By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Ryan Taylor has paid tribute to Newcastle fans - and supporters across the world - as he flies out to America today to undergo surgery.
The versatile defender, aged 28, suffered a cruciate injury last August and was on the verge of a return to action last month when he suffered the same fate again.
Taylor has now travelled to the renowned Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colarado, where he will be operated on by Dr Richard Steadman, one of the best specialist knee surgeons in the world.
"I've got my operation on Friday," said the Liverpudlian, who has made 91 appearances for the Magpies since his arrival from Wigan just over three years ago.
"We fly out to Colorado and will meet Doctor Steadman on Thursday, and then have my operation the following day. That's where the road begins.
"He is the best in the world. We know he has been around for a long, long time and it makes sense to use him.
"I'm sure his experience and the fact he has done so many comes into our reasons for choosing him."
And Taylor was overwhelmed by the reaction he has received.
"It's nice when you've got not only the support of the players and the staff, but the fans as well," he explained.
"And it shows how Twitter can be a good thing to interact with people who want the best for you and wish the best for you.
"Once I received the news about my cruciate it wasn't just Newcastle fans who got in touch, but fans from different clubs across the world sending me get well soon messages, which was a nice touch.
"It can help pick your mood up and it definitely will do when I look back over them in the dark days I've got coming way in the next year.
"But I'm sure I'll get through them like I've just got through this one. Hopefully this time I can get back and have no more problems."