Saudi-owned Newcastle appoint Howe as new manager

Saudi-owned Newcastle appoint Eddie Howe as new manager
3 min read
08 November, 2021
Eddie Howe takes charge of a Newcastle team second from bottom in the Premier League, five points adrift of safety, and without a win all season.
'We have been incredibly impressed by Eddie,' said Newcastle co-owner Amanda Staveley [source: Getty]

Newcastle ended their long wait to hire a new manager on Monday, unveiling former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe as the man to lead the Magpies into a new era under Saudi ownership.

Howe, 43, takes charge of a side languishing second from bottom of the Premier League, five points adrift of safety, and without a win all season.

He replaces Steve Bruce, who left the club by "mutual consent" on October 20, two weeks after the Saudi-led takeover propelled the club into the ranks of the super-rich.

Newcastle said Howe had been appointed as the "new head coach on a contract until summer 2024".

"We have been incredibly impressed by Eddie through what has been a rigorous recruitment process," said Newcastle co-owner Amanda Staveley.

"As well as his obvious achievements with AFC Bournemouth, where he had a transformational impact, he is a passionate and dynamic coach who has clear ideas about taking this team and club forward."

Howe said it was a "great honour" to take the helm at a club with the stature and history of Newcastle, who have not won a major trophy since 1969 despite a huge and passionate fanbase.

"This is a wonderful opportunity, but there is also a lot of work ahead of us and I am eager to get onto the training ground to start working with the players," he said.

 

Newcastle's new owners had to pivot towards Howe after Villarreal boss Unai Emery turned down an approach to be Bruce's successor.

The former Arsenal manager was reportedly wary of joining the project in its infancy without a clear structure of how to make their new wealth pay on the field.

Newcastle - now one of the richest clubs in the world - are expected to invest heavily in the January transfer market.

But they have another nine league games to navigate before then, including daunting clashes with Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United.

Just staying in the lucrative top-flight this season would represent success for Howe after an unsettling month for Newcastle fans since the Saudi sovereign wealth fund bought an 80 percent stake in the club.

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Saudi Arabia has a long-standing history of human rights abuses, including arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings. 

It has been more than three years since Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Istanbul in a brutal assassination the CIA and MI6 have linked to senior Saudi officials. 

The Saudis are heavily involved in the war in Yemen, where war crimes have been committed on all sides and its population are suffering from the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. 

The Gulf country also persecutes members of the LGBT minority and marginalises women in society, and has been accused by rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch of "sportswashing" its human rights records.