Bournemouth’s impressive young manager Eddie Howe has opened up about how the Cherries lost one of their best players to Newcastle last week.
It looks as though Matt Ritchie went to see the manager and said he wanted to leave the club and then Newcastle came in with that massive bid – thought to be £10M upfront with £2M more based on incentives.
Before that Bournemouth had offered Matt a new deal to try to keep him at the club.
But it was Matt’s desire to join Newcastle United in the second division that was the driving force behind his move.
Matt Ritchie talking to Rafa Benitez last Friday
Matt was a star player in what was a terrific performance by newly promoted Bournemouth last season, which culminated in them taking us apart 3-1 at St. Jame’s Park in early March.
Thankfully that made Lee Charnley see the extreme error of his ways and it was Steve McClaren’s last game in charge of Newcastle.
But by then it was all too late, even though we brought Rafa Benitez in as the manager – our players had got too used to losing.
Rafa did end up getting three wins and three draws in those last six games and we took Tottenham apart 5-1 in our last game with the last three goals being scored when we were done to 10 men.
So that gives Newcastle fans tremendous hope for the future, even though we took the drop and deserved to be relegated.
This is what Eddie Howe said today in the Bournemouth Echo about what happened with Ritchie:
“We were very sad to see Matty go. He has been an integral part of our success over a long time and has been an incredible servant to this football club.”
“We leave on very good terms but the sequence of events this summer was that we offered Matty a new contract, he turned that down and expressed a desire to leave. We then got a bid from Newcastle.”
“It’s always sad when a player who has done so well for the club leaves. Matty wanted to pursue his career elsewhere and he leaves with our best wishes.”
“I had a great relationship with him and enjoyed working with him greatly. He has an incredible appetite and desire towards football.”
“He wants to progress and epitomised the improvement in the group.”
“When you compare his overall game from when he arrived to when he left I think he leaves a much-improved player, and I think that is largely down to his mentality for self-improvement.”
“He scored a number of crucial goals for us and epitomized our play off the ball a lot of the time, because of his work rate and his appetite to press and close down.”
Ritchie has turned out to be a replacement for the departed Andros Townsend.
But it seems that even if Andros had not let his ego take charge and he had stayed on Tyneside in England;s second divsision, Rafa would still have wanted to bring in Matt Ritchie.
He looks like a tremendous signing for Newcastle and he seems just a smashing lad,
He’s not a bad footballer either.