Newcastle defender Steven Taylor believes getting relegated in 2009 was the best thing that could have happened to the club.
Taylor was part of a squad that included the likes of Michael Owen, Nicky Butt, Mark Viduka and Shay Given but plummeted out of the Premier League after a miserable run of results.
The Magpies trimmed the squad and won promotion back to the top flight at the first opportunity - beginning an upturn in fortunes that propelled the club to fifth in the Premier League last season.
As Taylor prepares for Newcastle's return to European football as they travel to Greek side Atromitos in the Europa League on Thursday, the 26-year-old looks back on the club's remarkable journey
"The best thing for Newcastle was getting relegated," Taylor told The Times.
"For me, that knocked everyone down to size; club, players, fans, even the media in a way because the expectations seeped away.
"When I think about five years ago, the club felt like Big Brother. There was always something happening, always drama.
"But those days are gone and that's important. That's why we've been able to move on as a team and as a club.
"We've got players who actually want to be here and do well for the club. It's not about the pay packet.
"Sometimes in the past, the dressing room looked like a group of islands - the foreigners stuck together, the young lads, the old heads.
"That can't happen now. We're such a small squad that everybody has got to mix.
"People would finish training and go straight home. I wouldn't see them until the next day and you wouldn't get much conversation out of them.
"Sometimes you'd hardly speak to the players you were lining up with on a Saturday. Maybe that's one of the reasons why we're succeeding now.
"This feels like an exciting time.
"We raised the bar by finishing fifth last season and we want to improve - that's the pressure we've got.
"But after everything this club has been through, it feels like we can deal with anything. We want to make the most of it."
While Taylor is determined to succeed in Europe this season, the squad has been forced to travel to Greece without the likes of Fabricio Coloccini, Cheick Tiote and Demba Ba - all rested for Saturday's game at Chelsea.
But Taylor insists Newcastle are not taking Atromitos lightly after his last experience of European football when the Toon were eliminated despite beating AZ Alkmaar 4-2 in the first leg.
He added: "We left St James' Park after the first game with everyone thinking, 'This might be Newcastle's year'.
"We took it for granted that the game was dead and buried - we all believed we'd qualified. That was our biggest mistake.
"And then we went to Alkmaar, took our foot off the gas, and everything went wrong."
If Newcastle can overcome Atromitos over two legs they will go into the draw for the group stages of the Europa League.
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