‘Where to start?’ - £25m former Arsenal midfielder issues touching Newcastle United message

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Newcastle United supporters and players have been reacting to Allan Saint-Maximin’s departure.

Several Newcastle United players have posted farewell messages to Allan Saint-Maximin over the last few days, though none have been as touching as Joe Willock’s.

Saint-Maximin’s four-year spell at St James’ Park officially came to an end on Saturday after his reported £23million move to Saudi Pro League side Al Ahli was confirmed.

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The 26-year-old scored 13 goals and provided 21 assists in 124 appearances for Newcastle, though those statistics only tell half the story with the Frenchman also striking up an unbelievable bond with the supporters and people within the city.

“Four years ago, I wore the Newcastle jersey for the first time. At that moment, I hadn’t realized that not only was I about to become a Newcastle player, but I was also about to become a Geordie,” Saint-Maximin wrote.

“You might think « nice Goodbye message » but the sentiment runs deeper than any words I could say, from the very first months that I met the people of this city, I truly understood them and embraced their unwavering passion, which is why it was so important for me to give my all and if this meant to play injured or even not making statistics, I didn’t give a ---- as long as it would help my team.

“Believe me, I fell for Newcastle, I had great opportunities to leave during dark days, but that was too late I was already in love, I wanted, I needed, I had to stay for helping my team to save the club from Premier League relegation because it meant the world for me.

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“Of course, during those dark days some may have had their doubts, but I always believed in this club and look where we are today, it’s just so beautiful. I’m leaving Newcastle as it should always have been and that’s my greatest trophy because I was a part of it.

“A deep thank you to ALL of you, my teammates, the loyal fans, the staff, the Club, etc… I’ve seen all your messages, thank you and even though this chapter has ended, the story never stops. Newcastle is home now, I’ll continue to be your biggest supporter, I’ll watch every game and as long as the club keeps winning I’ll be the happiest man in the world… and for sure you will see me again.

“I love you, I love you sincerely, I love you like a Geordie brother. Once a Geordie, always a Geordie.”

Messages from supporters and his Magpies teammates have came flooding in but it was a lengthy message from Willock that gained the most traction.

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Willock and Saint-Maximin first struck up a strong relationship when the former initially joined on loan from Arsenal in January 2021. The Frenchman was then a major factor in Willock’s decision to complete a £25m permanent move the following summer.

The pair enjoyed 18 months on Tyneside together.

“Mon Frére [my brother] where do I start? One lovely thing about this sport is that you get to meet wonderful people on your journey and share unforgettable experiences with people that are your true brothers,” Willock posted on Instagram.

“We shared so many great moments together and you were a friend I could rely on from the moment I moved to Newcastle through hard times and good times.

“Thank you for everything brother I’m going to miss you so much 😢❤️.. Go shine and show them your gift to entertain ✨ we will play together again one day ❤️”.

You want me to cry?” Saint-Maximin replied. “I love you like a brother I miss you so much.”

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