By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Nicky Butt, the man who captained Newcastle to the Coca-Cola Championship title win in 2009/10, was a welcome visitor at the Magpies' Algarve training base on Thursday afternoon.
His last act in a black and white shirt was to lift the trophy against Ipswich and although he didn't know it at the time, that proved to be the springboard for United's resurgence as a top-five side in the Barclays Premier League.
More than two years on and more than 1,200 miles away from Tyneside, Butt was able to see the current side at close quarters in Portugal and meet up with former colleagues including Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor, Steve Harper, Shola Ameobi, Jonas Gutierrez, Ryan Taylor and Danny Simpson.
He also made sure to catch up with nufc.co.uk and explained: "I'm on a family holiday and I spoke to a few of the lads, and they said they were down here.
"So they invited me to come along and bring my kids to watch them train, and it was good to see them.
"Obviously I don't know a lot of them because they weren't here when I was here, but the ones that were are still friends and it was nice to catch up with them and see them again."
Alan Pardew's side take on Olympiakos on Friday and SC Braga on Saturday and Butt - who spent six years at St. James' Park - hopes to be in the crowd for one of those friendly fixtures in Faro.
"I'll try to get to one of the matches as well, although obviously on a family holiday it's a bit hard to go and disappear for five or six hours!," he said.
"I think you've got quite lucky, because I've been out here for more than two weeks now and it's been a lot hotter than this. It's cooled down a lot so you've came at a good time because a couple of days ago it was 37, 38 degrees - so you're a touch lucky there!
"But I will try to get to one of the games. Newcastle will always be a part of my life and a team I'll always look out for. They did fantastically last year, which was great to see, and it's important that they keep hold of their top players and improve every year."
Now 37, Butt made 171 appearances in black and white - culminating in the memorable April afternoon when he hoisted that famous silverware above his head.
And the ex-England international is hoping to make the move into management in the future.
"I've just been getting my coaching qualifications," he said. "I've done all my coaching badges now so I'm looking to get into that side of things.
"But at the moment, I'm just having a good holiday with my family."