Industry experts Brand Finance have identified Newcastle United as the world's fastest-growing football club.
Rafael Benitez' were announced as the winners as a part of Brand Finance's annual Football 50 report, an annual release that analyses and ranks top football clubs by their value and their brand.
United finished in first place with 92%, which is 20% more than runners-up, Juventus. In the listed top 10, Newcastle finished ahead of Chelsea, Watford, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. This is seen as a remarkable achievement given the Toon Army spent the 2016-17 season the second tier of English football.
The table-topping result is said to have been decided by the club's instant return to the Premier League as well as the Newcastle faithful's support and level of fan satisfaction due to the Magpies' winning performances on the pitch. Overall brand management and social media presence are also among other factors considered.
"Most valuable threshold in world football"
Joslyn Pannu, communications manager at Brand Finance, said: “Newcastle United have just passed the most valuable threshold in world football; promotion to the Premier League.
“The Magpies have deep roots in the Premier League and the restoration of such an iconic club will boost the brand strength of the league as a whole.”
In Brand Finance's Football 50 report, even they spoke of the rivalry between Newcastle and Sunderland... "Sunderland's loss has been Newcastle's gain."
The report said in full: "The costs of missing out on Premier League status are clear too. Another season in the Championship for Aston Villa and relegation for Sunderland see both drop out of this year’s list. Sunderland’s loss has been Newcastle’s gain.
"The Magpies’ promotion will see revenues return and restore international exposure to the Tyneside club. As a result, brand value is up 92% to US$247 million, making Newcastle this year’s fastest growing brand."