Well... It wasn’t a classic, was it? But Monday wasn’t about the performance, it was about getting Champions League football confirmed for next season, and that’s exactly what Eddie Howe’s side did.
In truth, a draw suited Newcastle as that is all that was needed. One point, a massive point, and the most important point of the season. It was the one that secured their place in Europe’s top competition for the first time in two decades.
Nobody, not one supporter, imagined that Newcastle would go from second-bottom and winless to the Champions League in a little over 18 months. It is an incredible achievement.
And this isn’t about money—it’s about desire, passion, a team together, and above all, outstanding coaching by Howe and his staff.
The Newcastle manager has strengthened the squad in the transfer windows but he still has over half the roster he inherited. He’s improved every single one of the players he found there, and in doing so he’s made a city and a club believe again in themselves.
Don’t underestimate just how amazing that feeling is—Newcastle fans lost belief and hope for so many years under Mike Ashley and a string of managers who just never got the club, area, and most importantly, the supporters.
Look at how much Chelsea have spent. They’ve thrown obscene money at players and have been nowhere near the race for the top four.
From top to bottom, Newcastle are finally a well-run club, a well-oiled machine with everyone wanting to achieve the same goal. It’s a beautiful thing to see, it’s thoroughly deserved through the hard work everyone at the club has put in since the takeover finally went through. It’s been a fresh start for everyone associated with the club like it has been given a second chance at life and it’s making up for lost time.
For too long the club had been in the wilderness scraping the bottom of the barrel at times, just ticking as long as a former manager would say. Now they’ve exploded into life with an ambition to reach the very top, and with a manager capable of achieving just that.
The club is against the footballing world with everyone having something to say about Newcastle despite the little knowledge they have in their jealous minds. That has produced a fighting spirit and a determination to prove people wrong that trumps overall quality. When you have a set of players like those Newcastle have, with something to prove… That’s a recipe for success.
The emotions of Sean Longstaff, Dan Burn, and Jacob Murphy are what it’s all about. Seeing those players embracing the feeling of reaching the Champions League with the club they love—it’s special. Those three players have been written off time and time again, and now look at where they are.
It’s a fairytale, and those that understand the value of impeccable coaching will know that Ashley could well have had this. It didn’t have to take new owners to do this, there’s not been gargantuan investment. No aimlessly throwing money at the wall like Chelsea.
Strategy and logic are words that would best describe Newcastle’s approach since the takeover.
As Jim Bowen used to say “Now, let’s have a look at what you could’ve won.” Well, Ashley… Let’s do just that.
The jealous and petulant Jürgen Klopp was right about one thing this season: Newcastle haven’t got a ceiling.
The mindset of Howe will not allow there to be a ceiling, he always wants more. He’s hungry for every success he can possibly bring to this great football club and it’s a match made in heaven.
Let the moaners moan and the doubters continue to doubt while Newcastle keep upsetting people along the way. That just means they are being successful.
If qualifying for the Champions League was a huge achievement, wait for the scenes on Tyneside when Howe does deliver that long-awaited trophy.
Enjoy the ride, it’s already been a fun one!