You feel now the slate has been wiped clean from the Mike Ashley era, with the news that Steve Bruce has finally be relieved of his duties. Apart from the little black cloud that is Lee Charnley and the Sports Direct signage that still, for the moment at least, call St James’ Park home.

But now we can look to the future of our football club, with a sense of joy and optimism. The names of players being linked feel like we have input a cheat code for Football Manager, and feels like we again have a team with ambition.

But as we look to the future, the focus now falls to who will replace Bruce in the dugout. The list, at least as rumours are concerned is long, but it is a impressive list of some of footballs top managers. Apart from dream appointments like Pep Guardiola, Thomas Tuchel and even Antonio Conte, you don’t feel any of the names actually linked are out of reach.

The front runner at time of writing seems to be former Roma manager Paolo Fonseca, who in the summer it would seem was a signature away from becoming manager of Tottenham Hotspur. Here is a young manager that seems to be well respected in the game, and one that could lead Newcastle into the new era.

Having managers of this ilk linked to the main job at St James’, shows one thing that we as fans have been saying for a while…Newcastle United are still a big club. The past 14 years have not been representative of what Newcastle as a club is, and more the failings of someone who is fairly good at running a shop, but had no real idea about football.

The fact this type of manager would even consider the job at this time, in my humble opinion, show that it is not about the money they could get, or inevitably could spend. They could simply say, “I don’t think the job is right for at this time!”.

It shows the pull that the club still has. The name of Newcastle United is still known within world football, which is why at the minute we are such a big news story. The sleeping giant seems to have been awoken, if not still a bit drowsy!

Excuses seem to have been made over the past 14 painful years as to why Newcastle couldn’t attract top players and managers. Lines like who would want to live in Newcastle when London or Manchester are an option! It had nothing to do with our geographical location, but everything to do with the mismanagement the club were going through at the time.

Which manager or player would want to be associated with a Mike Ashley Newcastle. Rafa Benitez took the brave step and approached the club about the job! Players would have been sold false promises about what the club could be, and a return to the good days. They no longer seem like false promises, but a new dawn and achievable goals.

While all those “pundits” have tried to tell us over the years that we are only a big a club in the eyes of the fans, yet always used as a talking point. Does this not surely show that even though we have been down the bottom of the table, we were still a pull for the media! They wanted to be talking about us, about our fall from grace, and almost revel in it.

The fact we were still making headlines shows we were still a pull in terms of content. Now we will be a pull in quality in the dugout and on the pitch!

This isn’t a case of Newcastle have just struck lucky with the takeover, it feels like a return. An awakening, a reversal to what the club was and can be again.

Yes a lot of players that will be linked may come simply because they are going to get a payday, but there will still be that part of them that thinks “I get to play for Newcastle”. A great club with great history and fans will be the tag line.

There is a sense of “we told you so” to this, but it feels long overdue. For those who can remember, we spent most of our Premier League history towards the top of the league, talks of multiple trips across Europe, over multiple seasons, are still discussed with a sense of longing in the eye of the speaker.

The days in the Champions League were not one-offs!

Before Ashley brought the club, every manager in the Premier League era had managed Newcastle in a European competition, whether it was the Champions League, Cup Winners Cup, UEFA Cup or even the fabled Intertoto Cup. We were a regular in such competitions.

That history has not escaped us, it was just blanked for a while.

A line that won’t feel forced or false in anyway. Because we all know this to be true.

The slate has been wiped clean, and Newcastle can show they are a big club still!

CARL RICHARDSON