Behind the scenes of Newcastle United’s win vs Nottingham Forest as Dan Ashworth shows his class
Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth visited the St James’ Park press room ahead of the Premier League opener with Nottingham Forest.
Wor Flags spelled it out best: It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for NUFC... and we’re feeling good.
The final six months of last season, although shouldn’t be forgotten, are gone. Now is about the present, and what excitingly lies ahead in the short and long-term future.
Certainly, the first full summer under the new owners has been a progressive one, and plans to build that skyscraper co-owner Mehrdad Ghodoussi talks about are accelerating.
On the pitch, with a further £60million spent on new signings - Matt Targett, Nick Pope and Sven Botman, the Magpies haven’t looked this well prepared for a Premier League campaign in years.
The forever meticulous Eddie Howe has worked on creating an identity and pushed players to their limits - all of which came to fruition in a dominant and relentless high-pressing display against Forest.
Of course, it’s still early days, and perhaps beating a newly-promoted side isn’t the best way to gauge where Newcastle are completely at.
But the signs are undoubtedly encouraging, at least when you take last season’s end of term form into account.
And that is without the two attackers Howe still hopes to recruit before the end of this summer’s transfer window.
Off the pitch, Newcastle have employed two of the game’s most respective figures - Dan Ashworth as sporting director and Darren Eales and chief executive officer.
With Eales not due to start until August 22, Ashworth has largely been pulling the strings, whether that be infrastructure plans or transfers, he’s certainly made an excellent impression.
His personable approach is one of the many reasons why Ashworth is viewed as one of the best at his job in world football, and the North East press pack got to witness that first-hand prior to the kick-off against Forest.
Around 90 minutes before United’s 2022-23 top-flight campaign got underway, Ashworth found time out of his no doubt hectic schedule to visit the press room and chat with the local and national media.
Not to dwell on the past too much, but Lee Charnley - soon to be back in football with Nottingham Forest - barely stepped foot outside of the directors’ box during his seven years as managing director. That, a reflection of a joyless 14 years under Mike Ashley.
Indeed, what Ashworth did was a classy gesture and in many ways, was quite surreal.
He shook the hand of each journalist, asked how we’d come to cover Newcastle United and showed genuine interaction during conversations.
No questions were off limits, answers that further reaffirmed that the football club is heading in the right direction.
Heading back up to the directors’ box around 20 minutes later, Ashworth, between 3pm and 5pm, was able to relax somewhat as United recorded a comfortable victory over Nottingham Forest.
But you can bet as soon as the full-time whistle rang out around a sellout at St James’ Park, Ashworth’s attention reverted back to the crux of the transfer market.
Howe, the next to visit the media suite to conduct his post-match press conference, revealed nothing had progressed on the transfer front but the hard work continues.
And to quote Ghodoussi once more, “patience is a virtue”.