There’s a report in the Star today that former Middlesbrough star Stewart Downing was made aware that Newcastle were interested in him only a day before he signed again for his home town club – presumably to finish his career where he started it under now Newcastle manager Steve McClaren.
A young Stewart Downing at Middlesbrough
Stewart came through their impressive Youth Academy and was given his first team debut when Steve McClaren was there back on 24th April 2002, in an FA Premier League game away at Ipswich Town.
Stewart has talked about Newcastle’s potential move today:
“The only thing I heard about Newcastle was from Slaven. I didn’t get any contact and I didn’t know anything about it until he told me – and that was the day before I came here to Middlesbrough.¨
“It was news to me, but I was too far down the line with Middlesbrough.¨ “Once they came in, I spoke to the Chairman, Steve Gibson, and he said he could do the deal, so I wasn’t going to say ‘no’.¨
“I think it will be tough for him. They’re a very demanding club and crowd.¨ “He’s spent big on a couple of players and the pressure will be on him to do well.¨
“If he does not get a good start, the pressure could be on him, but I hope he does well because he’s a decent man” “I had a really good time with Steve. He’s a very good manager and a good coach.¨
“He will make Newcastle hard to beat and do the best he can.¨ “But the Premier League is a very tough league.¨
Steve McClaren had a poor start to his management career at Middlesbrough back in 2001, when they lost their first four games, the fourth one being a 4-1 home defeat to Bobby Robson’s Newcastle – and that was the first goal they had scored that season.
They then had two wins against Leicester and West Ham to relieve the pressure.
Stewart would have added some experience to Newcastle, but we thought it was a good move for him back to Middlesbrough.
Hopefully they can get promoted this season back to the Premier League, after getting so close last season when they lost the play-off final to Norwich 2-0 at Wembley.