Eddie Howe’s off-camera message to reporters after Newcastle United Media Day
Eddie Howe issued something of a group talk to assembled journalists after his first press conference as chairman of Newcastle United.
In a press room that has seen some tumultuous moments over the years as coaches feel the heat at St James’s Park, Howe said he wanted everyone, including the media, to be “together” and suggested the multiplicity of bonds with players around the world was as much as it was. Regarding transfers in January is not helpful.
At this point, the cameras stopped rolling because it was the written section of the press conference, but Howe had done his part about how things were going for Steve Bruce as his relationship with reporters had deteriorated towards the end of his tenure.
His attempt to protect players from seeing daily stories about new signings was interesting but the truth is that most of these links are agent-driven.
As he left the room, he politely told reporters he was looking forward to “working with you,” before standing up in a Toon jersey on the field.
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Even as Howe took his seat 40 minutes ago on his first big test as manager, Newcastle were linked with half a dozen players in the morning papers.
But his intentions were good.
While Howe was revealed on the pitch with Amanda Staveley and her husband Mehrdad Koudsi, the Ripon financier simply told the former Bournemouth chief: “We are very proud.”
Howe isn’t the first Tyneside director to create a collaboration around the venue.
Others tried and failed, but that was led by Mike Ashley.
Howe isn’t seen as any kind of puppet manager for an owner unwilling to spend, or at least that’s the early narrative so far since the club was bought out by wealthy backers from the Middle East.
One thing is clear, the mission is simply to stay awake this season – something Howe said he couldn’t guarantee. However, there was positive reaction to his arrival as he took on his first job since leaving Bournemouth.
Howe said: “The reaction from the first two days has been really positive, and I want to thank everyone who has supported me and everyone who trusted me from the board of directors to do this important work.
“The club’s history and new ambitious plans made it a perfect fit for me. I had other options but I wanted to take my time and make the right decision.”
One of the topics in the press conference focused on the difference in the standing of Bournemouth and Newcastle.
No doubt losing a game in Dorset can be forgotten by Sunday morning, but Saturday afternoon’s defeat on Tyneside can sometimes last into Thursday!
And then there’s categorical investigations on social media leading to a slight difference of opinion about players’ ratings leading to brutal online exchanges.
But Howe suggested he aims to use the massive energy around the city and channel it in a positive way.
Howe said, “It was absolutely incredible. I’m not on social media, so I haven’t fully sampled everything people have said which is probably a good thing!”
“But the level of excitement and respect you have shown towards me, and the level of interest in the players who are already at the club is something I will enjoy and will cheer me on.
“I will participate in this culture. I will treat the club as if everyone is my family.”
Howe looked refreshed during his 40-minute meeting with the media once again on the big stage in the club’s press room.
James’ last public press conference was held 642 days ago when Bruce appeared under fire to speak to reporters after a monotonous 0-0 draw against Burnley.
That day, Bruce said of the relegation battle: “There are still eight or ten teams out there. When you’re in the bottom half of the division, you know how hard it is to win the match.”
Newcastle were actually five points from the relegation zone, ahead of Bournemouth Howe.
However, Howe was not shy about the fact that Newcastle were in danger.
He said, “I’m pretty confident we can (survive), but I haven’t made any promises about it. There is no magic wand and it’s going to take a lot of hard work, instilling what we want in the players very quickly.”