It is official! Despite rumors that he might be revealed either at halftime or post-match at Gateshead's International Stadium last night (which frankly didn't make to much sense), Georginio Wijnaldum was introduced and photographed with the shirt and everything and now no one can take him from us. At least not during this transfer window. In the process of being introduced, the Dutchman gave plenty for Newcastle fans to like, thanks in large part to a refreshed attitude from the club regarding communications.
Wijnaldum's signing is big and is an important story, but of equal note is how the club handled the announcement of his signing. There are still the old "standard" moments, the holding of the shirt and the like, but it was what the club did with the other coverage that further suggests that the club has turned an actual corner with regards to several long-held attitudes. You know, on top of the club's reported third-highest ever £14.5m price tag that Gini comes along with. In fact, the club have done such a nice job with this that they're going to tell you a bit about Wijnaldum.
It's always hard to tell things about a player when they're still getting their feet on the ground in a new situation. In this and other "intro" videos, he comes of as a humble, soft-spoken guy. It is fun that he was so impressed with St. James' Park, calling it "bigger than Feyenoord" which is indeed accurate (by some 1500 seats give or take). We as fans of this club have trained ourselves to temper expectations and any excitement engendered by a signing or a new club attitude (possibly), but it does give the heart a little excitement to imagine the stadium filled and raucous as Gini and the rest of the lads executing Steve McClaren's new ideas and... well, you can take those ideas as far as you would like on your own.
It is notable that the club have tried to use Periscope, the live-broadcast app du jour to help cover this signing. They have put forward several broadcasts from the app through the process of Wijnaldum's signing and while they're not always brilliant viewing due to some rough audio, the effort in the face of years of adversarial relations with the fans should be noted. I'll drop the two big Periscopes here below, but there are a couple of things to pick out if you don't want to watch through the videos completely:
- About halfway through the first video, they begin to take the obligatory "holding the shirt images". Steve suggests the number that Wijnaldum may eventually wear as he asks "we don't have the number 5 on it?"
- In the second video, Gini states that he has been told about the Tyne-Wear derby. Newcastle players have told him that "it's different" than a standard derby. I don't think he believes that... yet.
- The club is new at this and hopefully the audio gets better or the positioning gets better. Overall, the effort is as encouraging as the signing of Wijnaldum.
This one is of his interviews with the video media outlets who came to St. James' Park. Again, somewhat hard to hear, but not impossible.
Welcome to the Toon, Gini (honestly, how awesome is it he goes by Gini – pronounced like Genie – the plaudits practicaly write themselves!)! May you be an integral part of taking this club back where it should be.