Danny Simpson

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter Club Reporter

An emotional Danny Simpson has thanked the Newcastle United faithful for four years of "tremendous" backing after agreeing to sign for Championship new boys Queens Park Rangers when his contract expires.

The 26-year-old will join Harry Redknapp's side on 1st July but will look back at his time on Tyneside with nothing but fondness. He believes that he grew from a boy into a man at St. James' Park and will cherish memories including the 5-1 win over Sunderland and the 4-4 comeback against Arsenal for the rest of his life.

And the defender also has a very precious reminder of his time at the Magpies - his daughter Skye, who was born in the North-East and proudly wore a Newcastle shirt bearing her dad's number as the players paraded the pitch following the final game of last season against Arsenal.

Although he was an unused substitute that day, he was determined to say his goodbyes to the supporters and did so again when he spoke exclusively to nufc.co.uk as his switch to Loftus Road was confirmed.

"I knew for a while that I'd be leaving but it sank in when I saw the lads in the home dressing room for the last time and then did the lap of honour with the lads to say thanks to the fans for everything," he told the Magpies' official website.

"And I've got to say, I was here for four years and they've been tremendous with me so I'd like to say a big thanks to them.

"It was emotional to do that lap of honour, especially with my little one. She was born in Newcastle so technically she's a Geordie and that last game was quite an emotional day - but a nice day as well."

Simpson joined the Magpies from Manchester United, initially on loan, in August 2009, just a couple of matches into the Championship title-winning campaign.

He went on to make 138 appearances in all competitions and said: "I came at 22 and it's been a big part of my career; not just my career but my life as well with my little one being born here.

"From walking in as a 22-year-old to leaving now, I've matured a lot and changed a lot. Being in Newcastle and being around certain people - team-mates, coaches, managers - and playing in front of those fans has helped me a lot and I'm well happy with the four years.

"Obviously winning the Championship the way we did is one of the highlights, getting back into the Premier League, but also just cementing my place in the team the season before last and finishing fifth.

"And there were one-off games - beating Sunderland 5-1, the comeback against Arsenal... I'll never forget those days and those games, but the whole four years have been top class.

"I don't think that 4-0 to 4-4 will ever happen again and to beat your rivals 5-1, that was my second Premier League game for Newcastle and to beat them the way we did that day, I know how much it means to the fans here. I can happily walk away and say I played four derbies: won two, drew two so I'm happy with that record.

"I loved playing pretty much every game when we finished fifth and got into Europe, and then playing in Europe as well - Benfica away, those kinds of games and experiences are invaluable and I loved every minute of it."

When asked if he had any regrets, Simpson replied: "No. The whole four years has just been class.

"I always say if anything's not gone right, then I've learnt from it and it's made me better. So I don't really have any regrets. Anything that's not gone right for me, I've learnt from and worked on and become better from it."