Alan Pardew is convinced the ''astronomical'' £35million sale of Andy Carroll to Liverpool paved the way for Newcastle's recent success.
There was fury on Tyneside when, in January 2011 and despite the manager's repeated assertions to the contrary, Carroll was allowed to leave St James' Park for Anfield.
The 23-year-old will return on Sunday along with former Magpies team-mate Kevin Nolan, who departed for London five months later after contract negotiations broke down, wearing the claret and blue of West Ham.
Carroll is currently rebuilding his reputation on loan at Upton Park under former Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce after failing to find favour with new Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, but Pardew believes the proceeds of the initial switch were central to what has been achieved since.
The former Saints manager said: ''The position we are in, if I'm honest, is because we used the money from Andy's sale well.
''He was a brilliant player for us, but the fee was astronomical. We have used it well and we owe a great debt to him.
''It's nice to see Kevin come back. He did a super job here. Whatever he was asked to do, he conducted himself well. And he gets a goal. He has proven that at any level, he will get a goal.
''I'm looking forward to seeing them both and I enjoyed working with them.
''There will be a lot on the game. Kevin will be determined to get a result, as will Andy and the manager coming back.''
The likes of Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse have been recruited since Carroll and 30-year-old Nolan left the club and while Pardew is well aware of the pair's individual talents, he has no complaints over his lot after guiding the club to a fifth-placed finish in the Barclays Premier League last season and back into Europe.
He said: ''Both of those players would be good additions to this squad, but players have to move on for the sake of the team. That's the Andy Carroll one.
''Kevin was a bit different, he wanted a long contract we wouldn't commit to, but he got one at West Ham.
''He deserves it because he is a great player, but the board didn't think the long contract for Kevin was something he would get here.''
Carroll, of course, might have returned to Newcastle during the summer after being left in little doubt that he had no real future under Rodgers.
The Magpies registered their interest, but there was no appetite from their counterparts on Merseyside to do business.
Asked if there was a point where he thought it might happen, Pardew replied: ''Yes, I thought there was a possibility of it.
''We were in there because he brings something different to the table to what we have got and we could probably do with another striker.
''We were right in there, but unfortunately we weren't able to get it done at board level.''
Newcastle will head into Sunday's game having maintained their place at the top of Europa League Group D with a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Club Brugge in Belgium last night.
They trailed 2-0 after just 19 minutes - the first goals they had conceded in the group stage of the competition - but dug themselves out of a hole with strikes from Vurnon Anita and Shola Ameobi inside three minutes at the end of an eventful first half.
Ameobi, starting a game for the first time alongside younger brother Sammy, said: ''We knew the game was still there for us.
''They did not have much possession, so we knew we could get at them. We were confident we could get back in the game ''Vurnon scored a fantastic goal. That gave us a lift, and to pop up and score the equaliser before half-time was a bonus.
''It was fantastic. The second half was anybody's game. Both sides wanted to win it. It was quite a good game.
''We didn't get the win, but we will take the point.''