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Eddie Howe links Newcastle’s slow progress to FFP limitations

The boss ain’t pleased with the rules and he doesn’t believe this is a “reality check” season.

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Newcastle United Foundation Dinner Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Newcastle United’s manager Eddie Howe talked ahead of Saturday’s matchup at Nottingham Forest and made it very clear how displeased he is with the current Financial Fair Play regulations as they are “going to limit [their] speed” in building a contending team.

While Howe is seemingly happy with the progress of Newcastle since the PIF took over the club, he also stated that it will take “longer than three or four years” for NUFC “to be the team everybody wants us to be.”

Under the guidance of Howe, Newcastle was able to avoid relegation in the 2021-22 season and then the English head coach led the Magpies to an unexpected and extraordinary top-four finish last season, clinching a Champions League berth for the first time in ages.

Now that Newcastle is smacked right in the middle of the Premier League standings and only competing for one trophy (the FA Cup) and looking at a short-term future in which they might not play in European competitions next season, Howe is calling for “patience.”

Howe pointed out the significant improvements being made to the club’s infrastructure and staffing levels, but he also said “Financial fair play is going to limit our speed on the pitch, so I think it’s going to take longer than three or four years. It might take longer than that for us to be the team everybody wants us to be.”

With the Magpies struggling to even beat the likes of Luton Town, Howe still stiff-armed those saying that his team have suffered a “reality check” this year, even though that’s more than obvious and things have been all but good for Newcastle in Howe’s second full season in charge of the squad.

“I don’t see it so much as a reality check as that makes it sound like we were thinking we were something we were not,” Howe said. “We never thought we were anything. We knew we were on a journey.”

As Howe sees it, Newcastle’s getting into the elite group of clubs fighting for titles such as the Premier League is “a longer-term vision,” and for him, folks should look at “where we started in the relegation zone of the PL not so long ago.”

At the end of the day, Howe’s comments aren’t entirely wrong. He added, “You don’t just become a Champions League team from a relegation team in two minutes,” but it’s also worth noting that Newcastle have spent €338 million since the start of the 2022/23 season, per Transfermarkt.

The numbers don’t lie. Since Oct. 2021, the Magpies have gone on to burn €469 million while only getting an income short of €59 million in player sales.

It’s all been reinforcement upon reinforcement for Newcastle, but all they have achieved since then is avoiding relegation, crashing out of the group stage of this season’s UCL (and all other continental competitions after finishing dead last), and trying to finish in the top half of the Premier League table more than halfway through the current season.

FFP or not, things should be going much better for these Magpies, although it’s fair to say that the injuries that have affected the squad throughout the season haven’t made things easy for them.

As players start to get healthier (Harvey Barnes returned last weekend and already scored) as the season progresses and although some others are still falling down injured (Anthony Grodon, Alexander Isak...) there will be no more excuses for Howe and NUFC to start putting up better results and racking up wins on their way to finishing the season in European-football places, whether that’s the Europa League or the lower-level Conference League.

And hey, with more than 10 games yet to be played in the EPL it’s not that Newcastle cannot still win the whole thing! We better dream!