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Steve Black writes to the Newcastle fans

6 years ago

In the latest email to Newcastle fans, it is Steve Black who has his name on this one.

Working on a cosultancy basis at St James Park, Black pays tribute to Steve McClaren’s qualities, somebody who he has known for a long time.

Describing his role at Newcastle United as ‘simply to help people become better at what they do’, Steve Black says that when he arrived he saw ‘more talent than results’.

Let’s hope we are seeing plenty of both over the course of the next nine months.

Here is what Steve Black had to say:

We’re evolving things together

I’m very pleased to be writing to you this week as we look to take the momentum of two positive results into the game with Arsenal this Saturday.

As part of Steve McClaren’s new backroom team, I firstly want to say it’s wonderful to be back in the North East, to be home. I’m biased but there is incredible passion for sports here and especially football. It’s in the blood.

As a coaching team, we are evolving things within the club together. Steve and I have a great relationship and have known each other for a number of years.

He has a good mind but first of all, he’s a good person and that means a lot to me. He’s a very good football coach and importantly, he wants to get better. That drives standards.

My role is simply to help people to become better at what they do – to act as a supporter, a catalyst, a mentor, a coach, an advisor. On a day-by-day basis, I work with the players, Steve, the coaches and the medical staff to create a winning environment; an environment of excellence.

When I first arrived, I saw a team that had a lot more talent than results suggested. That was my first impression. Another was that if we could get them organised, find out what was driving them and get them motivated – which doesn’t happen overnight, we could move towards creating a probability of success rather than just a possibility.

To achieve that, we have been talking to players about their personal quality control and team quality control. We ask what they want to achieve and we talk about how they can go about doing that.

We want to create good habits. If you use your time wisely and have quality control that ensures you meet your expectations and ambitions, you can’t go far wrong. You need to do the right things and to do them effectively and efficiently.

In my career, I have been fortunate to work across lots of sports and with lots of different athletes. The common theme is that it’s about coaching people. I have an obsessive love of sport but a lot of the messages I want to to convey and questions I ask could be applied in sports, in business, across all sorts. ‘How hard have I worked? How high have my standards been? How eagerly have I interacted? Have I enhanced my standing in the group? Have I enjoyed my work?’

You need to glean from sports science how to treat individual players in a bespoke way and gel that to produce team performances.

Ultimately, ‘well done’ is better than ‘well said’. We have to walk the walk and so far, our physical statistics are excellent. We’ve seen a group of people who have awoken their desire.

Invariably, great teams show incredible ambition when they’re attacking and unbelievable spirit when they’re defending. Against Manchester United last weekend, when we had the counter attack at the end, it showed incredible ambition at that stage in the game and I was delighted we really went for it.

That’s a sign of team ambition manifesting itself. We were sharp, bright, alert, we saw things first and we got there first. We smelled opportunity and threat. We did a lot of things well and over time, that will get better.

On Tuesday evening, we wanted to give Northampton the utmost respect in our cup game against them and the best way to show that was to go out there and do a really good, professional job. To show ambition and spirit. As the fans who were there with us on Tuesday will testify, we did that.

It’s important that we don’t get carried away in victory or defeat. Our professionalism should transcend that, so straight after the game, our focus turned to Arsenal.

We have a general strategy of how we want to play but that has to adjust and adapt to each opponent. We obviously want to accentuate our strengths and our opponents’ weaknesses and we’re now working hard on that ahead of Saturday’s game at wonderful St. James’ Park. I hope to see you there.

Steve Black


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