Peter Lovenkrands was signed by Newcastle in January of 2009 as a free agent from Schalke 04 and that was the year we were first relegated from the Premier League.
Peter signed a contract in January 2009 until the end of the season and then signed a three year deal in the summer after we had been relegated.
Peter was therefore one of the players who effectively stayed at the club to help us get promoted straight back to the Premier League the next season and in the Mirror today he has talked about the fantastic team spirit in the squad in that promotion season.
Peter Lovenkrands while at Newcastle
The 36 year-old former Rangers striker believes that was the major reason Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood were able to get the club promoted straight back up with a massive 102 points and 30 wins.
But an awful lot of credit also has to go to Chris Hughton who brought the squad together – team spirit emanates from the manager at any football club – it’s not just the players that create it.
Peter scored a goal every two games in the Championship for us – 16 goals in 32 appearances which helped the lads get straight back up.
This is what Peter has said in the Mirror today:
“I hope Rafa gets a good say on who they bring in and who stays.” “I am nervous about what they have at the moment, and how capable they are of bouncing back.”
“A lot of the foreign players won’t have a clue what the Championship is all about, and numerous teams have struggled to get back into the Premier League after they’ve been relegated.”
“If you don’t bounce back right away, it is so difficult to get out, as even the biggest clubs have found.”
“When we went down, a lot of the big names left, such as Michael Owen, Damien Duff and Mark Viduka, but there were still big characters in the dressing room.”
“The team spirit we built was incredible.”
“Chris Hughton was blessed that he was still able to hang on to strong Premier league players, such as Kevin Nolan, Steve Harper, Steven Taylor, Andy Carroll and Joey Barton.”
“They were big players and characters and you need that in the Championship. In all my years of football, I never experienced a dressing room like it.”
“It does not happen in modern football very often.” “I remember instigating cinema nights.” “We had 15-plus lads meeting up at the Metro Center to have a meal and watch the Iron Man movie together.”
“I don’t think people could believe it, but we had a really close bond that made a difference to the way we played.”
“When I joined, it didn’t feel like a club that had been relegated.” “Our attitude was that we did not think we were a Championship team.”
“And the whole team looked upon it as one year in that division and we had to get out of it and back into the Premier League.”
Hopefully we will see the same spirit next season at Newcastle – it’s vital and imperative that we make it straight back up.
Peter is now working on Danish TV as a Premier League pundit, and he played a total of 84 games at Newcastle with 29 goals before he left in the summer of 2012 for Birmingham City – and he was a favorite with Newcastle fans.
It’s simply ridiculous that Newcastle have been relegated, but with Rafa Benitez set to be signed next week on a three year deal this could (will) be the start of a tremendous new era at Newcastle.
And we have no problems with the team spirit at Newcastle – it has to do to a large extent with the manager and whether the players have confidence in the manager.
There was not much wrong with the team spirit in the squad in the last six games of the season and let’s face it, we ran Tottenham off their feet in that last game – even when we had gone down to 10 men.
We have great faith in Rafa Benitez that he can build a very strong side that not only can get us straight back up next season, but the season after that Newcastle t can be challenging immediately for a top six position in the Premier League.
That’s the initial hope – then after that anything is possible.
Howay The Lads!!