Unai Emery, Paulo Fonseca, Lucien Favre, Frank Lampard and many others all made their way to the top of the bookie’s odds during Newcastle United’s long manager search, but ultimately, Eddie Howe is the man who has been appointed to lead the start of the club’s new era.
I will be the first to admit that a few weeks ago when I heard Howe was in the mix, I was rather underwhelmed having seen the other names who had been linked with the post. Unai Emery was the name that really grabbed everyone’s attention and made us all believe our new owners really meant business. For whatever reason, Emery, who was clearly the club’s first choice to replace Steve Bruce, didn’t happen, and as a result, their clean second choice, Eddie Howe, came in.
Image: Bleacher Report
During the Mike Ashley era, Eddie Howe is a manager I would have bit your hand off for if it meant replacing Steve Bruce, however, at the time, that was more a sign of how desperate I was to see the back of our current manager. A lot of criticism has come Howe’s way from sections of the Newcastle fanbase (me included) throughout the managerial search. Eddie Howe’s recruitment at Bournemouth once they started to reap the rewards of Premier League wealth wasn’t the best, with big prices paid for the likes of Jordan Ibe and Dominic Solanke. Also, whilst Howe is a more expansive and forward-thinking manager, that does lead to his sides leaking a lot of goals, something Newcastle United are all too familiar with at this moment in time. The one criticism that has been thrown at Eddie Howe’s arrival the most in recent weeks has been the fact he eventually fell through the Premier League trap door with Bournemouth, which worries many fans given the club’s current predicament.
However, since over the weekend it became apparent Eddie Howe was to become Newcastle United’s new manager, I have taken a step back, and really delved deep into Eddie Howe’s managerial career and read a lot of opinion pieces on him, as well as some very good tactical analysis pieces on his approach. The more I have read on Eddie Howe, the more excited I have got. Howe is certainly a manager of the modern era, and I think he will be the first manager Newcastle United have had in his mould. The McClaren’s, Bruce’s and even Benitez’s of this world, are very much the experienced older heads of the game, but football has changed so much tactically in the last ten years, that ultimately to keep up and compete, you need a manager that is comfortable in the current footballing climate.
Eddie Howe seems to be an extremely detailed and tactically astute coach, who is able to adapt his approach from one week to next, and really analyse those small details that will ultimately win you a football match. He is a manager that win, lose or draw, analyses each match with a fine tooth combe with his players, and looks for those improvements that could be the difference maker the following week. From reading what his former players have said, he really does seem to get the best out of each and every one of them. Whilst all this probably seems like something a football manager should do, I do not think Newcastle United will have had anything close to this in recent times.
We all know at the moment Newcastle United’s defence leaves a lot to be desired. I know Rafa Benitez was able to get a tune out of our current crop of defenders, however I do believe the we are very weak in that area player for player, and it would be a struggle for any manager to organise them into a solid unit. So, for me, this is where Eddie Howe comes in. He is a positive manager who likes to score goals & put teams to bed. If we can’t defend very well and leak goals for fun, the only way we are going to combat that with the players we have is outscoring the opposition. Howe’s Bournemouth team were a joy to watch during their time in the Premier League, and had some very good finishes in the table with what you would definitely call a very average side on paper. He was also able to form a very prolific partnership out of two current Newcastle players in Fraser and Wilson, both of whom were courted by some of the very top clubs during their spells on the South Coast.
Image: Daily Mail
Newcastle United lack an identity, and have done for some time. When watching the side in recent seasons, you have never really been sure of what they are trying to do, and a lot of the time, you aren’t even sure the players know what is being asked of them. That is certainly something that will change with Eddie Howe, and given that he has two full weeks with the squad before our next game, we may even see a clear idea of that when we line up against Brentford. We have seen so much turgid and negative football at Newcastle for more years than I care to count now, and I am very excited to see what Eddie Howe can do with the current group of players and how we are going to perform in the upcoming games.
Despite Eddie Howe’s relegation with Bournemouth the last time out, let’s not forget he also took that club from the brink of non-league football, to the Premier League in 5 years. Nobody can argue that is nothing short of astonishing.
Image: 67 Hail Hail
Survival is of course the key target this season, but for me, relegation certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world. We finally have the ambitious owners our fanbase deserves, and now I believe in Eddie Howe, we have a manager that can really get the best out of our players, and give us the football on the pitch that we have craved for so long.
Eddie Howe was by no means my first choice, but myself and every single Newcastle United fan will be behind him and wish him every success in the role as our manager.
Howe-y the lads & all that.