I’m just gonna put it out there. I love Graeme Jones.
His handful of media interviews have been a breath of fresh air since he took over the team in a caretaker capacity.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t blown away by last Saturday’s match (although there were positives to take out of it), but I have been by his interviews.
After over two years of hearing the club being talked down, being told we couldn’t compete for the Champions League (we knew), and being told our expectations were too high (they weren’t), it’s refreshing to hear our head coach talk us up instead.
In his first interview, he talked about his connection with the club, something we know the previous manager had. But unlike the previous manager, he doesn’t talk as if managing the club is a birth-right.
“My motivation for Newcastle United is different than it’s been for any of my former employers.
“I’m only interested in trying to get results and having standards that are really, really high. I’ve got a huge emotional and personal involvement.”
Isn’t it nice to hear that our standards are high now?
He also said he wants to leave the club in a better position than it was when he took over. Another refreshing statement.
He talks about positivity and pushing the club forward in a way we haven’t heard since Rafa was manager. For me, one of my favourite things about the way he talks is the constant theme of unity.
“I want [the new manager] to come in to a united football club, and that means supporters, players and staff all pulling in the same direction.”
“We need 52,000 plus 20 players all together. United, Newcastle United. Tomorrow, through difficult moments, and it needs to be permanent, non-negotiable between now and May. Together as a football club.”
He knows how to address supporters. How to speak to us in a way that shows he’s one of us, but also that he’s got our best interests at heart. How to show that he knows how important we are to the club.
When was the last time we heard that from a manager? Again, it was probably Rafa Benitez.
For two years, we’ve had to listen to attacks on supporters, the media, and even the players. We never heard any messages of unity.
His actions are also speaking as loud as his words. We were all gobsmacked at how many days the players got off after losing to Tottenham, but that’s no more. Why?
“The more time on the training ground, it’s simple maths, you have a better chance of performing.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
He even took responsibility for not winning last week. He approached the game positively and had every intention of winning it – after, he said: “I actually said a win would come, so I have let them down.
“We will take the positive point. And we will try to improve next week and move forward.”
Positive. Unity. Everyone pulling in the same direction. New ideas for the next match – “we need to be more sophisticated on the ball.”
I enjoy listening to Jones. I almost cried when he came over to the away end and fist-pumped last week, because it felt so genuine.
Do I think we need a new permanent manager soon? Yes. But I really hope Graeme Jones sticks around as part of his staff.