Newcastle defender Danny Simpson has expressed his gratitude to the club's supporters for their continued support - after his private life was brought into the public eye recently.
In recent weeks Simpson his had his latest relationship carefully deconstructed - and also faced rumours of infidelity from the mother of his only child - with the 25-year-old appreciating the Magpies fans for standing behind him.
He told the Chronicle: "They are class. They always stick up for you. They are top fans."
Simpson also took time out to praise manager Alan Pardew, with the defender stating his belief that playing football can often be the best escape from the glare of the media on a person's private life.
"The manager has been really supportive. And everybody here has," Simpson said. "The papers are the papers and they say what they want. But everybody around me knows the truth.
"Sometimes when all of that is going on around you, it is the best time to play football. You go on the pitch and you can forget about everything. If anything, in the last couple of games I have really enjoyed it. I feel like I am getting back to my old self from last season."
Simpson was delighted that Newcastle secured progress to the Europa League knockout stage on Thursday after a draw with Maritimo, but feels that it is now time for him and his team-mates to focus on their stuttering league form.
"We're through and it has been a pretty tough group. But we're there. We have to concentrate on the league now," Simpson said. "We've ticked getting through off the list and apart from the Bordeaux away game we have a good run of games until the next phase."