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Opinion

That man is Eddie Howe and that time starts today

6 days ago
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Former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once infamously said, that “a week is a long time in politics.”

Whilst former Newcastle United Head Coach Steve McClaren once infamously said, that (in football) “two days is a long time, a week is a very long time.”

Now I remember watching the football under McClaren and indeed, some matches seemed to drag on for a week at times, but with that sentiment in mind, the last fortnight has seen much change and thankfully, much hope restored to Newcastle United.

As a side note, just a month ago Kevin Keegan’s words from his 2018 Autobiography came true:

“I look forward to the day when Newcastle is free of the man who has lurched from one bad decision to another, run an empire of self-harm and handed money and power to people who deserved neither.”

October 2021, Newcastle fans got to see that day and the words were even immortalised in banner form by the excellent “Wor Flags” displays. That day should be remembered as the moment that hope could finally begin to return to the club.

Furthermore, on the 8th November the new owners finally landed Eddie Howe and (before anyone reminds me) I was actually unimpressed.

If you had offered me Eddie Howe as a replacement for the then incompetent Steve Bruce under the Ashley regime, I would have snapped your hands off. But under this new, progressive, cash rich regime, I wasn’t convinced. Hardly progressive or enthusiastic.

The initial pursuit of Unai Emery was always unlikely to be successful. A Champions League chasing manager was hardly likely to swap the bright lights (and warmer weathers) of eastern Spain to partake in a relegation scrap on the bitter cold north east shores of England. That’s taking into account that his fellow compatriot Rafa Benitez did.

Benitez’ rescue mission proved to be initially unsuccessful in 2016 but given the amount of time Ashley gave him, this was always on the cards with the state the club had been left in by the owner and then Head Coach Steve McClaren.

Similarly, it’s no secret that Amanda Staveley’s favoured option was to bring Rafa back as talks had taken place back when the takeover was first mooted and IF the club had been sold last summer, it’s near certain that he would be back at the club now. Despite the functional but often one dimensional football under Benitez, I wouldn’t have been against that. Alas that ship had sailed.

However, circumstances have changed, attitudes have changed. The trouble I have is that certain things remain the same and in particular, this modern fixation with bashing Newcastle United and it’s fans. We still get the usual “Deluded Geordies with unrealistic expectations” line from anyone south of Scotch Corner, usually as click bait designed to provoke a reaction and rile up passionate fans defending their club.

For no other club gets as much sh.t thrown at it by two bob pundits and slack jawed (usually southern based) presenters on TV and radio as this club does. I’m damn sure they wouldn’t attack their own if a London based club had been given the chance to merely compete, following a takeover after years in deliberate exile.

That is why I have changed my opinion, as I reserve the right to do that…

That is why today at 3pm, Eddie Howe will have my full backing.

I made it clear that I didn’t want Steve Bruce as I’d seen and heard what he’d done at previous clubs. It filled me with horror and I wasn’t enthused when he was touted to take over from Sir Bobby as far back as 2004. This opinion was re-enforced over two and a bit years in charge at NUFC where he mismanaged players and was only saved from relegation these last two seasons due to massive slices of luck intervening and getting him out of jail.

All I’ve heard from Eddie Howe so far seems honest. That’s all I ask in the short term. We must all wish him all the best of luck in sorting this club out where it matters on the pitch after inheriting an absolute mess. Similarly, we must give the owners time. We also must ignore the sniping and (often) faux political outrage from naysayers and rival fans. They’re rivals for a reason – they don’t care about Newcastle United, they don’t want it to do well.

Eddie Howe has come in and, much like Amamda Staveley, hasn’t put a foot wrong. Words have been said and seem honest and genuine. Nobody can argue with that. People may not get actions right all the time, mistakes will be made. That’s life. Honest intentions will make or break this club as apposed to the dishonest, self serving words and actions of previous owner Mike Ashley and many of the Head Coaches and Managing Directors he employed on his watch.

For now, I’ll go back and butcher Kevin Keegan’s quote. ‘For I look forward to a time when someone is handed the power to do things properly at this club and someone who deserves that chance.’

That man is Eddie Howe and that time starts today.

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