Newcastle United’s project under Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has come on leaps and bounds since last season when the club finally broke away from the shackles of former owner Mike Ashley, with PIF championing the notion that they intended to elevate the club into one of the leading sides in the Premier League.
Former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was the man entrusted with that task, but many wondered at the time of his appointment if he was capable of rising to the challenge given his spell on the south coast at Vitality Stadium; a very different prospect than guiding an ambitious club to heights he has yet to taste during his own career on the touchline.
Fast-forward to the current Premier League campaign, and Howe has far eclipsed those expectations at every turn this season, as Newcastle currently sits level on points with Manchester United in third place who are slated to clash with Arsenal tomorrow at the Emirates Stadium.
Currently sitting in a top-four place and on course for their highest finish in the league in over a decade, Howe has done wonders not just for the club but his own image on the managerial landscape after today’s 0-0 draw with Fulham saw him become the first English manager to extend an unbeaten run to fifteen matches since the turn of the century.
The Premier League is certainly unique in the sense that, unlike La Liga, Ligue 1, the Bundesliga, and Serie A, all of the top managers at top clubs have historically not been native to the country for the entirety of the league’s existence, with even Scotland boasting a better managerial pedigree in the PL than its “grander” neighbor to the south.
What Howe is currently achieving on Tyneside this season, which has featured strong results against the likes of Manchester City (D), Manchester United (D), Tottenham (W), Chelsea (W), and Arsenal (D), only a narrow loss to Liverpool back in September stands as the only result against a traditional big six side that did not yield points and remains the only defeat on the club’s league record at the time of writing.
Yes, there is something to be said about the investment that PIF has made in supplying Howe with a cadre of talented players the likes of Bruno Guimarães, Sven Botman, Kieran Trippier, Nick Pope, and Alexander Isak, but the manner in which the Amersham native has defied critics surrounding his former record while making all the pieces fit at St. James’ Park is exactly what the nation, and the league, has needed for quite some time.