Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton has defended the city of Newcastle, saying he would love nothing more than to bring his kids up there.
The city and its football club have been in the spotlight this week after claims made on talkSPORT by radio broadcaster Ian Abrahams and former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy.
Abrahams had suggested that St James’ Park is only sold out for every home game because there is nothing else to do in Newcastle; a claim for which he later apologised.
Newcastle's last major trophy win was the Inter-City Fairs Cup in 1969; that near five-decade wait was one of the other reasons Abrahams, known as 'Moose', cited they were not a big club.
Murphy sided with Abrahams, saying that United were not a big club.
However, Barton - who played for the Magpies from 2007-11 - took issue with both observations about the city and club.
He said: "I fundamentally disagree with them.
"I lived in the city for four years; it is probably the best city I have lived in if I'm honest.
"I've lived in London, the south of France, but I absolutely adored living in Newcastle; phenomenal people, really beautiful place to live.
"Clearly those guys have not lived there, have not spent enough time there, and don't know what they are talking about.
"It is a great club, it is a big club; I don't think that is up for debate.
"What is a big club? If you are getting 50,000 bums on seats, for me, you are a big club.
"Winning trophies? If that is the case then there are lots of clubs that get bums on seats but don't win trophies all over the world but I don't think that is the testing of a big club.
"I think if you spend a period of time there you will realise what a great club it is.
"That is why it is sad to see all the shenanigans that go on there because it is a club that has huge potential and we have seen when Kevin Keegan was there that it was a phenomenal football side.
"Even Sunderland, who are nowhere near the size of Newcastle, they play Coventry this weekend and they have sold 5,000 tickets.
"It is a really great sporting part of the world the North Eats.
"You look at the Falcons in rugby, the basketball team, ice hockey team, it is a really great sporting team, great golf courses and Moose and Murph, I think are slightly biased probably because they live in London and don't spend enough time in the North East.
"You can ask anyone who has lived there, if you live there and embed yourself in the culture and embrace what it is about it is a phenomenal place to live.
"I lived in the city centre, or just outside the outskirts for three years and I would go back there in a heartbeat.
"It was a phenomenal place to live and have a family and I would love nothing more than bringing my kids up there.
"It is a great place."