It has been argued that Newcastle have one of the most passionate fanbases in English football, and as their connection with Rafael Benitez will testify, it’s important for the manager to make sure he keeps them on his side.
And speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, Lee commented on what the fans can bring in terms of the atmosphere at St. James’ Park when things are going well, and noted how much things have changed in recent years, and put the blame squarely on the shoulders of one man – owner Mike Ashley.
He said: “I think the fans are wild but in a good way because when you go to St. James’ Park, certainly when I played there, they were fanatical. That’s what I love about Newcastle fans because they love their club. They go week-in-week-out even when things are not great, but everyone knows they hate the owner.
“It has been a sort of graveyard since Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson left because everybody since those two has failed. People say ‘why are they failing?’, and it’s because the club is not run well. Everyone can blame Steve [Bruce] and he’s got to take some of the blame because Newcastle shouldn’t be where they are.
“However, everyone knows who the main culprit is, and the fact is we’ve got an owner that doesn’t really want to be there and he’s not going to put any money into the club.”
It is perhaps then a blessing in disguise that there are no fans in the ground at this point of the season, because given the animosity that exists between the fans and the higher-ups at the club right now, there might be some atmosphere at the ground, but it most certainly would not be a positive one.
And that negative energy might not be the best ingredient that they need to get out of the mess that they are in right now.