Newcastle United’s 4-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday was about so much more than the result as players and fans rallied around one of their own.
Sandro Tonali was taken off the bench with 20 minutes to go amid an investigation into alleged illegal betting which is seeing him face a lengthy ban from football.
The summer signing was dropped from the starting XI but was introduced in the 69th minute to wrap up the win thanks to goals from Jacob Murphy, Anthony Gordon, Sean Longstaff and Callum Wilson.
United have been vocal in their support for the summer signing with a mid-match gesture from one of the Italian’s teammates in the spotlight on social media.
When the 23-year-old was subbed on for Bruno Guimaraes, Dan Burn could be seen in the TV shot applauding as Tonali’s name was announced and as he ran onto the pitch.
It’s a gesture that’s been met with a lot of love and respect, with one fan saying: “Dan Burn applauding Tonali on to the pitch. Love that. Love this team.”
But the love didn’t stop there.
After the final whistle was blown, Tonali led the team’s lap of honour around St James’ Park which also saw him receive a warm reception.
And the support saw Eddie Howe thank fans for helping Tonali through this tough time.
“It sort of came to me when we were doing our walk that I wanted him to be at the front, to see the love closer up,” Howe said.
“A big thank you from me to our supporters today. That reception at the end today was incredible and it was emotional.
“He’s going through an incredibly emotional time and the supporters reacted how I hoped they would. I could feel the love between him and them and that will do him the world of good, he’ll feel much better.
“We don’t know what’s ahead for him but a big thank you from me to them.”