Rafa Benitez refuses to take a side on the planned 11th-minute walk in by the fans   
Photo: Getty/Mark Runnacles

Rafa Benitez refuses to take a side on the planned 11th-minute walk in by the fans   

Newcastle United supporters are planning on arriving at the stadium 11 minutes after kick-off to show their displeasure towards owner Mike Ashley and his 11-year ownership of the club.

Aaron Hindhaugh

Rafa Benitez was not eager to give a positive or negative answer towards the weekend's planned protests at St James' Park against West Ham United

The Spaniard was asked what his thoughts were on The Magpie Group's planned walk in on Saturday but instead asked that the Geordies give the players their full support when they are inside the stadium.

The fans will do what they think is right

The Spaniard always wants what is best for Newcastle United and the fans which is why he wouldn't say either way if he agreed with the protest.

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The protest has been planned for nearly a month now and will be a tough decision for many fans to make with the team on a three-game winning streak.

Benitez told The Chronicle: "I am not here to tell them what to do."

"I respect our fans."

"They will do what they feel is best for the team" - Benitez

The Spaniard is hoping that he can enjoy another three points with the fans whenever they decide to come into the stadium.

"I have a lot of respect for our fans and hopefully we will enjoy another three points together."

Benitez spoke very highly of the Geordies in his pre-match press conference for the match against West Ham.

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"Our fans have been really good for a while, and especially at Burnley."

"They showed the passion and commitment they have."

"They will do what they feel is best for the team."

What to expect

The Magpie Group have been planning this protest for some time now as they try to increase the pressure on owner Mike Ashley to sell the club.

It is expected that around 20,000 Geordies won't be in their seats at kick off come 3 pm.

The protest has already received coverage from Sky Sports and if all 20,000 people follow through with the protest it will get much more national coverage on Saturday.

The significance of the 11th minute is that it symbolises 11 years of Ashley owning the club and is an attempt to increase the pressure on him to sell the club.

The group will be hoping this is the catalyst for people to go with their idea of boycotting the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers next Sunday on TV.