congratulate the men in yellow - many of whom gave away their prized shirts.

"I just remember we got the goal and we knew we were so close," Simpson recalled. "Then we got the second - and I just remember all the fans running on afterwards.

"They were picking everyone up, hugging us and they were just so proud to have came through a tough time and to get back into the Premier League where the club belongs - and of the way we did it, with everything going on. Chris just got us to keep our heads down and we kept on winning and got ourselves over the line.

"There were some great pictures, and that night we were all in the hotel together, celebrating and having a drink. Then the next day we had a long journey home!

"It was a night where all the lads and fans celebrated together, so it was a great time but to be where we are now just two years later is a massive achievement.

"Obviously I wasn't here when we got relegated but I think your best bet of getting back up into the Premier League is to do it straight away.

"That season, the club kept the majority of the lads that they had, brought in some new players and we bounced back in some style.

"And that was massively important. It's a tough league - you've got to give teams who get out of that league credit, because it's tough - but we got out of it.

"Then when we got into the Premier League, people questioned us again, but we finished 12th and hoped to kick on further.

"There was more doubt at the start of the season - people seem to cast doubt over us and have question marks over us all the time, but again we've proved people wrong and we're joint fourth with five games to go."

And if Newcastle can end this season in a Europa League - or even Champions League - place, Simpson admits that it will eclipse even that glorious night in Devon.

"It was nice to get a medal and win that league and get out of it, but to be in the mix with teams like Chelsea, to be so many points ahead of Liverpool and in around Tottenham and Arsenal, for me personally is massive," he said.

"Obviously it's a massive club and they've been in this position before years ago, but maybe people didn't expect us to be in this position so soon."

The team which won at Plymouth to clinch the title was: Steve Harper, Danny Simpson, Fitz Hall (Tamas Kadar 83), Mike Williamson, Jose Enrique, Wayne Routledge, Alan Smith, Joey Barton, Danny Guthrie, Kevin Nolan (Leon Best 70), Andy Carroll (Shola Ameobi 70).