Newcastle United is nothing like it was back in 2009, with the club no longer filled with mercenaries like Michael Owen.

At the end of the 2008/09 season, Newcastle were relegated to the Championship on the final day of the season, after suffering defeat away to Aston Villa.

The Magpies also lost their penultimate game 1-0 to Fulham, a game where captain Michael Owen was missing due to injury.

Newcastle physio at the time Paul Ferris has revealed in his autobiography, The Boy on the Shed, that Owen had no interest in playing for the club against Fulham that day, citing a risk of injury that could have cost him a move to a new club that summer.

“Michael didn’t want to risk it because he was out of contract in the summer and was saying, ‘I’ll not get a contract at another club if I’m injured'”, Ferris writes.

This kind of attitude was typical of Newcastle at the time; a club full of players who did not care, and were more bothered about where their next pay day would come from.

Nine years on and things are totally different at St James’ Park, with Rafa Benitez building a young and hungry side full of players who want to pull on the black and white shirt and wear it with pride.

While Owen did not want to play for Newcastle in their darkest hour, current captain Jamaal Lascelles put himself through the pain barrier last season, continuing to play towards the end of the campaign despite a hernia injury that was affecting his performances.

In the past, players would never dream of doing what Lascelles did towards the end of the 2017/18 Championship season, but that shows just how much things have changed at Newcastle since Benitez took charge of the club.

With Lascelles leading the way as skipper, we now have a team of players who are willing to put the club first, rather than ones who are more interested in jumping ship and looking after their horses…

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