Newcastle United teased a video interview with long-chased, recently-appointed new Sporting Director Dan Ashworth yesterday and by the time it was released we all Magpie fans were out there sticking our faces to our laptop and smartphone screens. It was well worth it, as Dan the Man is about to change Newcastle for good.
Asked about his first hours and days on Newcastle, Ashworth pointed out how hard it’s not to notice the impressive passion always shown by the supporters of the team, the impressive atmosphere of the stadium, and how welcoming the whole ground is for abroad fans arriving at St James’ Park.
Precisely discussing the Magpies building, Ashworth declared his love for it by making it clear how astonishing the intensity and sound were, and how raucous the fans’ cheering was every time he visited the ground with another club employing him in the past.
“Every time you come here you can’t help but notice the passion and enthusiasm of the supporters, the atmosphere within the ground.”
Speaking about the club as a whole and after it’s added him to the group of staffers already in place, in such a massive role as the one he’s taking, Ashworth shared some encouraging words.
“It’s just an absolute monster of a football club.”
“A fantastic place to come and work. It was the atmosphere and the passion, from the away supporters too when they came to West Brom and Brighton. The noise and the enthusiasm for the game is just incredible.”
Throughout the past weeks and months, Newcastle has been linked with 35+ players at the very least and that’s probably leaving some out of the equation. That said, and although a realistic and solid enough transfer plan seemed to be in place—such as the one deployed in January that ultimately saw the team avoiding relegation—there were doubts because of stuff like that surrounding Dean Henderson and Matt Targett.
Henderson was reportedly this close to signing with Newcastle just pending little details to iron out between the Magpies and Manchester United (and the Red Devils landing a backup for the outgoing keeper), although it now looks like all of that is broken even though Newcastle “admires” the goalie.
Something similar happened with Matt Targett, who seemed very well on his way to turning his loan deal from Aston Villa into a permanent move (there was an agreed-upon clause between Villa and Newcastle at a reasonable price) although the last few days and weeks saw that potential operation getting colder and colder by the day. Well, it now seems to be getting warmer and Targett could actually be having a medical with Newcastle as soon as this week to later seal his final and full joining of the club based on St James’ Park.
And you can thank Ashworth for those two developments. By the looks of it, it was Dan Ashworth who stopped Newcastle’s board from signing Henderson and also the man behind activating the pre-agreed £15M deal for Targett, who is about to become a true Magpie as reported by 90min’s Graeme Bailey on Wednesday.
This is what Newcastle lacked, and what the club is getting in Dan Ashworth: an asserting voice with experience in squad building and development and one to change the future of the club without any sort of doubt and hesitation going forward.