Today is the start of a new month and the start of a new era at St James’ Park. Although, that could be replaced with error, judging by the reaction of fans on Twitter.
The first of July means Rafa’s contract has officially expired and the club will have to move on from the Spaniard.
The 59-year-old released a statement on his official Twitter page in which he thanked the supporters and stated he would have liked to have stayed, but not under the conditions offered by the club.
He is now expected to sign a lucrative deal to manage Dalian Yifang in the Chinese Super League, according to a report in The Sun.
The report claims Benitez will be paid £12million-a-year, double what he was paid while on Tyneside.
Commonly when a manager leaves the supporters can be split in opinion. However, the reaction of the Geordie fanbase paints a different picture. In this case, the departing boss has the full support of the Toon Army, and the anger is pointed at Mike Ashley.
The fans took to Twitter to share their gratitude towards Benitez. The If Rafa Goes We Go Twitter account stated ‘You gave us hope where there was none’ whilst another fan posted ‘Rafa, you are irreplaceable.’
— Rafa Benitez Web (@rafabenitezweb) July 1, 2019
Thank you for everything Rafa, you are irreplaceable
— Rob Clothier (@tfRob1892) July 1, 2019
Thank you, Rafa. We’ll always love you ❤️.
— D Fender (@delfender) July 1, 2019
Thank you Rafa!???? Maybe someday you’ll be back to #nufc!????Good luck for the future!????
— Evgeny Kolobrodov (@Jason_Mag) July 1, 2019
Thank you to you and your team Rafa for what you did for #nufc and the dignity and personality you brought to the club. It’s so sad to see you go but you are far too good to be messing around at Sports Direct FC. One day soon #nufc will be a project worth taking on but not yet
— Jack (@JackStanley86) July 1, 2019
What a man, thanks Rafa and good luck. You will be hugely missed.
— Nufc42 (@nufc42) July 1, 2019
Thank you Rafa. Thank you for giving us belief. Thank you for giving us hope. Thank you for giving us pride. Thank you for giving us inspiration. I wish you all the very best, you will be fondly remembered in these parts. Thank you #rafa #nufc
— JB II (@claudey_jivo) July 1, 2019
Thank you for a great 3 years, you gave us hope that we have not had since SBR. #NUFC
— Angel???? (@01dunnn) July 1, 2019
Thank you Rafa for everything ❤
— Andrea Cowell (@AndreaTiggy746) July 1, 2019
Classy and eloquent as ever Rafa, made his point without any mud slinging. Forever an #NUFC legend
— The Perennial Pundit (@PerennialPundit) July 1, 2019
Love you and thank you for the best three years at our club. ????
— Ameè (@AmeelouNufc) July 1, 2019