Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez applauds fans
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has given his thoughts on the club's annual open day at St James's Park, scheduled for August 1, and his words underline both why is he good for the Magpies and the club's supporters.
It will be an opportunity for supporters to see the players trained by Benitez and the rest of the coaching staff, for free, something he feels is important.
And after disappointing managerial appointments over the last couple of seasons, such words and observations have helped usher in a sense of optimism at the club despite suffering relegation to the Championship.
In his message posted on the club's Twitter page, Benitez said of the open day: "This will be a good occasion to feel the connection and closeness of the fans. To be together all of us before the season starts."
The Spaniard has proved himself a popular appointment on Tyneside, even if he was unable to stop the Magpies from slipping out of the division.
Benitez created a powerful bond with Liverpool supporters during his time on Anfield, and it is telling that he has emphasised the connection with the famous Newcastle support. The Toon Army are such a big part of the success and tradition of the Magpies, but have been at odds with the club's ownership for the last few years. Benitez will know that a successful Newcastle side must work hard to continue strengthening bridges with their fan base, and that the right relationship can fire the club to real heights.
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez during a press conference
The 56-year-old has already made a difference at the Magpies, even if it did come too little too late. He kept Newcastle unbeaten in their final six matches, which helped the side record three wins including a famous 5-1 victory over title challengers Spurs.
The St James's Park crowd were desperate with their pleas for the former Real Madrid and Liverpool boss to remain in the North East, and were delighted when he agreed to try and take Newcastle straight back into the Premier League at the first attempt.
With new arrivals, and a manager like Benitez in charge, this could be the rebirth of a new, exciting Newcastle United. And the Championship would do well to watch out.
Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez