Matt Ritchie was delighted to become a Newcastle United player yesterday and it seems that once Rafa Benitez knew there was a decent chance that Andros Townsend would be leaving the club, he quickened up the move for Matt so that he was signed before Andros left for Crystal Palace.
Both deals were announced yesterday in a very busy day for the Magpies being also the first day of pre-season training.
Palace still seems a strange choice for the former Tottenham winger, although it is a return for him back to London.
Matt Ritchie yesterday with Rafa Benitez
The signing of Ritchie and also that of Palace striker Dwight Gayle were major coups for Rafa Benitez, with both players more than willing to step down a division to play for Rafa and join a massive club that is now starting to wake up from its slumbers of too many years.
Newcastle United is a sleeping giant alright, but the momentum is growing on Tyneside that under Rafa Benitez we can become a great side again – and soon too.
Matt has played in the Championship for both Bournemouth and his previous club Portsmouth (but just 5 games) and he was a star for the Cherries last season in the Premier League.
This is some of what he had to say on nufcTV yesterday:
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to come to a football club like this. It’s what you work hard for as a kid. You watch teams like Newcastle on the TV growing up, and it’s fantastic to be here and I’m really looking forward to the challenge,”
“The potential of this football club with the manager, the dressing room, the squad that we have, I’m sure it’s going to be an exciting time and a really positive future for the football club.”
“I like to think that I score goals and can create goals, and hopefully I can do that this season.”
“I’m sure that’s what I’ve been brought here and hopefully we can achieve the aim of getting promoted back to the Premier League, where this club belongs.”
“I think you can have a lot of quality in the group, but without the right mentality, the right work ethic, you can get cut adrift. We need to know that it’s going to be tough,”
“We’ll have to put the miles in the legs and the quality – there’s a lot of quality in the Championship.
“It’s not going to be easy to get out of this league, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”
“He’s a manager that has managed at the very top level. I’m excited to work with him and his coaches. I’m sure I can become a better player, improve, and learn new ideas, so I’m really looking forward to it,”
“I’m sure he’s got many tricks up his sleeve to make players better and I’m sure he’s got his own ideas how he wants to improve me. I’m excited.”
“The main aim for this football club is to be in the Premier League, and I want to be a part of it. If I can be a big part of it, then that would be an absolute pleasure.”
Good words from Matt there.
Matt seems to be down to earth and he’s right to say we have to have the right mentality and work ethic to be successful.
You could see that last night with Wales in the Euro 2016 quarter finals in their unbelievable 3-1 win over Belgium – a fantastic achievement if ever there was one.
The team spirit, organization, drive and commitment is so important and can beat out a team of top individual players like Belgium have.
Rafa had Newcastle playing so well and as a team for those last six games of last season, that we are hopeful of having a real team that can do battle this season.
That’s something we didn’t have last season when we looked more like the England team – unwilling to battle when the going gets tough.
We want a team like Wales for next season with the lads working for the cause 100% in every game.
Matt can help us in doing that and he looks a great signing by Benitez.