Newcastle aiming to be ‘a Man City or Man Utd’ in next five years

There’s no reason for Newcastle not to become a club like Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool or Chelsea in the next five years, according to Mehrdad Ghodoussi, husband of director Amanda Staveley.

In a wide-ranging first interview since taking control of the Magpies, the duo talked to The Athletic about the pressures of taking over a Premier League club, their ambition and hope that Eddie Howe can become the next Sir Alex Ferguson.

While that may be fanciful to some, there is clearly a lot of faith being placed in Howe following his appointment as head coach in November, and the long-term vision is clear – Newcastle’s owners want to ascend to the very top of the Premier League mountain.

“There is no reason why Newcastle in the next five years should not be a Man City or a Man Utd or a Liverpool or a Chelsea,” Ghodoussi said, off the back of Staveley detailing a recent visit to Manchester City.

“Just to talk to them and see their training facilities, to see what we can do,” she said of the trip. “I was thinking, ‘God, I can’t wait for our guys to get their trophies, I can’t wait to deliver what the fans really deserve’.”

“That’s ultimately what we want,” Ghodoussi added. “We want success.”

Howe’s first job is to ensure Newcastle preserve their Premier League status, with that looking a far more realistic target after a period of good form.

A run of six games without defeat, including three wins, has not only lifted the Magpies out of the relegation zone, it has reinforced Ghodoussi and Staveley’s belief that Howe was the right candidate to appoint after narrowing down a shortlist of 30-40 possible new managers.

“We got down to two people,” Ghodoussi said of the process to replace Steve Bruce. “Eddie was one of them and Unai Emery the other. Unai had a track record of success and maybe that made us move towards him a bit more. I have to say, though, that the chairman [Yasir Al-Rumayyan] wanted Eddie from day one.”

“Eddie was actually ahead of everybody on points,” Staveley added. “When you looked at his data, he was fantastic. You could see what he’d done at Bournemouth was extraordinary, but could he do the same with more resource? Unai had a good name and a reputation, but would he have been able to get up to speed without the infrastructure?”

“I would love Eddie to be the next Alex Ferguson,” Ghodoussi concluded.

On deciding against appointing Emery, Staveley remarked: “It would have been wrong. We made the right decision with Eddie. He’s come in, no airs or graces, no ego, and we’re there to support him. I’ve really grown to care a great deal about him and his coaches.

“We talk to Eddie multiple times a day. I’m fascinated by what he does. He’s so detailed, so hard working. You don’t know when you’re interviewing someone what they’re going to be like but he’s got huge integrity.”

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