Eddie Howe pays tribute to Newcastle United owners after ‘life-changing’ decision - two years since takeover

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Today marks exactly two years since Newcastle United were taken over by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, PCP Partners and RB Sports & Media.

“In the two years the owners have been here, it has been incredible for the football club.” Those are the words of Eddie Howe as he reflects on Newcastle United and his own personal journey on the two-year anniversary of the takeover.

When the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, PCP Partners and RB Sports & Media purchased the club from Mike Ashley on October 7, 2021 for £305million, a team managed by Steve Bruce sat in the Premier League relegation zone.

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Bruce was sacked after the first game - a 3-2 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at St James’ Park - and a little under a month later, Howe arrived. It didn’t click straight but when it did following a 1-0 win at Leeds United on January 22, 2022, Newcastle haven’t looked back.

Newcastle United midfielders Sean Longstaff and Jonjo Shelvey. Newcastle United midfielders Sean Longstaff and Jonjo Shelvey.
Newcastle United midfielders Sean Longstaff and Jonjo Shelvey. | Getty Images

At the end of that campaign, the Magpies retained their top-flight with ease and that momentum carried into last season when Howe’s squad did the unthinkable and qualified for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years.

It seems fitting that 24 months on, Newcastle head to West Ham United on Sunday having enjoyed their greatest night for two decades - a 4-1 victory over French champions Paris Saint-Germain.

Howe hopes United continue to go “upwards and in the right direction”.

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“In the two years the owners have been here it has been incredible for the football club,” said Howe. “They have had a path, a plan and they have tried to implement that plan. They’ve tried to give stability to the football club.

“They’ve just been very consistent and very level. That helps enormously internally when you are trying to work at the football club to try and make good decisions. So, full credit to everyone involved.

Newcastle United chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan and co-owner Amanda Staveley.Newcastle United chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan and co-owner Amanda Staveley.
Newcastle United chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan and co-owner Amanda Staveley.

“The future looks bright but that depends on so many things to work and go well. There are no guarantees in football, you have to work every day to progress things forward. That’s the wish, but money doesn’t guarantee it. Good decisions are the key.”

Howe, by his own admission, says landing the Newcastle gig was a “life-changing moment” for him. Months earlier, He could have joined Celtic. Unai Emery could have got the job instead. But what is certain is United landed on their feet when they appointed Edward John Frank Howe.

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“I knew when I took the job.. the moment came when I was offered the job and I was going to say yes that it was a life-changing moment for me,” he said. “Thankfully it has been a great journey so far. I have loved every second of it.

“ I said when I arrived I was very proud to be Newcastle manager and I’ve never woken up without that feeling. The feeling that I am doing something very special in my life is always there and it’s never something I take for granted.”

Much has been made of PIF’s billions of wealth, at least from outsiders - but Newcastle’s extraordinary success is more than that.

Yes, around £400m has been spent to bring in the likes of Bruno Guimaraes, Kieran Trippier, Alexander Isak and Sven Botman but you only have to look back as far as Wednesday to realise that isn’t the full story.

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Newcastle United beat Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 in the Champions League.  (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)Newcastle United beat Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 in the Champions League.  (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United beat Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 in the Champions League. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Miguel Almiron, Sean Longstaff and Fabian Schar, three players who were on Tyneside pre-takeover, scored against PSG.

Howe said: "I’ve always said money is part of our success. I don’t think it’s the whole story. We very quickly formed a strong bond with the players we inherited. Everybody, including the players who have subsequently gone, played a huge part in us staying in the league and those guys that have stayed on have done really well and gone from strength to strength.

“Whether you recruit a player or inherit a player, we try and treat them all the same and develop their careers and coach them to try and be the best players that they can possibly be."

Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan was at St James’ Park in midweek and chatted to Howe after the game. His ambition, as publicly stated during the Amazon documentary ‘We are Newcastle United’ is to be the world’s No.1.

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“I would urge caution and calmness because we have not proven anything,” Howe added. “The season is so early and a couple of weeks ago the feeling was very different, and the questions coming to me were very different (on the back of three defeats). We’ve got a lot to prove before we can say anything about what we’ve done.

“We’ve got to try and work towards that and these things take time - there is no magic wand. Being smart, making good decisions and working hard every day…if that is the ultimate aim then we will try our best to try and get that.”

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