Eddie Howe wakes every morning happy with the “life-changing” decision he took to become Newcastle’s head coach.
The 45-year-old accepted the Magpies’ offer of employment in November 2021, just weeks after Amanda Staveley’s Saudi-backed consortium had completed its takeover.
Staveley and her partners will celebrate two years at the helm on Saturday with the club having been transformed to the extent that they sent shock waves across Europe on Wednesday evening with a 4-1 Champions League rout of Qatari-funded Paris St Germain.
Asked where he would rank his decision to take on the job, Howe said: “I knew when I took the job – the moment came when I was offered the job and I was going to say yes – that it was a life-changing moment for me.
“Thankfully it has been a great journey so far. I have loved every second of it.
“I said when I arrived I was very proud to be Newcastle manager and I’ve never woken up without that feeling. The feeling that I am doing something very special in my life is always there and it’s never something I take for granted.”
Howe’s decision thrust him into the centre of a geopolitical minefield and he has found himself repeatedly facing questions over the Saudi regime and its links to the club through the Gulf state’s Public Investment Fund, which holds an 80 per cent stake, and accusations of ‘sportswashing’.
PIF governor and Magpies chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan has made no secret of his ambition, saying in the Prime Video documentary ‘We Are Newcastle United’ that he ultimately wanted to establish the club as number one in the world.
Howe, who met the chairman briefly after the PSG game, has been consistent in taking a measured approach to development despite hefty, if astute, investment in the squad since the takeover.
But asked if there was any reason why the Magpies could not be the biggest club in the world, he said: “No, but we’re not the world’s number one club at the moment.
“We’ve got to try to work towards that, and these things take time. There is no magic wand. Being smart, making good decisions and working hard every day…
“If that is the ultimate aim, then we will try our best to try and get that.
“We have to be calm and recognise we are in the early stages of the season. We’ve got a lot to prove before we can say anything about what we’ve done. We’ve just put ourselves in a good position in our Champions League group and we are still formulating our Premier League position.”
That process will continue with Sunday’s visit to West Ham, a game for which Anthony Gordon is suspended after reaching five bookings for the campaign, while Callum Wilson and Joelinton remain doubts and Sven Botman is out.