NEWCASTLE United clinched the Championship title with victory over Barnsley, after Brighton conceded a late equaliser at Aston Villa.
Ayoze Perez, Chancel Mbemba and Dwight Gayle scored in a comfortable victory, but it was Jack Grealish’s 89th-minute goal which sealed the Magpies’ title.
Perez’s flicked finish made it 1-0, before Mbemba smashed in to double the lead from a Perez rebound.
Under manager Benitez, Newcastle brought 12 players to the club after dropping into the Championship last summer, with Matt Ritchie and Gayle moving down a division to sign five-year deals.
More than £50 million was spent in transfer fees alone, but these were offset by the sales of Andros Townsend, Moussa Sissoko and Georginio Wijnaldum among others.
Nevertheless, the Magpies were still under pressure to achieve promotion – a feat they managed with two games to spare.
Benitez’s side have battled with Brighton throughout the season for top spot, but since the Seagulls achieved promotion on 17 April they have dropped off the pace dramatically.
Ultimately it was three straight wins for Newcastle and three matches without three points for Chris Hughton’s side that told, giving the Toon the perfect end to the campaign.