Chris Hughton has again talked about the miracle of last season, and points to the last day of the transfer market as a pivotal day for the Newcastle club.
Chris Hughton – working on next phase of Newcastle rebuilding
That’s when Chris was sure, for the first time, what his squad would be, and he brought in Peter Lovenkrands, but even more importantly – didn’t lose anybody leaving the club.
Chris said today:
“For me the pivotal moment was the last day of August, when we were able to sit down, look around the changing room and say ‘right, this is what we’ve got’.”
“It was not so much the fact that nobody else was coming in, but the knowledge that nobody was going out.”“We said to ourselves: ‘this is our group, the group that’s hopefully going to get us promotion back into the Premier League’ and I think it was important that everybody was able to do that.”
“It was a big moment for us because the players were able to look around and have confidence that all of that group in there were going to do their best to get us up.”
The fans at the PSV game yesterday celebrated Bobby Robson, and that will certainly not be the last time – for a man who epitomizes the courage of passion of the Newcastle United club.
Maybe it’s because I’m getting a little old these days that emotion always comes up when I even think about Bobby Robson, such was the love we had of this man – both on and off the field.
And once Bobby was sacked – essentially for only finishing 5th in the league in September of 2004 – the club went from bad to worse under its subsequent managers of Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder, Sam Allardyce, Kevin Keegan, Joe Kinnear and for a short while – Alan Shearer.
Of that list Sam, Kevin, Joe and Alan were hardly given the time to be successful of course.
The club ended up relegated and in the second division of English football for the first time in 16 years, and the only turnaround we have seen is last season, when Chris came in and turned the club around – both on and off the field.
And one of Chris’ successes was to keep the club off the sports pages for all the wrong reasons, and he’s achieved that, and achieved it quickly.
“We needed a season where Newcastle were on the back pages for the right reasons. So it was good to have a season where most of the talk was about our football. It helped us settle down.”
“We had to have players pulling in the same direction and showing a real desire to come straight back up again. Once we knew we had that, the obvious thing was to give them responsibility and allow them to play a part in what was for the benefit for all.”
“With what this club has, the fan base, the stadium, the top five has to be the aim, but it’s not going to happen overnight. Tactically we will have to be different to last season, and our home form will be vital for us.”
Chris will have some money to spend before the end of August, although not too much, and he has already landed three good signings in James Perch, Dan Gosling and Sol Campbell, and we expect more to be on the way.
Chris continued and talked about 35 year-old new arrival Sol Campbell:
“I worked with Sol as a teenager at Tottenham, and although he is at the tail end of his career, he will give us experience and leadership.”
The players that come into the squad before the end of the month will be vital to the success or otherwise of the club next season, and this is the next big step in the jigsaw puzzle for Hughton.
We have to hope it includes one or two players with flair, because in the first half at least yesterday, Newcastle looked a yard off the pace against PSV, and ordinary to say the least.
We came back well in the second half, but in the PL we could have been dead and buried with a performance like that in the first 45 minutes of a game.
We of course have our doubts like anybody else, but we are hoping that stage 2 in Chris’ rehabilitation of Newcastle will be a success next season.