Shots & Giggles: Newcastle fans created a much-missed atmosphere at St James’s Park

Flags fly in the background as Matt Ritchie celebrates his winner against Derby
Flags fly in the background as Matt Ritchie celebrates his winner against Derby
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The uncertainty of Rafa Benitez’s future on Tyneside was the big talking point for the majority of last week.

Rumours circulated of his anger and disappointed as the club failed to bring a single new face into the club during the January transfer window.

Fans from across the world waited in anticipation for the manager’s pre-match press conference, eagerly waiting for Rafa to clear up the situation, and like music to the ears of us all the words “I am not quitting” echoed around the packed media room.

Rafa demanded that the fans supported the team throughout a tough few uninspiring results. He pleaded for the club to stay United – without the fans support and encouragement the club and team could not pull through and go on to win this league.

We listened! The GallowgateFlags fan group ordered a last-minute display, appealing for fans to volunteer to raise the flags high pre kick off, creating a deep sea of black and white across the famous Gallowgate stand and Strawberry corner.

The visual was as spectacular as always and along with the deafening echo of ‘Rafa Benitez’ chants from the pits of the terraces it created a much-missed atmosphere at St James’s Park, an atmosphere which has long been forgotten over previous seasons.

Of course we’ve experienced plenty of ear-splitting moments inside the ground of late, but normally it will be an absolute peach of a goal or a blatant referee injustice which will get the crowd on their feet.

Saturday was the polar opposite: the football wasn’t appealing on the eye at times, and the refereeing performance matched that standard but we were there in numbers once again to support Benitez, the man who has single-handedly brought the fans back close to the club.

He’s repaired a broken bridge between the supports and hierarchy – albeit that for now it may just be mended together with twigs and water.

Despite recent reports and rumours, the club is once again in a strong position, Benitez at the helm, the fans turning up in numbers, the team grinding out results and the club in pole position to win the Championship and gain promotion back to the Premier League.

As fans we need to keep the support going until Jamaal Lascelles has that trophy raised in the air.

Let’s go on and win this now.

Howay the Lads!