‘A season of two halves’ certainly applies to that of Newcastle United. The first being under disgraced owner Mike Ashley and manager Steve Bruce, the second following the takeover by Saudi-led consortium PIF. Upon Bruce’s eventual departure in October, the Magpies found themselves without a win after eight matches propped up only by bottom of the table Norwich City and seemingly on course for another relegation dogfight.
Eddie Howe was appointed as Bruce’s replacement and brought with him a renewed spirit to St. James’ Park. The Toon Army had long been starved of optimism, many undoubtedly losing hope of a resurgence altogether and while Howe was beneath the pedigree some hoped for, the former Bournemouth manager was viewed as a suitable agent in stabilising the club.
Since his introduction, however, Howe has gone some way to prove he is capable of being more than Newcastle’s Mark Hughes and Man City equivalent. The latter was viewed as a stop-gap prior to a well-renowned coach entering, therefore receiving a fraction of the potential investment that the Manchester club’s newfound wealth allowed for.
Such a cash injection can only be likened to Newcastle’s and although the new boss was aided with transfers in the January window, it is in the development of pre-existing players where Howe has impressed most.
Although, it was a far cry from smooth sailing from the outset for the new boss. His new side managing just one win in his first eleven matches including a shock FA Cup exit to third-tier Cambridge United. The turn of the year marked an upturn in their fortunes with Newcastle going above and beyond the original target of avoiding the drop-zone to finish 11th, boasting the joint-fourth most points in 2022.
Newcastle – 19
The halfway mark which signalled the opening of the January transfer window.
Since then, Eddie Howe’s side gained 38 points, while holding a positive actual and expected goal difference, looking a different proposition altogether than under Steve Bruce.#NUFC pic.twitter.com/JV1tf0Zel6
— Sporting Life Football & Infogol (@InfogolApp) May 23, 2022