There’s been a lot said of the common sense remarks Steve Howie, our former center-back, has been making as a pundit.
The difference between Steve and other pundits is he knows all about Newcastle and what’s going on with the fans.
Most of the other pundits – especially the national ones – don’t know what’s going on and a lot of them don’t have a clue – if truth be told.
Steve made these comments in a roundtable with Geoff Shreeves, Mark Warburton and former Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy on Sky Sports’ The Debate.
We aren’t much interested in what the others said but here’s some common sense from Steve Howey about what’s going on at Newcastle.
Sensible comments from former Newcastle star Steve Howey
It’s a long piece, reported in ChronicleLive today so you may want to make some sandwiches first.
“It’s going to be very difficult for it to get better. If you look at the teams who Newcastle have got coming up in the league; fans are very very frustrated with the fact of what happened in the transfer market or lack of – shall we say?”
“There’s a lot criticism that has been coming out about Newcastle fans, people saying ‘they think they’ve got a God-given right’ – that is absolute nonsense.”
“It’s not the case. You get people coming on saying this and that about the club and they haven’t got a clue what is going on.”
“The fact is, Newcastle fans are disappointed because they can’t see the club moving forward, they can’t see the club progressing in anyway.”
“They had a perfect opportunity at the end of last season they finished 10th, now there’s an opportunity to progress.”
“Newcastle made £123M from the Premier League and TV last year plus £43.5M in player sales, now Mr Ashley was on Sky and actually used this as a platform to say ‘Rafa Benitez will get every penny the club generates’ – hat hasn’t been the case.”
“He said he wants to sell the club – that hasn’t been the case. Or he’s put it up and he’s got it up for too much money.”
“Now Rafa Benitez for me should have been at least given the money he got for selling the players – he didn’t.”
“This is what narks the fans – Rafa Benitez has spent £13M on three players which doesn’t get you anywhere in this day and age.”
“Newcastle fans are not asking, like Mike Ashley said, a budget where he can’t compete with the likes of Manchester City.”
“Of course, we’re not expecting to compete with Manchester City or Liverpool or Chelsea – we’re not.”
“We’d just like to compete with the rest of the teams.”
“Now spending £13M on three players, isn’t going to get you a great deal but when you look at teams like Huddersfield, fair play to them, they’ve gone out and spent £17,5M on one player.”
“Bournemouth broke their record and paid £15M for Jordan Ibe and they’ve only just paid £25M for another player this summer.”
“If you look at Newcastle, Rafa has not been given the opportunity to bring players in. You’ve got a world-class manager there and he’s not been given the tools to work with.”
“If he’s not been given finance and he’s finished 10th, how good can he be if he’s given a little bit of money behind him because at the moment he’s working with hands behind his back.”
“The teams that I’ve mentioned – before Ashley came – we were playing in the Champions League.”
“In 10 years I think we finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th, two FA Cup finals, two semi finals, Champions League, UEFA Cup.”
“We had the most expensive striker in the world which was Alan Shearer in 1996.”
“Now they break their record again in 2005 for Michael Owen and that’s it – it’s stopped.”
“It’s galling for the fans when they can see all these other teams breaking records, when Newcastle’s record is £16M.”
“The fans are getting behind the manager. If he wants an all out mutiny [then yes], which would happen, because Rafa is the one that the fans are pinning their hopes on.”
“He is Newcastle’s biggest asset. Why would you get rid of your best asset? You lose him and you haven’t got the strength and depth of quality which Newcastle haven’t got – they’ve got really good pros who work hard and do to the letter of what Benitez asks.”
“If they lose him they are going to struggle.”
“I’d be surprised if he resigns. I think he’s one of these people – that’s he’s given his word to the owner and said ‘look I’ll sign this contract and I’ll honor this contract’”
“I think he does get the fans and the city, the fans love him for that.”
“When you’ve got the players Newcastle have got, if you go toe-to-toe with the big boys, it’s going to be a bad day for you. Now everyone was criticising Newcastle for the possession and they got beat but they were still in the game.”
“Huddersfield played Manchester City – they had 5% more possession – they got beat 6-1.”
“All very well people saying ‘they should have had a go’ but I bet there’s no one in that Huddersfield dressing room turning around after being thumped 6-1, say ‘well lads we give it a go.’”
Very good points made there by Steve Howey – but expect these national pundits to keep criticising Rafa, Newcastle and the fans in the weeks (maybe months) ahead.
And what does it all mean – absolutely nothing!
Remember that when you read the nonsense that will be coming in the national football press over the next few weeks.