With the feel-good factor not only back at St James Park, but spreading across the entire Tyneside community, one Newcastle-based business will be taking things to the next level ahead of the game against Brighton on Saturday evening.

Pavel’s Gents Hairdressers, from Forest Hall, was founded in memory of the former Newcastle United and Czech Republic shot-stopper, Pavel Srnicek, who passed away late last year. The football club was already in a state of disarray and the shock news of his passing compounded that fact.

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Time is a great healer and things do change as the club brought in Spaniard Rafa Benitez and, although the Magpies were relegated, the feel good factor fast returned and Rafa’s community, charitable spirit spread across the north-east.

Outside of his daily duties, Rafa has immersed himself into the local community, taking time to attend charity events and make contacts with local businesses. For Stefan Brown, owner of Pavel’s, the gesture Rafa has afforded the city needs repaying and they’ll do so with a St James fly-by with a banner of thanks and good luck to the man the fans have dubbed ‘Rafa the Gaffa’.

Stefan said: “We have really liked the idea of the Gallowgate Flags and wanted to come on board with that but do something a little different, go that extra mile if you will.

“When Pavel passed away last year it hit us all on Tyneside and Rafa has helped to ease that pain and at the same time turn the club’s fortunes around. With the Gallowgate Flags having the successful start it did then we thought a positive fly-by would add to it.

“With this being a live TV game then we have a national audience so we can say ‘thank you’, personally, to Rafa and wish him, and the players, good luck for the season ahead.”

The fly-by over St James Park is scheduled for 5:20pm this Saturday evening directly before Newcastle United kick-off at 5:30pm live on Sky Sports.

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