There was a moment towards the end of yesterday's impressive victory at West Brom when Newcastle manager Alan Pardew turned and gave a thumbs-up to owner Mike Ashley in the directors' box.
It was a moment that summed up the remarkable transformation in the fortunes of Pardew and his Newcastle side in the six weeks since they travelled to a Monday night match at Stoke City fresh from Ashley saying that "if we lose. . . then he's gone".
They did lose that night, but Pardew stayed and Ashley has been rewarded with a run of five straight wins in all competitions.
Indeed, in prevailing at the Hawthorns, Newcastle climbed to eighth in the Premier League and within two points of fourth place.
After a victory secured by goals from Ayoze Perez and Fabricio Coloccini, Pardew expressed his gratitude to Ashley for the patience shown to him. "Everyone was pulling at him when we weren't winning any games and he stuck with me and was very supportive," he said.
"Our performance level has gone up with the confidence," he added. "It is difficult to be manager of Newcastle when you are losing (because) excuses don't really wash with our fans, but we weren't far away in those games at the start of the season.
"Newcastle fans are an extreme. They are emotional - when they win, they go mad, when they lose they go mad, and we weren't winning."
The travelling supporters were going mad for the right reasons after a performance which highlighted the canny business done in the summer when they picked up Spanish forward Perez for £1.6m from Tenerife and Dutch right-back Daryl Janmaat for £5m from Feyenoord.
Perez's opening goal on the stroke of half-time was a splash of colour on a grey first half and underlined the potential of the Spain U-21 striker. Remy Cabella picked out the overlapping Janmaat and the right-back delivered a low ball across to Perez, who diverted it into the far corner with a delicious flick of his heel.
Once in front, they never looked like surrendering their advantage to a subdued Albion side and added a second goal following a half-cleared corner in the 62nd minute. Janmaat was involved again, recycling the danger with a brilliant cross to the far post, where Coloccini arrived behind Craig Dawson to bury a header for his first league goal since January 2011.
For Albion, this was a disappointing day that would have got worse had Foster not tipped over Perez's late volley. (© Independent News Service)