6 great sport channels
Football, Rugby, UFC, GAA
All free when you join eir Broadband
Rafael Benitez is to remain in charge of Newcastle despite the club's relegation from the Premier League.
Benitez signed a three-year deal with the Magpies when he was brought in to replace the sacked Steve McClaren but the contract is understood to have included an option that would allow him to leave after failing to keep the club in the Premier League.
Supporters held up banners ahead of the final home game of the season against Tottenham, urging the former Liverpool, Inter Milan, Napoli and Real Madrid to stay on as managers and the 56-year-old intimated that he was open to extending his tenure on Tyneside.
He has spent a number of days in talks with the club in a bid to thrash out a deal and signed a three-year contract which will give him 'day-to-day responsibility for all football-related matters'.
"I am extremely pleased to be staying at Newcastle United," Benitez said.
"The love I could feel from the fans was a big influence for me in my decision to stay, as was my relationship with Lee Charnley and all the staff.
"This is a huge club and I wanted to be part of the great future I can see for Newcastle United."
Benitez took charge of Newcastle for the final ten games of the season, winning three and taking the club on a six-game unbeaten run and managing director Lee Charnley believes the Spaniard can lead the Magpies back to the Premier League.
"When we brought Rafa to the club in March, we knew he was a phenomenal manager and everything we have seen from him since has only served to reinforce that," he said.
"We are therefore delighted to have secured his services for the next three years and I believe with Rafa as manager it gives us the best possible chance of returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking and delivering success for this football club beyond that.
"It is clear that Rafa has connected deeply with the club's supporters and we do not underestimate the role they have played in his decision to stay.
"He has captured the hearts and minds not just of the fans, but of everyone who has had the pleasure of working with him at the club thus far.
"As a world-class manager we had no doubt in our minds as to the importance of retaining him at Newcastle United."