Guillem Balague asks pertinent question about Rafael Benitez's future at Newcastle

The Spanish journalist believes the Magpies fans may be a key reason for the manager choosing to stay at St. James' Park.

The future of Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez is still up in the air, but Spanish journalist Guillem Balague seems to believe that a deciding factor in the next move of the coach and club could be the supporters, judging by his sentiments on his official Twitter account.

Benitez has had a marked effect on the Magpies since replacing Steve McClaren as manager in March, when he took over a side seemingly broken and destined to be relegated without a fight.

Though it understandably took a while for the Spaniard to have an impact at St. James' Park, with the club gaining just a single point from his first four games in charge, he then oversaw a spirited, if ultimately unsuccessful, revival.

Since losing 3-1 to Southampton on 9 April, Newcastle went unbeaten in their final six, winning three and drawing three, although they were already relegated by the time of their remarkable 5-1 thrashing of Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Now, the focus is on Benitez's future, with fans petitioning for the ex-Liverpool boss to stay, and conflicting reports having emerged about whether he will or won't stick with the club in the Championship.

Balague, who as a Spanish football expert knows Benitez from his time with Valencia and Real Madrid, believes that the passionate, eternal support of the Geordie faithful could be a key factor in persuading the manager to stay.

With Newcastle beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 (they eventually went on to win 5-1), Balague tweeted on his own personal account: "Who would not manage a team with those fans? Amazing sound and scenes at St. James' Park #allonboard."

Benitez is certainly a popular man with the St. James' Park faithful, and it appears that warm feeling is mutual.

The Spanish boss said last month that one of the reasons he felt so at home at Newcastle was because the Magpies supporters share the same intense passion for their club as fans of Benitez's former side Liverpool.

The Geordie supporters will be hoping that bond is enough for the 56-year-old to decide that his future should lie with the North East club in the Championship next season.

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