Rafa Benitez says that he wants to recreate on Tyneside the ‘really good relationships and friendships’ which he developed with the people of Liverpool.

The Manager wants to see Newcastle United more deeply entwined with the community, to build on the ties that are already there and the work the Foundation does.

Sadly, year after year the fans have felt the club becoming increasingly remote from the community, as Mike Ashley has made decision after decision to alienate people.

To make matters worse, by employing yes men like Pardew, Carver and McClaren, the club’s owner ensured that there was no respected figure who could potentially act as a buffer between the club/owner and the people.

Rafa Benitez obviously does carry that respect and if allowed to get on with things without any intervention from Mike Ashley, is capable of performing wonders on and off the pitch at Newcastle.

Rafa wants to bring the supporters closer to both club and players and has confirmed that for starters, the club will once again hold an open training session for fans to attend.

As for the number of fans keeping their season tickets or supporters buying their first (or returning), Rafa simply says ‘It is hard when you love something to stay away’.

Rafa Benitez talking to the Chronicle:

Community relations

“Yes, we will have an open training session for supporters for sure.

“We want to bring fans closer to the club and to the players, we are all a team together.

“And the club is also a really big part of the city and the community.

“I have been talking to the staff and talking about the club’s Foundation, and also about the local charities in the North East.

“The club already does excellent work in the community, and we can add to that and hopefully do more.

“I have really good relationships and friendships with the people of Liverpool and Merseyside. I want to develop the same in Newcastle.”

Season ticket sales

“It does not surprise me so much because these are fans who love the club. It is hard when you love something to stay away.

“But it is fantastic to hear that areas in the stadium have already sold out and that there have been queues for tickets at the stadium.

“I have to thank them for showing their faith in me as the manager and already I look forward to seeing them in St James’ Park in August.”

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