Amanda Staveley on Eddie Howe, investment and Newcastle United’s Premier League relegation battle

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Newcastle United co-owner Amanda Staveley has hailed manager Eddie Howe as “extraordinary” - but insisted the Magpies have “a long way to go” in their battle against relegation.

Saturday’s hard-earned 2-1 home win against Brighton and Hove Albion extended United’s unbeaten run to eight league games as their recent improvement continues to gather pace.

With most results elsewhere at the bottom of the Premier League falling in their favour, Howe’s side now lie seven points clear of the relegation zone ahead of Thursday night’s trip to Southampton.

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The game to the South Coast kicks off a challenging trio of away fixtures with Sunday’s visit to Champions League-chasing Chelsea quickly followed by another away day at struggling Everton four days later.

‘I saw every game it gets better and better and better’

Speaking at the North East Football Writers Awards - where Staveley picked up the Player of the Year award on behalf of Magpies winger Allan Saint-Maximin - the United co-owner revealed her delight over the improvement shown under Howe and stressed the importance of remaining focused throughout the rest of the season.

She said: “Relegation battles, as we all know, are really tough and we are determined not to get relegated.

“Every game matters, we have a long way to go and we mustn’t take our eye off the ball.

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“We are very proud of the whole team and the fans that have been so incredibly supportive.

“He (Eddie Howe) has just been extraordinary and you have got to remember when he took over, the team wasn’t fit.

“I saw every game it gets better and better and better.

“Mehrdad (Ghodoussi) and I, the first day we walked into the dressing room with the lads, we said we know this is a difficult time but we know the plan we’ve got.

“Everybody has worked so hard, it’s not always about new signings, you can see the atmosphere, it’s the whole team that’s made it happen.”

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Staveley took a moment to reflect on the first five months working as part of the consortium owning the club.

A significant investment was made during the January transfer window with Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Dan Burn, Bruno Guimaraes and Matt Targett all added to Howe’s squad for a combined total of around £90million.

That made the Magpies the highest spenders in Europe during the month and saw the new owners flex their considerable financial muscle for the first time.

‘We have to put in a huge amount of infrastructure’

Further investment behind the scenes is planned as the PIF-led consortium look to strengthen a skeletal-like infrastructure left behind by former owner Mike Ashley.

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Staveley revealed the thought process behind United’s planning and spending during the January window and is keen to follow that up with investment in the club’s academy, training facilities and women’s team in the future.

“When we came into the club, we couldn’t do our job without the massive support of the PIF,” she explained.

“We are very lucky to have great investors and great shareholders in the PIF and the Reuben family.

“We were very determined in the transfer window and we were very focused on what we needed to do and what we had to achieve to not get relegated.

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“It was all about saying to the guys, this is the end game, but we have to put in a huge amount of infrastructure.

“We saw the girls play today and they were brilliant. I was so inspired seeing the girls win today and I hope one day my girls are up here as well.

“We’ve got a long way to go in terms of getting the right training facilities, the academy investment, but luckily we have the best club in my view.

“It’s just amazing.”

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