Rafa Benitez is a man who knows the value of the backing of the fans – especially in a city like Newcastle, where supporters trust him enough to heed his requests.
In a more transient, mercenary sport it’s rare for a manager to establish that sort of relationship with a fanbase these days – and it’s certainly unique at St James’ Park, where a succession of bosses were seen mainly as ‘yes men’ or accessories to a regime that is unpopular on Tyneside.
With that power comes responsibility, as Benitez is aware. That connection is one of the prime motivations for him remaining at Newcastle through a turbulent summer and he will be aware that he can set the tone for the next few months with his next utterance.
Benitez was untroubled by charges from pundits that he was being too negative when talking about United’s business.
He wants to be straight and honest and unlike his predecessors he doesn’t feel he should have to make excuses for a hierarchy that have not delivered what he feels he was promised.
Benitez is no-one’s fool and even if there will be no explicit attack on his owner, we’ll be left in little doubt about his feelings surrounding the window.
But at the same time, he knows that to make this season a success he needs to recreate the kind of atmosphere that inspired United against West Ham at the end of August.
So we can expect a measured narrative when Benitez gives his first press conference since the window on Friday. Transfer questions will be referred to the powers-that-be while he will talk about “concentrating on the job ahead” and the importance of the fans staying on his side.
Depressingly, he will be getting used to treading this careful path – having done the same thing in January.