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MLS Atlanta president Eales to become Newcastle United CEO

Darren Eales, president of Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United and a former executive director at Tottenham Hotspur, will become the new chief executive officer at Newcastle United, clubs announced Friday.

Eales, a 49-year-old Englishman, was hired by the US side in 2014. He will remain with Atlanta through August 8 and return to the English Premier League on August 22.

Newcastle went 13-15 with 10 drawn last season to finish 11th in the Premier League.

“Newcastle United is both a giant of a club, and the heartbeat of its community,” Eales said in a statement. “Every time I have visited St. James’ Park, I’ve been overwhelmed by the passion of the fans.

“This is a club with an amazingly rich heritage, and I am delighted to be joining for this new chapter in its long history.

“I am grateful for the opportunity, and look forward to working with the rest of the team to help this storied club fulfil its potential.”

Eales, who also worked in the front office for West Bromwich Albion alongside Magpies’ sporting director Dan Ashworth from 2006-2010, oversaw formation of Atlanta since its 2017 debut as an MLS expansion side.

“It has been the adventure and honor of a lifetime to help build Atlanta United,” Eales said in a statement.

“I’ve been privileged to work with an amazing team of people who rolled up their sleeves and made a vision into reality.”

Eales, who also worked in the front office for West Bromwich Albion alongside Magpies’ sporting director Dan Ashworth from 2006-2010, oversaw formation of Atlanta since its 2017 debut as an MLS expansion side.

The club won the 2018 MLS Cup and the 2019 US Open Cup and ranks among the attendance leaders in the North American league.

“Darren Eales is one of the best hires I’ve made in my career and the strength and success of Atlanta United to date is a credit to him not only as a leader, but as a passionate footballer,” Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank said in a statement.

“I’m thrilled for Darren to have this new opportunity to lead Newcastle and I see it as a very positive reflection of Atlanta United and what our club has achieved in such a short time.

“Darren is more than ready to lead Newcastle and I know he’ll be an outstanding leader of that club.”

Atlanta signed MLS’s three most expensive incoming players in Argentine midfielders Thiago Almada, Ezequiel Barco and Pity Martinez, whose transfer fees reportedly were a combined $46.5 million.

A statement from the club’s investment group — PIF, PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media — praised Eales, calling him an exceptional leader in a statement.

“He has a deep understanding of the football industry and what it takes to achieve growth and success,” the statement said. “And he will be a key member of the club’s leadership team as we look to deliver on the club’s potential on and off the pitch.”

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