Eddie Howe explains to Alan Shearer what it means to be Newcastle United manager – This is outstanding
Alan Shearer has been interviewing Eddie Howe.
The latest in a series of excellent Alan Shearer interviews on behalf of The Athletic.
A very long read (in modern day online media terms!) but a very very essential piece to read, if at all possible.
I have taken a few brief extracts from that really long and intense interview and it brilliantly sums up the feeling that we all have, of what is happening at Newcastle United after the misery of a decade and a half of Mike Ashley.
Eddie Howe explains to Alan Shearer what it means to him to be Newcastle United manager and it is outstanding.
What about this for an opening to the Alan Shearer piece as he interviews Eddie Howe for The Athletic:
‘We are on the Gateshead side of the river, gazing through a hotel window at the thick, black water below, across the span of the Tyne Bridge towards Newcastle and a place called home. Eddie Howe has been talking about the city’s ferocity, about tumbling head over heels with the gorgeous madness of it, about being able to see St James’ Park from here, from his new house, from everywhere and then he says something that makes my breath catch.
“I’m not here to just exist,” he says.’
Eddie Howe perfectly summing up there, inadvertently, what exactly it felt like for those 14+ years of Mike Ashley.
Alan Shearer delivering perfectly again and Eddie Howe responding:
‘And it makes you wonder all over again, just how Newcastle United came to be that zombie football club, ticking through the seasons, cold and stripped back, existing but scarcely trying, where supporters tramped in under sufferance and then grumbled at the owner, at the manager and sometimes both, everybody split into angry cliques, when it could have been like this. Seething, vibrant, together, alive and full of yearning.
Newcastle have moved on from the Mike Ashley era and maybe it’s time we stopped trying to explain the loss we felt as fans — that I felt as a player from a happier time — when the big idea was winning something or grasping for it. Nobody listened. Eddie has come to Tyneside and reminded us of ourselves, moulding our geographical isolation, our sense of being ignored, into a deafening strength.
“I’m not in it to be popular or anyone’s second team,” Eddie says and it is like a symphony crashing in my ears. “I’m in it to try to win, to create a culture and environment where we don’t accept anything other than winning. To do that, you can’t be labelled nice or soft touches and that means doing everything to get that win. At times, that might be unpopular with opposing teams, opposing supporters, referees.”
He wants, he says, “that feeling of us against everyone else. I’m trying to create that internally, but I don’t think we’re having to force it. It’s something we can feel in Newcastle. There are a lot of people who want to knock us and criticise us and probably don’t want us to be successful. We’ve got to embrace that.”
“I’ve fallen in love not just with the place but with the people as well,” he says. “Immediately at the training ground, the first people you meet going in, you think, ‘I wonder how this is going to go…’, but I’ve loved them from minute one. I don’t know how they feel about me, but I certainly love them! And then the supporters, obviously, that connection we’ve grown to have a good feeling off each other. I love the fact it’s all about Newcastle. I love that intensity.”
“I’m trying to build the unity we need, not just with the players I’m working with and the staff and supporters, but through the whole city, that we’re all together, that we’re all united against everybody else. To say, ‘Come with us on this journey as we try and fight everyone for success’.’
I love this next bit, Eddie Howe totally honest as always:
“If you look at our points tally last season, it ended up OK from where we were, but our general performance-markers and the key stats you look at — possession, shots, shots conceded — were quite low. We won a lot of games towards the end, but we weren’t the dominant team a lot of the time. I don’t think you can sustain that.
“If that’s your style then eventually you’ll stop winning and you’ve got a big problem. So we’re trying to change. It’s got to be gradual, but we’re trying to implement a style where we’re progressive and dominant and going home and away to attack the game. That’s going to be my biggest marker in terms of how we improve rather than points.”
Eddie Howe ending with…
“You’re swinging all the time,” he says, “so you just want to make sure that you keep moving forward, you keep positive momentum. That’s why I think our style of football will be important. We’ve to give our supporters that glimpse of the future and what may be.”
Various discounted offers for The Athletic are currently available, well worth considering. The above extracts are just scratching the surface of this excellent Alan Shearer piece with Eddie Howe.
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