The Newcastle United pre-season is beginning to take shape and the Championship is rapidly racing towards us.

Luckily we have the Euros this summer as a valuable distraction but you can’t help but keep one eye on what is happening at Newcastle United, or rather what is being talked about.

With 9 days until the fixtures come out and only 54 days until the Championship kicks off, fair to say that if it wasn’t for the presence of Rafa Benitez, there would be some worrying glances towards St James Park with no visible proof of what is happening in advance of the season.

With trust in Rafa we are all confident of plenty occurring beneath the surface but even he has said that ideally he wants to get his signings in early on…

These are a few dates to bear in mind in the coming weeks:

Wed 22 June Championship fixtures announced

Tues 28 June Players start reporting back for Pre-season training

Sat 9 July A week’s training camp begins in County Kildare, Ireland

Sun 10 July A Newcastle United 11 playing friendly at Bradford Park Avenue.

Sun 10 July Final of the Euros

Sat 16 July Friendly match away to Bohemians

Wed 20 July Friendly match away at Doncaster

Sat 23 July (Steel Park Cup at Corby Town) Newcastle United 11 plays Corby Town

Sun 24 July (Steel Park Cup at Corby Town) Newcastle United 11 plays PSV

Sat 30 July Friendly match home to Vitesse Arnhem (reported by Dutch media but not as yet confirmed by the clubs)

Sat 6 August Championship kicks off

Wed 31 August Transfer window closes