Having bowed to the demands of Rafa Benitez and accepting they had to change their way on the football side of things, Newcastle United have now made another new appointment to try and improve matters off the pitch.

Managing Director Lee Charnley has admitted that the club had ‘…in some respects, become disconnected from the North-East business community’ and have now belatedly made moves to address this.

Mike Ashley giving his consent for Newcastle United to appoint Brian Aitken as head of corporate affairs.

Previously editor at The Journal until 2014, Brian Aitken has been given the job of bringing the football club closer to the North-East’s business community.

Working alongside Nicole Atkin who is Newcastle United’s head of business development, Aitken will be tasked to develop a partnership scheme which is aimed at getting the club working alongside local industry.

Whilst there is a lot of ground to make up, hopefully this is another positive sign that Mike Ashley has realised that the way he was running Newcastle United was damaging for everybody, especially him.

Brian Aitken:

“Newcastle United is the biggest brand in the region; it is open for business, and open to business.

“Managing director, Lee Charnley, wants to position the club at the heart of the North-East’s business activities.

“It is exploring the formation of a business partnership scheme, to be fully up and running for the 2017-18 season and I want to talk to as many people as possible to hear what sort of member benefits they would like to see on offer.

“It’s a fantastic concept and I’m looking forward to working with Lee, Nicole and the club’s corporate sales and partnerships teams.

“With Rafael Benitez bringing the feel-good factor back to St James’ Park, there has never been a better time for the process to begin.”

Lee Charnley:

 “We’re excited to be bringing Brian on board; he is well-known and respected in the region.

“While the club has many close, established relationships with businesses, we recognise we have, in some respects, become disconnected from the North-East business community.

“We know we need to do more to be part of the vibrant entrepreneurial scene and to give businesses the opportunity to be part of the club.

“St James’ Park has the potential to sit at the very heart of regional business and we want to work closely with the business community to understand exactly what they need from us.

“We want to support regional businesses, both through their association with us and by giving them opportunities to do business in an exciting location.

“In turn we know the club will be strengthened by nurturing those relationships.”