Sports

Seven things Newcastle’s new Saudi owners need to do after takeover including sacking Bruce and transfer splurge

THE Saudis are coming to Toon and will transform Newcastle from into the richest club in the world in a flash. Simply not being Mike Ashley is enough in itself to get the fans on board. But after 14 years of Ashley there is a ton of work to do to turn around this sinking […] ...

THE Saudis are coming to Toon and will transform Newcastle from into the richest club in the world in a flash.

Simply not being Mike Ashley is enough in itself to get the fans on board.

Rex

Newcastle are finally under new ownership – but there’s still plenty of work to be done at the club[/caption]

PA

Mike Ashley has finally left St James’ Park after 14 years as owner[/caption]

But after 14 years of Ashley there is a ton of work to do to turn around this sinking ship.

The Saudi billions provide unlimited potential, but money won’t change everything.

Here are seven things the new owners need to address immediately to hit the ground running and get the Magpies firing.

FIND A NEW MANAGER

Reuters

Steve Bruce is almost certain to be sacked with the takeover now complete[/caption]

Steve Bruce knows the score – soon after Mike Ashley he’ll be out the St James’ Park door.

The unpopular Geordie knew the writing was on the wall when he said last September that he expected the chop if the Saudis arrived.

Eddie Howe and Chris Wilder have both been fancied to replace Bruce recently, but fans are dreaming bigger now with Antonio Conte and Zinedine Zidance top of the wish lists.

They’ll likely need someone out of work – all four of those are – but most importantly they need someone to make an immediate impact with Newcastle 19th in the league.

If the new man can drag them out of the mess before January then the Saudis can flex their muscles in the transfer window to get the Toon looking up.


FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN NEW CUSTOMER DEALS


START SQUAD OVERHAUL IN JANUARY

Getty

Soon-to-be free agent Kylian Mbappe is a longshot, but Newcastle must invest in a better squad[/caption]

The squad needs a complete overhaul and January is the perfect chance to start.

Indications are it will be a gradual process and that the Saudis are not going to throw a load of cash at it straight away, so fans dreaming of signing Mohamed Salah and Kylian Mbappe may be disappointed.

But a centre-back, central midfielder and a striker are musts and need to be addressed immediately.

Get them in, secure survival, and start to build something meaningful next summer.

SECURE SAINT-MAXIMIN

Reuters

Newcastle simply must convince fan-favourite Allan Saint-Maximin to stay at St James’ Park[/caption]

As much as he loves the fans, it was all pointing to Allan Saint-Maximin leaving next summer – and who could have blamed him?

But everything has changed now, and keeping the French superstar has to be a priority.

While all eyes will be on who will be signed, Saint-Maximin – who is contracted until 2026 – can become a true Toon legend and will only get better as the quality around him improves.

The likes of Martin Dubravka, Joe Willock, Miguel Almiron and Callum Wilson form a half-decent spine, but there is plenty of deadwood – including an ageing defence, which needs upgrading fast.

IMPROVE ACADEMY & TRAINING FACILITIES

Getty

Newcastle must invest in their academy and training facilities as they lag behind even lower-league clubs[/caption]

The region is a hotbed of talent but it’s been completely wasted during Mike Ashley’s reign.

Even before that, Geordies like Alan Shearer and Michael Carrick had to leave in search of opportunity.

Those days need to end and, thankfully, the new owners are on the same wavelength.

The training ground is a shambles and needs to be completely revamped or rebuilt from scratch.

As Magpies legend Malcolm Macdonald told SunSport in August: “Middlesbrough and Sunderland have far better facilities.

“There is a massive problem at the club and they have completely hampered themselves.”

BRING IN LEGENDS LIKE KEEGAN & SHEARER

PA:Press Association

Mike Ashley’s exit opens the door for the likes of Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan to return in some capacity[/caption]

Whereas Mike Ashley froze out legends like Kevin Keegan and Shearer, the new owners must bring them in from the cold.

Keegan resigned as manager in 2008 after being told to sign flop Ignacio Gonzalez from watching YouTube clips.

In his autobiography, the Toon hero wrote: “They have made a toy out of Newcastle.

“As much as it pains me to say it, I have no desire to be associated with the place for as long as that continues. I will gladly return when they have gone.”

Strike while the iron is hot and make Keegan an ambassador straight away.

And while you’re at it, for the easiest PR win, return to Nine bar at St James’ Park to its former glory and rename it Shearer’s Bar.

REMOVE SPORTS DIRECT ADVERTISING

North News and Pictures

The Sports Direct advertising is set to be torn down as Newcastle look forward to a brighter future[/caption]

As grand as St James’ Park is, it’s been unloved for years and has become a tatty ground which resembles little more than a giant advert for Ashley’s Sports Direct.

Those red and blue signs in every corner are despised by fans and need removing as a matter of urgency.

On the first thing the new owners should do, one fan tweeted: “Burn anything with Sports Direct on it.”

Another said: “Get Brucey to take down the Sports Direct signs on the way out.”

FAN ENGAGEMENT

Reuters

Newcastle must work on winning fans back over again after years of anger and hurt[/caption]

After years of refusing to engage with supporters, opening up communication and explaining the vision is key.

What is your ambition? How are you going to achieve it? What are the wider plans for the city and region?

Ashley viewed the Toon Army as customers so saw no reason to explain anything.

Open and honest needs to be the culture, and that applies to the Saudis’ human rights record too.

Questions will rightly be asked about their role in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and burying their head in the sand is not an option.

⚽ Read our Football news live blog for the very latest rumours, gossip and done deals

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: