Newcastle owners show support as 'special' scenes witnessed despite Brighton disappointment

The mood inside St James' Park was one of deflation as the full-time whistle sounded on Saturday afternoon. Heading into the final home tie of the season, many believed Newcastle United would comfortably continue their solid, Europe-hunting form against a stuttering Brighton. Instead, they dropped two crucial points dropped in the race for sixth spot.

That certainly didn't stop Newcastle players, staff and ownership, joined by their families, from enjoying some wonderful scenes on the St James' turf as they thanked fans for their unwavering support in what has been a tough, gruelling campaign.

Despite the disappointment of the Brighton setback, plenty of supporters stuck around to show their appreciation long after full-time. After all, this is a group that has stuck together resolutely through a season almost undone entirely by injury luck never before witnessed at this club.

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Newcastle chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan jetted into Tyneside for the final home clash of the season, and joined the likes of Amanda Staveley, Mehrdad Ghodoussi and Jamie Reuben on the pitch at full-time. Staveley enjoyed a lengthy chat with Eddie Howe by the touchline, before individually thanking players. Meanwhile, Ghodoussi made sure to interact with some of the younger members of the lap of honour, many of whom seemed a bit overawed by the occasion. Al-Rumayyan was spotted deep in conversation with Alexander Isak, who was withdrawn in the second-half after suffering with illness in recent days.

Absent stars, including Fabian Schar, Joe Willock, Jamaal Lascelles, Sven Botman and Lewis Miley, all saw St James' Park for the last time in months as they returned. At the Gallowgate End, the kids took turns to score in front of those who had stayed behind.

The scenes came to an end with club photographer Serena Taylor snapping her customary photo of the entire group in front of the Gallowgate. Some of those involved in the picture may well be plying their trade elsewhere the next time the tradition takes place.

As for Howe's side in the short-term; two crucial games away at Manchester United and Brentford await. A season-defining double to see if they will be playing Europa League or Europa Conference League football next season.

The Newcastle boss will want full focus on the upcoming fixtures but did take time to acknowledge how special it was to give his players, and their families, the chance to celebrate at St James' Park before the season concludes.

"It's an amazing thing," Howe said at full-time. "The beauty of that moment at the end is you get the players, staff and their families to come on the pitch. These people are fundamentally important to our lives but never get to share the experiences we get. They're never really seen.

"It was nice to see everyone's children on the pitch, sharing and embracing in everything to do with Newcastle. So it was very special at the end."