Now it is important to preface this piece with the following. I am a fan of Eddie Howe and I believe he is the right manager to lead us forwards. His work ethic and communication since taking over at St James’ Park has been excellent. There is a good reason why supporters are fully behind him.
However, there is now great pressure on him to deliver Premier League survival. The pressure won’t be coming from the owners or supporters, who are behind the manager. It will be coming from the media and opposition supporters.
Eddie Howe ended his time in charge of Bournemouth with a relegation. He is remembered more for this than his incredible work to get them from the brink of extinction to the Premier League. It is worth saying that the Cherries’ top flight status always had an expiry date, but the relegation is a stain on Howe’s CV.
It was always important that he bounced back from that disappointment and he has the opportunity to get his career back on the right track by keeping us in the Premier League. The first eleven matches have shown promise, without results improving too much.
There were caveats for Howe up until this point. The squad wasn’t fit enough and the talent level wasn’t high enough. The squad was allowed to stagnate under Mike Ashley and they weren’t coached like a Premier League team under Steve Bruce. The job for Howe until now has been more difficult than he would have thought before taking the job.
After a January transfer spend of around £90 million, the squad is now much better. The club have managed to improve four of the eleven starting eleven, while Chris Wood is an excellent deputy for Callum Wilson. The transfer business wasn’t incredible, but the squad should now be strong enough to stay up from our current position.
Relegation would be a disaster for Howe. To begin with, it would be his second successive relegation. Considering he was once tipped to manage in the Champions League, it would be extremely damaging for Howe. It would be unlikely that he would be considered for Premier League jobs moving forwards. He almost certainly wouldn’t be retained by Newcastle.
His reputation among neutrals would change from being a good club builder who eventually took Bournemouth down, to the manager that spent close to £100 million with Newcastle and got relegated.
Howe will understand the importance of keeping Newcastle in the Premier League, both for the club and his own career. He has the most to lose this summer if we go down.
The club will bounce back. The supporters would still be excited for the future and the owners would know it was just a bump in the road.
For Howe, it would be hugely damaging.
Let’s hope that scenario can be avoided and he can keep us up. If he does, Howe could develop with the club and rebuild his once excellent reputation.