Chris Hughton has said the main reason that Sol Campbell has come to Newcastle is for the great challenge it presents to the former Arsenal and Tottenham defender.
Sol Campbell – number 5 is the old center-half number
Chris knows Sol well because while Sol was a youngster at Tottenham, Chris was the assistant manager, and Colin Calderwood actually played with Sol in the Tottenham defense in the 1990s during that time.
So our two coaches know this former world-class player very well – and seem to have a very high regard for Campbell, who is a model professional from all accounts.
Chris talked this morning about why Sol had arrived at Newcastle:
“The challenges are all there,” “I know the type of individual Sol is and I think he will be looking at it and if it is a good year for him, anything can happen.”
“The reason he has come is the type of challenge it presents and the stature of the club. Knowing Sol he will want those challenges to continue for as long as possible.”
“Whenever you sign a player I think it is all about timing,” “Around the targets we’ve looked at, you are going to get younger players with a better opportunity for sell-on value, but they are the balances you make.”
“Do you bring in a 24-year-old with great potential to sell on for double what you paid for him?” “Sol is a ready-made player that can walk into your first team. You know it’s shorter term but it fits your need at this particular time.”
“Sol has always been on the agenda in the past but trying to sit him down and put pen to paper is another matter. The circumstances at this particular moment were right for him.”
Job one for Chris is to get Sol as fit as quickly and as safely as possible, and the Plaistow-born player is fit already, but not at all match fit – although he has continued to work out during the summer – and even on his recent honeymoon.
“He has worked through the summer but there is a big difference between doing your work away from the training ground and the intensity here,”
“He has told me he was working during his honeymoon, so we’re grateful for that.” “Probably the most important thing is we can’t take a risk.”
“We have to make sure when we put someone out there it’s the right thing to do otherwise you are leaving yourself vulnerable to a player picking up an injury.”
Campbell had just 14 starts last season – mainly due to the mistake he made when he signed on at Notts County for massive wages – but it just didn’t work out for either Sol or former England and Manchester City manager Sven Eriksson.
However Notts County still managed to get promotion last season – so that was a goal they had last year at this time – and they achieved it.
One question that Chris does not know the answer to is whether Sol can withstand a full season in the Premier League – but of course the first thing is to get Sol super fit – and then try to keep him fit for the season.
“That is something we will very quickly find out,” “It’s not so long since he was playing very regularly three seasons at Portsmouth.”
“Last season was different but he was available for a lot of games.”“They are the things we need to find out but he is a fit lad.” “The Premier League is very different from what we experienced last season with the amount of midweek games.”
“There are more weekend-to-weekend games.”
We have to hope that Sol turns out to be an enormous success at Newcastle next season, and if that is true – we must have a great chance of not only surviving, but maybe even doing quite well in the process – maybe.