Date: 15th September 2016 at 11:56am
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We’ve said and written about it for many years on here with various fans eventually catching up in this past year. That was the soul was ripped out of Newcastle United.

Well, it was until Rafa Benitez joined as manager.

The football on the pitch may not have matched the expectation level in that we didn’t demand a team to win anything but that a team that tried. However, the hard work started by Rafa Benitez has started to address this problem.

The work that Benitez has done both on and off the pitch has been well documented but the work by others has not and it featured in a North East article in the past week

Newcastle got a new head of corporate affairs who used to work for one of our local papers, The Journal. His name is Brian Aitken and he spoke in a piece about what he is here to do and what others have been up to.

Speaking about it, Aitken said that he was appointed to bridge the Grand Canyon sized division between the club and it’s supporters, a fractured relationship that needed a lot of care and attention with many saying it was in the last minutes of life support.

He went on to say that Mike Ashley’s sidekick in Lee Charnley was the reason for him coming as he himself was restructuring the club aside from the Rafa Benitez stuff.

Speaking in The North East Times, Aitken said: It`s almost gone under the radar, but Lee has been busy restructuring the club, it`s not just been about keeping Rafa Benitez as manager and it`s not just about what happens on the pitch.

What Lee has said and done has given me the confidence to join the team and get involved. In simple terms, there is a view that Newcastle United has had the drawbridge up for a few years now.

We need to let people know that not only is the drawbridge down but that there is a welcome mat at the front door.


Too many times over these past six or seven of the Mike Ashley years has stupid decisions been taken that can only really benefit one person for the financial spin offs but recently there has been various small changes that look like things have really changed with the kit sponsorship being up for renewal this season, it could be one of the final pieces in the jigsaw for some people to realise that change is what we really have got.

You can’t help people feel short changed or worried that if they get involved with the club again that they will be emotionally hurt but things like replacing the likes of Wonga will go a great distance in healing the wounds.

If everything does get sorted and we’re competing to be the best we really can be in the top division then the 52,000 seater St James’ will be nowhere near what this club could potentially attract to games, so it shouldn’t be aimed at a small market. Growth is good and it will have to be looked at.

Continuing on about his role, Aitken went on: I don`t know if that was perception or reality but, thankfully there is an acceptance internally that the club has to change things, to raise its game.

Lee is very keen to have an open dialogue with business and for the club to take its rightful place at the North East business table and I am here to help with that.

Yes, Rafa has made a major difference. Every time I hear something about what he has done, he rises in my estimation, the impact of the so-called Rafalution is enormous and the levels of optimism are higher now than they have been for years – despite the drop to the Championship. That optimism is infectious and makes my job a little easier.