By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Alan Pardew's belief that Newcastle have the "best fans in the world" was further strengthened by an amazing turnout at the club's open training session on Friday.
The Newcastle manager has regularly experienced the passion of the Geordie faithful since he became manager in December, never more so than when they helped the team overcome a 4-0 defecit against Arsenal to salvage a draw last season.
More recently, he was in the dugout as around 5,000 fans travelled to Blackburn in midweek, but even so he was amazed by the numbers that attended the St. James' Park open day.
Pardew said: "It was a super day.
"When you walk out at this stadium it's always special, and then here we come on an open day when we have six, seven thousand people there.
"It's unbelievable and just goes to show that we have the best fans in the world - and I'm not embarrassed to say that.
"It's very important for a football club that you have a good feeling running through the terraces right down to the pitchside, and we have that.
"I think there's a trust from the terraces in what we're doing and especially in the players that we have. And that trust has came out in a number of areas this year, that has seen us get victories.
"Because we can't do it without the tremendous backing that we've got here. I think they see that we're trying to do it the right way, approaching the game in the right style, and hopefully producing football that makes them want to come back every week.
"And it'll bode well if we can keep that feeling."
Pardew plucked supporter Peter Toogood out of the crowd to join in with the training session, but although the 19-year-old scored a penalty in a practice game, he did not do quite enough to earn a contract.
"I don't think Mike Ashley'll be too pleased if I sign him - he didn't look too competent with the ball!," the manager smiled.
"But I just spotted him in the crowd and it just says everything about our fanbase that we have that type of character.
"And he enjoyed it, I think - although he needs to work on some of his technique!"