The nature of Sunday’s title win was very much a collective effort, with even Aston Villa helping us along the way, but there are two players who I believe deserve a mention – Ayoze Perez and Chancel Mbemba.
After a promising start to life on Tyneside, Ayoze Perez’s career has stagnated, with the Spaniard often looking short on confidence and ideas this season. On Sunday, however, he was back to his brilliant best.
He looked full of energy and ideas, scored an exquisite goal and caused Barnsley all sorts of problems. He looked full of confidence and like the old Ayoze Perez that so many fans had grew to love. His best performance of the season that can only bode well heading into the Premier League.
This season has been a particularly frustrating one for Chancel Mbemba. The Congolese centre-back, who was one of our better performers in the relegation season, hadn’t kicked a ball for 4 months prior to last month’s recall against Burton Albion.
It’s been a difficult year for him, but he’s knuckled down and reaped the rewards. His performance on Sunday was another assured one, however it was his goal that gave Mbemba his special moment. His first for the club and the crucial second for the Magpies – you could see how much it meant to him as he celebrated in front of the Gallowgate.
In a season where he’s often felt left out, this made him feel every bit a part of our title success.