Newcastle United have today sent out their second email to Newcastle fans with Steve McClaren’s name attached.
Two weeks ago today, the first one ‘from’ Steve McClaren confirmed who his backroom staff were (though details of Cathro, Simpson, Black and Schoenmaker’s appointments had appeared in the press the week before) and told supporters that emails to fans would be one of the new ‘preferred’ means of communication. As well as the use of Sky Sports and The Mirror as approved partners.
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In that first missive two weeks ago, the Newcastle Head Coach said that fans would get an email in advance of last Friday’s match at Gateshead, though that never appeared.
However, the next day supporters received an email from the club confirming Georginio Wijnaldum’s transfer, presumably that deal took longer than expected and hence no pre-Gateshead letter.
Today’s (see below) sadly doesn’t announce any further signings but Steve McClaren says that on what he has seen so far, the current players can ‘take us a long way’.
Against the evidence of my own eyes I really hope the Head Coach is correct, though I’ll still be getting the prayer mat out in the hope that the next email will include a few signings.
We have now made the journey from Milwaukee to Sacramento having completed the first leg of our US tour and the travel has given me an ideal opportunity to let you know how things are going.
We’ve really enjoyed being in the United States so far. Talking to supporters, they are delighted to see the players here and to get the opportunity to watch them train and play.
We had a lot of supporters down to see us training in Milwaukee on Monday and even more inside Miller Park for our first game against Club Atlas on Tuesday. There were a lot of black and white shirts around – and a lot of people with American accents wearing them, which is great to see – and they created a fantastic atmosphere.
Tuesday night’s game against a strong, physical Club Atlas team was a very good workout for us. It was just what we needed at this stage of pre-season and we got through 70 minutes at a good tempo.
It took us a little while to adjust. Atlas are a good side. They were quick and direct and you could see they were ahead of us in their pre-season preparations. Once we adjusted, we dominated the second half especially and created good chances.
We were good with the ball. We had the courage to play; the players wanted the ball.
That said, I didn’t think in the first half that we were good without the ball. Atlas were very aggressive, they won more duels and tackles and broke up play more than us. At half time, I said to the players that they have to look after themselves but they must make sure they compete. They certainly did that in the second half. We were aggressive back and there was only one team in it after that.
The performance at this point is obviously important, but so was the spirit. We were 2-0 down after a short time and the players’ heads could’ve dropped. But we stayed in the game. We got a deserved goal back just before half time and we looked like scoring again.
Ultimately, we’ve come through unscathed with no injuries and I’m very pleased about that. Our aim is to give the players as many minutes as possible as we head deeper into pre-season.
I thought the end of the game was great in terms of being able to see fans again and for those in the stadium to get closer to the team. The players went around the stadium and signed autographs, took photos and really took their time doing so.
That’s important. As well as preparing, we are also here to see people who haven’t seen the team for some time or who are watching the club for the first time. The people of Milwaukee and the supporters who have travelled to see us so far have been fantastic.
We are now in California ahead of Saturday’s game and we have two days to prepare for it. We have watched Sacramento Republic and it will be a different game but equally as challenging, particularly in such warm temperatures. We had a test against Atlas and we’ll get one on Saturday. We have also welcomed Gini Wijnaldum to the group today and I’m sure you’re all very excited to see him get started.
There’s a long way to go for us all. We need to continue building fitness levels over what is a relatively short pre-season.
We have to build a winning culture and a good environment, build the team and get them on board with what we’re trying to accomplish. We want the players to have attitude and to fight for every minute.
The signs I’ve seen from the team are that the players are taking on board what we’re telling them, what we’re coaching them. If the players keep up the attitude and spirit they’ve shown me, it will take us a long way.
I look forward to updating you again soon.