Newcastle have finally signed a manager! It never looked like it was going to happen but Eddie Howe joins a side with more money than any other in the bank but with very few points on the board. Howe who has been out of a job since leaving Bournemouth back in August 2020 following their relegation to the Championship is walking into a club who are in need of immediate guidance and leadership.
“This is a wonderful opportunity, but there is also a lot of work ahead of us,”Eddie Howe
Howe is not wrong, Newcastle are currently sitting second bottom 5 points away from safety with a team that are shipping goals for fun and unable to score at the other end. These first few months will not be much fun but are vital in ensuring that Newcastle do not become the richest club to ever grace the Championship.
So we know that Howe must hit the ground running and accumulate some points so that the January transfer splurge is not too late to change the course of the club. But Howe will he do it…? (sorry)
1) Reunite the fan base
This shouldnt prove to be too difficult for Howe, Steve Bruce was such a disliked figure at the club that any new manager coming in was likely to be a more popular choice. However, due to other arguably higher profile managers being linked and then not signing for the club many may feel that Howe is not the best option that they could have secured. Howe just needs to show what he can bring to the club and that he understands the fans and how much the club is a way of life for many, this will go a long way in ensuring that they love him back too. That and a win against Brentford will go a long way!
2) Make Newcastle difficult to beat
When looking at Newcastle currently the one thing that stands out is they are far too easy to dominate in possession. They simply cannot keep the ball and whilst possession doesnt always lead to a positive result, playing every single week with very little of the ball will wear any team down. As you can see below Newcastle currently sit bottom of the table for posession with an average of only 37.3% a terribly low figure and one that needs to change in order for their fortunes to also change.
Another scary statistic for any Newcastle fan, but more so Howe is that of the Shots per game (10.7) with only Watford and Norwich producing slightly less in front of goal.
Grinding out results is not pretty for fans but it is likely that some results will need to be grinded out as a short term solution with the longer term goals taking a back seat for now.
3) Improve output of current team
It is clear that the current talent level is just not there but this is actually where I feel Howe could come in to his own, with respect to Bournemouth they were not the most talented of players but they were organised and were set out as a team which focused on their strengths. With many of the current Newcastle players being less accomplished with the ball than many of his former team it will be interesting to see how Howe tackles his first few weeks in the job. The focus needs to be results so substance may well take priority over the attractive football style which Howe is known for, given time I am sure that the attractive attacking possession based football will return to the forefront but for now a focus on counter-attacking football mixed with increased defensive possesion allowing for rest will be vital.
4) January sign smart
There are no two ways about it, January is pivitol for Newcastles survival this season. Yes it will almost certainly mean longer term targets being left for later due to the nature of the mid-season window, but what it will provide the team with is a ‘band aid’ of talent. The defence will be the main priority and with Coady and Tarkowski both being touted as potential arrivals for Newcastle, this would go along way in ensuring fans feeling calmer and safer in regards to staying up! Luxury signings as mentioned previously are for the summer, January should be seen as an opportunity to bring in the talent required to steady the sinking ship. The current squad know that they are playing for their futures right now and most know that in 1/2 years they are very unlikely to be at the club. The opportunity for them now is that they need to put themselves in the shop window and therefore Newcastle are in a position of strength with everyone needing to perform, just for many different reasons.
5) Set his long-term plans out early
Newcastle must learn from the mistakes and success of others in how they go about ensuring that the long-term plans are both set out early and then carried out correctly. Early signs are that current Liverpool director of football Michael Edwards is being lined up to join the Howe revolution at Newcastle and ensure that Newcastle follow and stick to the path to become a global team in the correct way. There will be mistakes along the way sure, you only have to look at Manchester City/Arsenal/Tottenham to know that not all decisions/signings will be correct. What Howe will need to do is sit down early doors and set out his stall of this is what I envisage for the future and this is what I need along the way. I have no doubt he has already done this to some extent but now he is in post it needs to be set out firmly and I would say made public knowledge to the fans as soon as is possible. Communication is king.
Eddie Howe has a mighty job on his hands but one that he will relish. I mean who wouldn’t? Apart from Steve Bruce perhaps?
The road ahead will be bumpy and not an easy one, even with all of the money anyone could ever wish for. Newcastle and Howe will find that not everything can be fixed with money and that class and reputation can only ever be earned. The future is extremely bright for both fans of Newcastle and Howe himself and I wish them all the best, buckle up Newcastle fans its going to be a bumpy ride.
Howay the lads!