'You have to be really proud of that' - Rafa Benitez reveals his honour at special banner tribute from Newcastle United fans

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"We will follow you everywhere, we’ll always have your back. In spite of the lies they tell us, we’ll never doubt you. We are with you."

It was a simple message, written in Spanish, emblazoned across the Gallowgate End prior to the weekend 1-1 draw with former club Liverpool - but it meant so much to Rafa Benitez.

And the Newcastle United boss has revealed his pride at the personal support shown to him by the Magpies faithful.

"As a manager you are really pleased and really proud to see the fans behind you and the team," said Benitez of the Gallowgate Flags display.

"As a person, it means even more. When you have been in Liverpool and you know how the fans were with you, and you were at Valencia and had the same - normally if you are successful, the fans have a good relationship with you - especially two or three places which I have a good relationship with the fans.

"They appreciate that if you play well and win and if you are professional. They are not stupid - they have information and they know that we work very hard here and that we try to focus on that.

"I think that they appreciate all these things, the connection with the city, the Foundation and things like the club are trying to do. I am trying to help the club do those things, but sometimes it is not just you, the club is doing things and you support the idea - so everybody is winning.

"You have to be really proud of that."

Meanwhile, the group that orchestrated the Rafa banner have decided to wind down their activity and hand over responsibility to another prominent fans group Wor Hyem 1892.

A statement on the group's Twitter feed read: "Gallowgate Flags has reached a natural end.

"We have raised over £20,000 of supporter money to create visual displays to support the team and manager. What started as a plan to get a couple of flags has turned into something much bigger.

"We've achieved that goal, with Sunday’s display against Liverpool eclipsing anything we thought possible.

"Thank you to Lee Marshall and NUFC who made this possible and welcomed us from the very start. This isn’t the end of flag displays on The Gallowgate - all of the flags are still there and will be used.

"We urge everyone who supported Gallowgate Flags to get behind Leazes Flags. Let’s get the place rocking at both ends of the ground.

"The flag displays will continue but under the direction of a different group who have been handed the money we have in the bank as well as all of the flags.

"Little will change in many respects, but Gallowgate Flags and some of the people behind it have moved on to new projects."