Amid the frayed nerves among spectators and players alike as games were contested to decide which teams were to be relegated from both the Bundesliga and the Premier League, there were the usual scenes of ecstasy and despair as the matches unfolded. Freiburg and Paderborn failed to secure their top flight status in Germany with Hamburg scheduled to face Karlsruhe in a playoff game to determine their fate, while Hull City joined QPR and Burnley as relegated teams from the English Premier League. Hull needed to beat Manchester United and then hope that Newcastle would fail to defeat West Ham, but it was perhaps fitting that Jonas Gutierrez at Newcastle was instrumental in helping to secure a successful survival outcome for his team.
Gutierrez signed for Newcastle during the summer of 2008 alongside his Argentinian compatriot Fabricio Coloccini, and both players were part of the Newcastle squad which was relegated from the Premier League during the following May. Both Gutierrez and Coloccini pledged their futures to the Magpies and have remained with the team since promotion in 2010 and their subsequent seasons in the top flight.
Now that Gutierrez had become acclimatised to the demands of the Premier League, his performances as a left-sided attacking player earned several plaudits and many of the Newcastle attempts at unlocking opposition defences were the product of his offensive actions.
However, at the end of the 2012-13 campaign, Gutierrez was diagnosed with testicular cancer and few people other than his close associates were aware of the problem. Surgery was required and the player returned to Argentina for treatment while the form of his friend Coloccini appeared to be affected by the condition of his compatriot.
Eventually his illness was publicised and when Gutierrez returned to the Newcastle first team squad this year, he received a rapturous welcome from the home supporters on his first substitute appearance. Yet it was during the match against West Ham on Sunday when the months of treatment and pain were forgotten as he provided an assist for Moussa Sissoko to open the scoring before he sealed victory with five minutes remaining.
A 2-0 victory for Newcastle was sufficient to secure their Premier League status but Gutierrez may have entered local folklore by scoring the second and decisive goal thus earning a standing ovation from fans when he left the pitch at the finale.
With his contract due to terminate, that game may be his last appearance for Newcastle but he will always be remembered on Tyneside as a man of the people who was quite prepared to join a long queue at the local Apple shop awaiting the purchase of new technology.
Jonas Gutierrez may not have been the best player to appear in the black and white colours of Newcastle but his high popularity rating among fellow professionals and supporters can perhaps not be fully measured.
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