‘Expect fireworks’ - Former Newcastle United manager opens up on ownership controversy and improved form
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Former Newcastle United manager Graeme Souness believes there is ‘justified cristicism’ of the Magpies owners - but believes his old club can ‘expect fireworks’ if and when the PIF-led consortium back Eddie Howe in the transfer market.
Just over a year has passed since a Saudi-backed takeover at St James Park heralded the return of hope and ambition on Tyneside. Howe was backed in the January transfer market as United landed the likes of Bruno Guimaraes, Dan Burn and Kieran Trippier to boost their push away from the Premier League relegation zone and end the season in mid-table.
Further investment was provided during the summer with the Magpies hierarchy spending around over £120m on Nick Pope, Sven Botman, Matt Targett and Alexander Isak. The momentum gained during the second-half of last season has carried into the current campaign and Howe’s side are in the mix for a European place as the Premier League prepares to take a break as attention switches to the World Cup Finals in Qatar.
When asked if United’s run of form was sustainable, the former Magpies boss told Sky Sports: “I’m not so sure, but you never know if injuries are kind to them. The manager is getting a tune out of players that other managers couldn’t and that’s to his credit. I think the players they’ve brought in have certainly helped his squad in terms of quality and they’ve bought into it very quickly. If it’s going up there, it’s a fabulous place to play your football.
“They haven’t won a trophy since 1969, a club of that size, and I was like every manager that took that job. You walk into that stadium, go up the tunnel, you turn around and you see that big stand and you think ‘if I can get this going, if I can get this right’.
“Maybe he’s (Howe) the man to achieve this. I think with the owners they have, although there has to be criticisms, you have to accept it’s here to stay, there are criticisms of the owners, justified ones in my opinion. But they aren’t used to playing second fiddle to anyone in anything they do, the Saudis. If they show they are on the right track, expect fireworks up there because they will back the manager.”