There was a surprise spectator at the game at the London Stadium yesterday.
Owner Mike Ashley was there with Lee Charnley, and after the game he clapped the lads off the field, after an impressive performance and 2-0 win from Steve Bruce’s new team.
Ashley will have seen the wisdom of Steve Bruce’s transfer strategy – bring in experienced British players who have played in the Premier League, even if they are not under 26 years old.
Bruce has spent £35M on five senior players this summer.
That’s less than we paid for Joelinton last summer, a transfer that was driven by Ashley and his people, not by then manager Rafa Benitez.
Rafa didn’t think the Brazilian was worth the money, and so much for not listening to the people who know the game inside out.
But Ashley did that this summer, and we looked a strong side yesterday – it was a surprise just how well the lads played.
We’re not sure if it’s good or bad news that Ashley was in attendance, because we want him to sell the club.
It’s expected that either the Amanda Staveley led bid will still to go through (we think there’s still a chance of that), or new buyers will come in, before the end of the year.
That’s our hope, in any case.
This was Ashley’s first appearance at an away Premier League game in over a year and it as the first time we have won out first Premier League game since back in 2012.
That’s when we took Spurs apart 2-1 at St. James’ Park, on 18th August 2012, with second half goals from Demba Ba and Ben Arfa (penalty): the attendance was a sell-out – 52,385 fans.
This is what Steve Bruce said in the Chronicle when told about Ashley’s long at the end of the game last night and a 2-0 win:
“Yeah good. I hope he enjoys it, and he deserves to enjoy it too.”
“He enjoyed watching his team win which is what we are all in it for.”
“It helps that at the right time he flexed his muscles, and we have now seen the benefit of them.”
“Everybody concerned at the club felt that at this particular time, with the big huge loss that every football club has occurred.”
“We need people who are stick ons.”
“People who can play in the Premier League. We all agree that this is the best way forward.”
“It’s always a thing when if they are proven quality in the Premier League then it takes away the risk.”
“How often have we seen a player from ,abroad taking time to adjust, getting used the climate or this or that.”
“We needed who could hit the ground running. On the evidence of West Ham I think we were right.”
Both Wilson and Hendrick scored on their debut and played so well.
Young Jamal Lewis had a quiet first half but came into the game, and this lad has speed, class and can cross a ball.
Yesterday, he looked what he is – a top English prospect.
And when you consider Martin Dubravka, the Longstaff brothers, Miguel Almiron, Fabian Schar, Paul Dummett, Matt Ritchie, Ciaran Clark, Dwight Gayle, and the expensive Joelinton were not in the starting lineup – we seem to have strength in depth and good competition for places.
Things are starting to look up at Newcastle, as Geordie Steve Bruce is doing an awful lot of things right at his hometown club.
Good for him, and good for Newcastle.
We like Steve a lot, and we’ll like him even more with more wins.