Hayden grateful for fans' ovation
Midfielder Isaac Hayden expressed his gratitude for the ovation he received from Magpies supporters as he helped Newcastle United finish the season in style on Sunday.
The 24-year-old started in an unfamiliar right wing-back role as Fulham were dismantled at Craven Cottage, with goals from Jonjo Shelvey, Ayoze Pérez, Fabian Schär and Salomón Rondón sealing an emphatic win for United.
Hayden turned in another assured display in the capital before being substituted with 20 minutes left, and he was given a rousing reception from the travelling Newcastle fans as he left the pitch.
The former Arsenal midfielder, who was ever-present in Rafa Benítez’s side from Boxing Day to the end of the campaign, was quick to thanks the fans who have got behind him during what has been a fine second half to the 2018/19 season.
“It’s fantastic. It just shows the appreciation from the fans for myself and I thoroughly appreciate everything they’ve done for me,” he told nufc.co.uk. “They’ve supported me through thick and thin since I’ve been here for three years.
“I’ve made mistakes, had bad games, we’ve had bad times as a team, but the supporters have always been there and to get a reception like that for what is most likely my last game for the football club is something I couldn’t have dreamed of. To hear that noise was fantastic.”
On the win over Scott Parker’s men, which sealed a 13th-place top flight finish for the Magpies, Hayden added: “It was a fantastic day to end the season. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is – winning 4-0 in the Premier League is a great effort from the lads.
“Everyone probably thought in this game there was nothing to play for, but everyone took it seriously and caused them all sorts of problems on the counter attack, and we stuck to our gameplan again.
“It would have been easy for us to go there and take our foot off the pedal a little bit, but that’s not what the lads in this football club want to do.”
In each of his three seasons at St. James’ Park, the former Arsenal man has featured in some memorable last-day victories.
Sunday’s victory followed last term’s 3-0 home win over Chelsea while his first campaign in black and white also ended with a 3-0 win over Barnsley, which secured the Championship title.
“It just shows the mentality of the group – we keep going no matter what,” he said. “It’s testament to the lads’ character through the whole season.
“We’ve had bad times where we’ve been rock bottom and we’ve had times where we’ve been on a high. Since the Watford game in December, I think we’ve been very, very good and the results don’t lie. I think we’ve deserved everything that we’ve got.”
"It’s fantastic. It just shows the appreciation from the fans for myself and I thoroughly appreciate everything they’ve done for me."