Rafa Benitez has revealed that he spoke to Alan Shearer before taking the Newcastle job.

The United Manager(!) saying that Shearer was ‘great’ and had promised to help him in any way he can during a telephone conversation.

Obviously results on the pitch are the only real consideration at this moment in time with Newcastle standing on a cliff edge, staring down at the Championship.

However, in building towards getting the points necessary for survival, Rafa Benitez is showing himself to be a smart operator when it comes to using the media to get his feel good message out.

Getting the fans onboard is a given, the goodwill automatically there with Newcastle at last getting a credible manager after the nightmares of Pardew, Carver and McClaren.

Identifying with former number nine is a no-brainer and as Benitez points out, Alan Shearer has an unqualified love for our football club.

Indicating that he will meet up with the NUFC legend at the earliest opportunity, Rafa can be assured that Shearer will give him a very honest appraisal of where he sees the strengths and weaknesses of the club.

With Rafa Benitez having managed so many years in the Premier League already and with his family home having been in the north west since arriving at Liverpool in 2004 – I think it would be a mistake to think that Rafa isn’t very much aware of Newcastle’s failings over the course of Mike Ashley’s reign.

You can’t have too many friends when you are managing Newcastle United though and ‘every little helps’.

Rafa Benitez:

“Alan Shearer loves the club.

“He told me; ‘If you do well it will be amazing. If you need me or want to know anything, about the city, the fans, everything, you can always ask.’

“He was great, he was really good.”