Newcastle full-back Danny Simpson has paid tribute to former boss Chris Hughton for 'saving his career'.
Hughton was dismissed to the astonishment of many at the start of December, with Newcastle opting for Alan Pardew as his replacement at St James' Park.
The Magpies got off to the best possible start under Pardew by beating Liverpool 3-1, but there is still ill feeling about the departure of the popular Hughton.
Rather than bemoan the decision to see him go however, Simpson reflected on his time with the former Tottenham coach, praising him for taking a chance and bringing him to the club, who won the Championship last term.
"It was a tough week and obviously Chris was a crucial guy in my career so I was disappointed that he left and I told him when we saw him at the training ground how much he'd done for me," Simpson told The Journal.
"I thanked him for everything he did for me. He took a chance on me when my career was pretty much at rock bottom. I didn't know what was going to happen to me because I'd been offered round a few clubs and no-one wanted me.
"I had a reputation, I think, from when I was a younger player and that was maybe following me around. But Chris took advice from a couple of people and said he'd give me a chance on loan.
"I was grateful to him and I told him that. I'm playing in the Premier League because of him and he just replied that he knows I'm a young player who is still learning and told me if I keep working hard then I can go far. It meant a lot."
With Hughton now gone, Simpson also gave a good reference for Pardew, urging supporters to give him time and that he was looking forward to working with him, as well as possibly pushing for a European place.
"I'm looking forward to working with the new gaffer," he said.
"Obviously we haven't seen much of him yet but we've done a couple of sessions and they've been good. He said to us in his first meeting that we've got a great team so he doesn't want to change much immediately.
"I think he is planning to slowly implement his own ideas. But he seems like a top guy and the result was fantastic.
"I think it's important that we don't let our focus drop because there is a real opportunity for us this year.
"We've proved we can beat just about any team in the division on the day. If we can keep our players fit and we get a bit of luck there is no reason why we can't be looking at top six, top seven.
"Premier League stability is the priority but there's nothing in it."