Pardew: Newcastle have top six pedigree
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is already turning his attention towards establishing Newcastle as permanent members of the Barclays Premier League's top six.
A 2-0 home defeat by leaders Manchester City on Sunday dealt a blow to the Magpies' hopes of Champions League qualification but, as things stand, they could end the campaign anywhere between sixth and third with one game still to play.
Even sixth place could hardly be regarded as anything other than a resounding success, but the manager will spend the summer attempting to ensure it is not a flash in the pan. "Our fans are realistic, they know we have come a long, long way this year. The task now is to stay there," he said.
"The fabric of this club, the history, the tradition it has, it should be at the top of the Premier League every year.
"That's the job in hand for me now, to make sure these players come back and put in the same dedication they have this year because they have earned big reputations now and now they need to fulfil them.
"Our fans have been absolutely brilliant, make no mistake. There's no way we would be in this position if it wasn't for them. We would be seventh, eighth, maybe. They make a big, big difference. We need them back next year and we need to give them something to come back for."
A crowd of 52,389 packed into St James' Park to witness what they hoped would be the crowning glory in a season which has defied expectation from the off.
Newcastle were to succumb to two goals from City's Yaya Toure, but the home fans stayed behind to salute the efforts of Pardew and his players as they marked the end of their home campaign with a lap of appreciation.
Pardew said: "There's a lot of criticism about the Premier League, but I thought the conduct of the players on the pitch, the two staffs, was exemplary.
"They conducted themselves in a great manner, we applauded them off, quite rightly, and the whole day was a great advert for the Premier League. The best team won - and I don't like to say that because my team wasn't the best team - but I thought it was a good day."