Eddie Howe May Not Have Been Newcastle’s First Choice, but He Should Not Be Written Off

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After watching Newcastle United draw 1-1 with Brighton, Eddie Howe was soon officially confirmed as the club’s new manager. Since the Saudi-backed takeover of Newcastle last month, there had been much speculation over who would replace Steve Bruce at the helm. Despite flirting with Unai Emery, Newcastle have ultimately been forced to settle for Howe, who returns to management for the first time since leaving Bournemouth in the summer of 2020. 

It’s a strange situation for Howe to arrive to after the club’s very public courting of Emery. The Villarreal coach was seen as the ideal man to lead the team into this new era, but it’s understood that Emery became unhappy with the way Newcastle were going about things, and there appeared to be a lack of strategy at the top level at the club. That caused the former Arsenal boss to get cold feet, staying in Spain and rejecting Newcastle’s advances.

And so, Howe received the call, and he’ll have to quickly put out of his head any doubts about the owners’ faith in him. It’s clear that the English coach has been waiting for the right opportunity since leaving Bournemouth, and Newcastle’s newfound financial muscle should help him build a squad capable of challenging in the top half of the Premier League and becoming more favourable in the English Premier League odds from Betfair

Of course, the first challenge will be making sure Newcastle stay in the top flight. At the time of writing, they have failed to win any of their first 11 Premier League games of the season, and Howe’s first job will be to instill a winning mentality at the club. 

It’s understandable that there are doubts surrounding Howe’s suitability for the job. His Bournemouth team that got relegated from the Premier League in the 2019-20 season showed little in the way of defensive solidity, something Newcastle crave greatly, having failed to keep a single clean sheet all season. In the end, Bournemouth’s relegation was pretty weak, and there was a sense that Howe lost his ability to motivate the players.

However, in all this there has been a tendency to focus on the negatives of that final campaign on the south coast and ignore the sensational job Howe did in leading Bournemouth up the divisions and establishing them as a Premier League outfit for five successive seasons. Not only that, but he did it all by playing an exciting, attractive brand of football, providing plenty of entertainment along the way.

Those who have played under Howe will speak of his man-management qualities, and it’s clear that Newcastle need someone to bring the team together and create a cohesive unit. Howe is just about as hard-working a coach as you can get, and there’s no doubt that he will have a clear plan of how he wants this team to grow and develop. 

In the hysteria of Newcastle’s takeover, with names like Antonio Conte and Erik ten Hag being bandied around as potential replacements for Bruce, many fans perhaps lost perspective. If Newcastle are to grow in stature and challenge for honours at the highest level, it will be a long process, and Howe is the kind of manager who you can envisage leading the club for many years. 

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His first challenge is to keep them in the Premier League, and the January transfer window will be crucial. After that, you can bet that Howe will have eyes on the top half, Europe, the Champions League, and eventually the Premier League title. Newcastle fans will need to demonstrate patience and back their coach. Rome wasn’t built in a day. 

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