Has an era of renewed communication been opened at Newcastle?

Steve McClaren improved the confidence levels between club and fans with an impressive interview this past week, which may be the start of something new.

The arrival of billionaire owner Mike Ashley in 2007 quickly coincided with communication between Newcastle United and their fans falling to a new low.

The stoic 50-year-old ignored repeated calls to sell his majority shares in the club, shunned the spotlight and imposed a club shut-out to certain media outlets that denounced his reign.

Managers under his duress, notably Alan Pardew, found themselves giving little insight into club affairs on or off the pitch under strict orders. These actions served only to further the distance felt between disillusioned Newcastle fans and the club they so passionately follow.

Following a disastrous season that so nearly became devastating; the relationship between the club and its fans has gradually improved in the past four months, capped off by a notable 60 minute interview with new boss Steve McClaren this past Monday evening with BBC Newcastle.

Refreshingly honest, McClaren was happy to answer the questions asked of him during a call-in session with the Toon Army.

Hot topics such as the club captaincy, cup policy, Moussa Sissoko, Charlie Austin, and a poor pre-season were all discussed head-on by the 54-year-old in a move that hearkened back to yesteryear on Tyneside.

The days of Kevin Keegan standing outside St. James’ Park and discussing the sale of star striker Andy Cole with the hard-core supporters may have passed but that does not mean that affairs inside the club cannot be discussed openly, within reason, with those on the outside.

It was a welcome move from the new boss, who has made it clear that in order for the club to move forward, its relationship with fans must improve drastically.

While some view Mike Ashley’s stunning interview on the final day of last season as no more than a stunt to placate a furious fan base, it is a marked development over the silence that had befell the club in previous seasons.

In addition, Monday's open day at St. James' Park drew a respectable 15,000 fans and, as McClaren stated, it gives the session more of a competitive edge for players training whilst allowing supporters to catch a glimpse of their heroes.

There is a long way to go, of that there is no doubt; one positive summer will not make up for years of silence. For now, though, there are signs that things could be changing at Newcastle for the better.

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