Geordie fans take Heed after Ben Arfa's shock link up with fans
After meeting Hatem Ben Arfa for the first time back in August my gut reaction was that the Frenchman was a genuine student of the game who was also being serious when he was quick to make the point that he'd done his homework on Newcastle United before signing for the Magpies from Marseille.
Let's not forget, we've had our fair share of overseas mercenaries that claim to love Newcastle United and constantly perform the badge kissing ritual that seems to lack impact the more a player does it these days.
Ben Arfa insisted he simply loved football and was desperate to tap into the passion of the Geordie punters as soon as he could.
Saying and doing are two different things but on Saturday it clicked home to me that Ben Arfa REALLY is a genuine football lover.
Don't forget, some players see playing for football clubs as a "a job" and often lack the passion that would offer them another 15% on the field.
When I was alerted to the fact that Ben Arfa had spent his Saturday off by deciding to watch Gateshead's 2-2 draw with Rushden & Diamonds to take in a Blue Square Premier game, it was obvious that he is deadly serious when it comes to understanding just what the Geordie public are all about.
You couldn't quite see most top Premier League stars doing that could you?
And even from his own background, the Calirefontaine Academy, could you see his fellow graduates Abou Diaby, Thierry Henry, Seb Bassong, Nicolas Anelka or William Gallas following suit?
But in Ben Arfa Newcastle have something different to bring to the table.
When asked why he'd done it, his answer was to sample the atmosphere and simply take in a local game.
To many of the 701 fans in attendance at the International Stadium, he certainly went up in their estimation.