Newcastle United lost a world class manager when Rafa Benitez left in the summer.

That’s a fact we all know.

Rafa was a manager with a glittering track record of success, a total professional who in spite of being provided with relatively paltry resources at the club, managed to organise and inspire our team to punch above its weight.

And we loved him for it.

He was loyal to the club, players and fans throughout his contract and, although totally disillusioned by the owner’s lack of ambition, was able to leave with his head held high.

The club tried to point to his eye-watering salary in China as the reason he did not sign a new contract. But we all know the real reason, because we shared his frustration at the lack of vision from those who own and run our club.

As fans organised group protests, the club hoped that bringing in Steve Bruce as an experienced replacement would steady the ship, get a few results, and everything would settle down and be tickety-boo so that they could once again just sit in a corner and count the gate receipts.

To be fair to Bruce, he knows he’s not in the same league as Rafa, and the result at Tottenham was an achievement few people expected.

Against that however are the disappointing defeat at newly-promoted Norwich as well as home draws against Watford and Brighton, who are the sort of teams we should be expecting to beat if we are going to avoid another nail-biting fight in the relegation zone.

Yesterday against Brighton, a crowd of 43,316 attended St James’ Park – the lowest crowd since 2010. On Sky, some of the empty seats in the East Stand and Leazes End were there for the world to see.

Unusual to say the least at the cathedral on the hill.

There was no organised protest yesterday. No boycott demands from fans groups. Unless I’ve missed it, we haven’t actually heard anything from those groups lately?

It’s clear that an organised boycott or any other organised action isn’t needed at the moment as fans are clearly voting with their feet.

Yesterday’s crowd followed the 44,157 who turned up to watch Bruce’s team huff and puff against Watford without blowing their house down. A Watford team who were taken apart 8-0 by Manchester City yesterday.

Yes, many EPL teams would love crowds of 43 or 44 thousand. But this is Newcastle United we are discussing here.

It’s clear that approximately 10,000 disillusioned fans have followed a disillusioned Rafa out of the door. And before anyone starts pointing fingers about “fair weather fans” can I just say it was a lovely sunny day yesterday!

And remember, many of these fans have been suffering as loyal fans for 30, 40, 50 years and have finally had enough.

The falling gates are the biggest and strongest message that fans can send to the current owner. And the club finally needs to realise that the sacred cash cow is drying up. And it could get a lot worse.

Time for the owner to leave off buying washed-up high street brands and sort things out at NUFC.

Or maybe just leave totally and sell the club to someone who actually cares?

What do you think? As ever, we would welcome your comments, opinions and views below (We use Disqus).

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