Fans at the club's open training session

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Around 5,000 fans turned out at St. James' Park as Newcastle United held a free open training session on Friday.

Alan Pardew, together with his coaching team of John Carver, Steve Stone and Andy Woodman, put the players through their paces in front of a packed Gallowgate Stand.

There were competitions before and after the session while one fan, Pete Toogood of Shieldfield got the amazing opportunity to train with his heroes.

Turnstiles opened at 9.30am as supporters streamed into the stadium, and they were entertained from the start by Northern Rock Skills Rock competition winners, who showed off their skills on the pitch.

Then out came the players, led by skipper Fabricio Coloccini, to warm up before taking part in a small-sided game.

As the players warmed up, Pardew plucked 19-year-old Toogood from the stand to join in - and it was quite a sight as the young fan's head was painted in black and white stripes, as it is for every home game.

There was a huge cheer as the teenager struck a penalty past Rob Elliot during the practice match - and when he fell flat on his face during a drill!

With a big game against Stoke on Monday, most of the players then headed down the tunnel after around an hour, with each one of them applauding the fans who had come to watch them.

However, goalkeeper Tim Krul stayed to face penalties from young fans who had won the opportunity in a Magpies Members competition during the week.

And Sammy Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands, Ryan Taylor and Dan Gosling took part in a crossbar challenge competition against a handful of lucky Club Members - with the supporters hitting the woodwork three times compared to the players' one!

After the training session, 30 Magpies members were invited to a signing session with the entire first-team squad while three Club Members attended Alan Pardew's weekly press conference.

The day was summed up as manager Pardew, who has led the Magpies to fourth in the Barclays Premier League, took to the microphone to thank the supporters for the magnificent turn-out.

He said: "You are the best fans in the world, without a shadow of a doubt."

And as 5,000 of them cheered back at him, it was hard to disagree.