How Long Before Newcastle United Win A Trophy Under Eddie Howe?

In some ways, it is difficult to work out whether Newcastle United’s recent, swift progress is a surprise, or whether it is something to have been expected following the club’s takeover by new owners, the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF), in October 2021.

Newcastle is already troubling the top four places in the PremierPINC
League, and progress to the EFL Cup semi-final sees them participate in their first semi-final match since they played Manchester United in the FA Cup in April 2005. It is the first time since 1976 they have reached this stage in the league cup.

That impressive league form didn’t begin this season, though. Since the end of December 2021, roughly a couple of months after the club appointed Eddie Howe as manager, Newcastle have been a top-four Premier League side on form.

This wasn’t apparent in the league table at the end of the 2021/22 season due to the poor start to that campaign. They were second from bottom eight games into that season without a win to their name and only three points on the board.

This led to the departure of Steve Bruce at the end of October 2021, shortly after the PIF takeover, and the appointment of Howe a week or so later.

Newcastle has merely continued that form into the new season, so perhaps in this sense, their progress is not a surprise.

They have been aided by investment from the new owners to the tune of $256 million worth of incoming transfers.

These include a club-record fee of over $70 million for striker Alexander Isak and a further $50 million for star midfielder Bruno GuimarĂŁes from Lyon. Eight first-team players costing more than $10 million have come in during the previous two transfer windows, revamping the team and helping Howe implement his game plan.

Such a squad overhaul and such transfer spending is one of the reasons for Newcastle’s progress, but spending alone does not guarantee success.

According to Transfermarkt data, eight teams have a higher total spend than Newcastle across the previous three seasons—a time period that could be considered ample to build a competitive squad—including the likes of Aston Villa, West Ham, Chelsea, and Manchester United. Leeds United have spent similarly during that time.

Even in the last two seasons, which will show the biggest impact of the PIF takeover on total spending, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Manchester City have all spent more in total than Newcastle.

Of course, Newcastle has been able to do all of this without having to recoup money from sales as might be the case at other clubs, but if the league table reflected transfer spend, Chelsea would be top, and Manchester United should be playing in the Champions League rather than the Europa League having finished sixth last season.

Everton and Aston Villa are examples of clubs that have spent freely in recent times, but currently sit 18th and 11th respectively. No club has spent more than Chelsea in recent seasons, and this spending looks set to continue under owner Todd Boehly in the January 2023 transfer window, but they are 10th in the table.

Newcastle themselves perhaps wouldn’t have minded being mid-table at this stage of their rebuild, but rather than taking a couple of seasons for them to challenge for the top four under Howe, it only took them a couple of months.

The Englishman has had funds some managers don’t have access to, and even if others do have funds they often have to sell to buy, but at the same time he has done a far better job than others spending similarly, and also better then some who have spent much more.

Players such as Miguel AlmirĂłn, Joelinton, and Joe Willock who arrived prior to the takeover have all looked good and improved under Howe alongside the new arrivals.

The speed of Newcastle’s progress to becoming top four challengers and reaching the latter stages of cup competition raises the question of how long it will be before they win a trophy, something they haven’t done since an FA Cup win in 1955.

Given their backing, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect Newcastle to become the team that regularly challenges Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, along with whichever of the other teams manages to sort themselves out enough for a title challenge, as Liverpool has done previously, and Arsenal has this season.

if Newcastle’s trajectory continues at its current speed, they could win that EFL Cup trophy this season. Top four itself would feel like a trophy in itself, bringing with it Champions League football.

It is still midway through a season, though, and none of this relative success has happened yet, but the signs so far under Howe are all good, and they have been for over a year now.