A club transformed: 1 year on from Newcastle United's takeover

Reviewing the first year of Newcastle United's famous takeover

Arthur Ferridge
12th October 2022
Image: Wikimedia Commons
October 7, 2021. A day many consider to be one of the greatest in Newcastle United’s 130 year history. We are now one year on from Mike Ashley’s sale of Newcastle United to PIF, and what an incredible year it has been.

The Magpie team we know today is unrecognisable from that of last season. After finding themselves winless in the league after eight matches in 2021, the club has transcended its relegation fodder status to become a serious midfield contender and European hopeful ready to take on giants.

Newcastle United are back where they belong

The club’s transformation is owed largely to its new owners’ heavy investment in the squad which has seen £239 million worth of new talent arrive on Tyneside, including fan favorites Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak, as well as England internationals Kieran Trippier and Nick Pope. The board have also looked to the future, recently securing the arrival of 18-year-old Australian hotshot Garang Kuol.

New talent was a rare treat under Mike Ashley’s regime, a theme which Amanda Stavely surely picked up on as she has quickly bought her way into the hearts of the Geordie faithful.

Image Credit: Twitter @BirdsallAlex

These new signings would of course mean little without the addition of new head coach Eddie Howe. There’s no nice way to say it, Bruce-ball rarely made for pretty viewing, but Howe’s quick build-up and flowing attacking play is enough to make any football fan drool.

As well as making the most of his new signings, Howe has also breathed new life into Newcastle’s struggling stars of Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton. Largely wasted under Bruce, whose defensive emphasis rarely allowed these attacking gems to shine, they have come into their own under Eddie Howe. Saint-Maximin had fully reestablished himself as one of the most feared dribblers in the and is back to his awe-inspiring best.

The proof is in the pudding with these changes, as Newcastle presently sit 6th in the Premier League table, a world away from their position pre-takeover.

Away from the pitch, Newcastle’s new board have made countless changes to St. James' Park and club infrastructure to improve fan relations. The return of Alan Shearer’s statue and the renaming of Shearer’s Bar have both gone down well, as have announced plans to introduce safe standing and renovate the club’s training ground. The Sports Direct logos which marred the East Stand for so long have also finally been removed, much to the relief of the fans. These gestures, while seemingly small, have had incredible effect, fostering a brilliant relationship between the new board and their adoring supporters.

Howe’s quick build-up and flowing attacking play is enough to make any football fan drool

Animosity between fans and the board was one of the more damning factors in Mike Ashley’s fall from grace. A Newcastle United Supporters Trust poll in October 2021 found that while 95.9% of fans expected the team to be relegated, 94.4% felt that the board would not take the necessary steps to keep the team afloat. Newcastle’s new leadership have made public relations a priority, regularly appearing at matches and working hard to please the fans however they can. The results of this are clear, as 2022 has seen St. James' Park record its highest ever average attendance.

This time last year, few Newcastle fans could have imagined just how quickly the PIF revolution would rock the football world. Newcastle United in 2022 is a club revitalised, once again worthy of its fanbase’s unwavering support. The years of hurt are over. Newcastle United are back where they belong.

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AUTHOR: Arthur Ferridge
Head of Sport, 2023/24. @rthur_ferridge on Twitter/X

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