Zahra Zomorrodian is the Gateshead-based filmmaker behind the project, which has the working title ‘We Are The Geordies,’ and she was thrilled when Rafa agreed to take part.
The Newcastle United manager is not the focus of the documentary, and neither is the team on the pitch, however, his decision to remain at St James’ Park following relegation to the Championship is key to the positivity supporters are taking into this season.
Likewise, Rafa has talked about the important part Newcastle’s supporters played in his decision to stay at the club. In his interview with Zahra for the documentary, Rafa also reveals the extent to which Newcastle supporters should be grateful to his daughters for encouraging him to stay. Asked if daughters had a major bearing on his decision, Rafa says: “It’s true. My family wanted me to stay because I was two years in Italy, six months in Spain. So for them, to stay in England was really important.
“They follow the social network, they have Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, all these things. “And they were telling me ‘Listen, the fans love you. You have to stay. You have to stay for them. You have to win for them.’ “For one or two weeks, they were pushing and pushing.”
For Zahra, that kind of insight into the influence fans can have, even remotely via social media, adds important context to the film. And, when she came up with the concept of recording the season from the fans’ perspective, it was because the club is at such an interesting point in its history.
Zahra says: “The feeling around the city, the positivity, the fact that more than 35,000 season tickets have been sold, all that stems from Rafa’s decision to stay.
“And it’s that feeling of hope and a re-connection with their club that makes Newcastle fans of such interest to me as a filmmaker. “Really, the timing of this documentary is all down to Rafa. He’s given Newcastle supporters belief and we want to record that positivity, and the way they deal with the disappointments that naturally happen. “Like Friday night’s result at Fulham. As a fan, that was a setback, but it’s interesting from a filmmaker’s perspective to see how those disappointments are handled.”
In Rafa’s interview with Zahra, he also directly addresses fans and asks them to support both the film and his team.
Rafa says: “I am trying to support this [the film]. I think it’s important to do this film for the fans, about the fans, and I think that you will enjoy it. “I will say to all of you, stay keeping and supporting the team. Stay behind the team and the players, they will appreciate that. “And you will be a crucial part if we go up. It depends on you. We can try our best but you can make a difference.”