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Page last updated at 05:56 GMT, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 06:56 UK

Newcastle United secure promotion to Premier League

Chris Hughton
Hughton's team are unbeaten at home in the league this season

Newcastle boss Chris Hughton hailed his side's "wonderful achievement" after they secured Premier League promotion.

The Magpies are guaranteed at least a top-two finish after Nottingham Forest drew 0-0 with Cardiff.

"From day one the focus has been to put everything into this," said Hughton, whose side celebrated their top flight return by beating Sheffield United 2-1.

"This group of lads have had a real desire to get back into a division that everyone here thinks we should be in."

Newcastle's 16-year stay in the Premier League ended on 24 May last year after a tame 1-0 defeat by Aston Villa brought down the curtain on a disastrous season at St James' Park.

The Magpies saw Kevin Keegan's reign as manager end in acrimony amid a series of disagreements with club owner Mike Ashley and executive director Dennis Wise.

Joe Kinnear's surprise temporary appointment ended prematurely after he suffered health problems. Hughton and Colin Calderwood could not stop the rot, and the task of trying to keep the club up proved beyond Newcastle legend Alan Shearer.

But on Monday, St James' Park became the scene of a promotion party for the Toon Army, who have seen their side lose just four times in the league all season under Hughton's management.

"It's an incredible feeling, especially to do it here, in front of these supporters," said Hughton, whose side have achieved their goal.

"There's still games to play and we still want to stay top of the division.

"We've still got the title to play for but its a real honour to be manager of this football club and bring Premier League football back to these supporters."

Hughton joined Newcastle as a coach in February 2008 during Keegan's ill-fated second spell as manager of the club.


And when Shearer declined the chance to continue managing the team last summer after he had failed to prevent them being relegated, Hughton was promoted from caretaker boss to a full-time role.

"We deserve to be in the Premier League - we didn't at the end of last season because our position didn't lie," added the former Republic of Ireland and Tottenham defender.

"But we have earned the right to be back in there and I think this club deserves to be there.

"You have achievements as a player which you will always remember; I have been involved as a coach in my time at Tottenham where we have won things.

"But in a managerial position, this is my first achievement and it's a very, very proud moment for me."

Hughton's side opened the season with a 1-1 draw with West Brom, but they followed that by winning their next five matches.

Their only defeats this campaign have come on the road - at Blackpool, Nottingham Forest, Scunthorpe and Derby.

After the 3-0 loss at Pride Park on 9 February, Newcastle embarked on an 11-match unbeaten run, including eight victories, which has proved enough to end their brief Premier League exile.

"Securing promotion with six games to spare is testament to this set of players," Hughton told the club's official website.

Forest boss Davies praises Newcastle's achievement

Mid-table Sheffield United, though, had looked like spoiling Newcastle's party when Richard Creswell nodded in James Harper's corner in the 22nd minute.

However, after Chris Morgan was adjudged to have fouled Andy Carroll in the area, Peter Lovenkrands despatched an equaliser from the spot to level matters on the stroke of half-time.

And Kevin Nolan made it a perfect evening for the home faithful when he spectacularly volleyed in a 73rd-minute winner.

"I like scoring goals when they matter and this one mattered," reflected a jubilant Nolan.

"We're going to enjoy this but we want to go unbeaten until the end of the season," the Magpies captain added. "We want the title so we will give it our best shot."

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Championship table snapshot

As it stood on 5 Apr 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Newcastle 41 48 89
2 West Brom 42 38 83
3 Nottm Forest 42 21 72
4 Cardiff 42 19 69
5 Swansea 42 4 65
6 Leicester 42 9 64
7 Blackpool 42 16 63
8 Middlesbrough 42 11 58
9 Bristol City 42 -8 56
10 Sheff Utd 42 1 55
11 Doncaster 42 1 55
12 Reading 40 0 55
13 Ipswich 42 -5 54
14 Coventry 42 -12 52
15 Barnsley 42 -13 52
16 Derby 42 -11 51
17 Preston 42 -12 50
18 QPR 41 -9 48
19 Scunthorpe 41 -23 47
20 Crystal Palace 42 -1 46
21 Watford 41 -11 45
22 Sheff Wed 42 -18 45
23 Plymouth 42 -18 41
24 Peterborough 42 -27 31

see also
Newcastle 2-1 Sheff Utd
05 Apr 10 |  Championship
Magpies flying high after promotion
05 Apr 10 |  Newcastle
Nottm Forest 0-0 Cardiff
05 Apr 10 |  Championship
Peterborough 2-3 Newcastle
03 Apr 10 |  Championship
Magpies unity 'best since Robson'
30 Mar 10 |  Newcastle
Aston Villa 1-0 Newcastle
24 May 09 |  Premier League

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