Ben Arfa says goodbye to Newcastle
Hatem Ben Arfa has bid farewell to Newcastle fans by expressing his thanks to them in an open letter.
The 27-year-old France international, who has a year remaining on his contract, appears to have played his final game for the Magpies after joining Hull on a season-long loan with no recall clause in the agreement between the two clubs.
Ben Arfa, arguably the club's most gifted player, had been frozen out by manager Alan Pardew after a breakdown in their relationship, but remained a favourite with supporters despite his inconsistent form when he played.
He wrote in the city's evening newspaper, the Evening Chronicle: "To the Toon Army, I want to pass on my thanks to all the fans that supported me during my time at the club and living in a city that will be forever in my heart.
"Thank you also to everyone at NUFC and to Hull for making this loan happen. I wish Newcastle the best of luck. I hope they have a good season.
"I can't wait to launch my career again with Hull and Steve Bruce. I thank him for the trust he has shown in me bringing me to this club."
Ben Arfa, who signed off his letter with "Howay the lads", did not train with the senior squad during pre-season and has not been involved in the opening four first-team fixtures.
But fans sang his name during Saturday's 3-3 Barclays Premier League draw with Crystal Palace, and the tide of criticism which has come Pardew's way since his departure is likely to be vocalised both at Southampton next weekend and when Hull head for St James' on September 20.
The Frenchman, however, cannot play in that game under the terms of his loan agreement.