Eddie Howe admits it may take longer than three or four years for Newcastle United to “be the team everybody wants us to be” due to the limiting effect of financial fair play (FFP) regulations.
Having rescued Newcastle from relegation in 2021-22, during his first full season in charge, Howe delivered a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.
However, he insists that it takes longer than that for a club to be transformed into a regular “Champions League team”.
The infrastructure around the club is being rapidly improved, while staffing levels have also grown significantly, but the Premier League’s profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) mean that Newcastle’s ability to spend on transfer fees and wages will be tempered for years to come. To bypass that, Newcastle must continue to expand their commercial revenues at a significant rate.
“We are on our way, but we are trying to improve everything internally as well,“ said Howe, when asked whether Newcastle were still on the correct trajectory at his pre-Nottingham Forest press conference. “You don’t just get there, you have to build, and that takes time.
“For a start, the infrastructure, the training ground, we are trying to keep up with the speed (of progress) of the team. Financial fair play is going to limit our speed (of progress) 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.”
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Howe refutes the suggestion that his side, who are currently ninth in the Premier League, have had a “reality check” this season.
The head coach’s issue with that phrase is the implication that Newcastle had been transformed into an outfit ready to challenge for Champions League football every season, which he insists those inside the club always knew was not the case.
Yet Howe accepts that Newcastle must improve in every department, even accepting that “mistakes” have been made when it comes to the injury situation at the club.
“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 to becoming a team that can hopefully compete for trophies and sustain an assault on the top areas of the Premier League. But that’s a longer-term vision compared to the reality of where we started in the relegation zone of the PL not so long ago.
“So, we are building the club from the inside as well. You don’t just become a Champions League team from a relegation team in two minutes. So, I disagree with that quote about a ‘reality check’ because it makes it seem like we didn’t know where we were.”
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