Eddie Howe says Newcastle can in future match Manchester United as a global force in football as they continue their dramatic rebuild under their wealthy Saudi-backed owners.
The Magpies, sixth in the Premier League table, one point behind United, take on the Old Trafford giants on Sunday, 12 months after Mike Ashley’s troubled reign came to an end.
Newcastle manager Howe said at his pre-match press conference on Friday that there was no limit to what could be achieved at the success-starved club, who have not won a major trophy since 1969.
Asked if Newcastle could ever be as big as 20-time English champions United, he replied: “I don’t like to put ceilings on individual players and I don’t like to put ceilings on clubs either.
“Looking at my own history, Bournemouth were associated as a League One, League Two team, primarily League One, but we have seen them grow into a Premier League club, so why not?
“The aim of this club with the ambition behind the scenes — which is huge now — I have always said we have to now try and deliver those huge ambitions. But there is no ceiling here.”
Howe said the city, in the northeast of England, had a remarkable passion for the game.
“The thing that always blows me away is the young people here, the 12, 13 and 14-year-olds, their passion for Newcastle,” he said. “It runs through generations and that won’t stop.
“What will happen hopefully is the global brand and the global enthusiasm for Newcastle will grow.
“The global support will definitely change through time if the club can be successful. I am putting more pressure on myself here, but that is the challenge and that is where the club wants to be.
“Who knows what the future will look like in 20 or 30 years.”
Amanda Staveley’s consortium, in which Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund holds an 80 percent stake, has already invested more than £200 million ($225 million) on new players, a level sporting director Dan Ashworth this week admitted was unsustainable.
A significant chunk of that outlay went on Brazil midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, who scored twice in last Saturday’s 5-1 victory over Brentford to further enhance his blossoming reputation.
Howe said his goals had come as a bonus.
“When we signed him, we didn’t think we were getting goals as part of his game, to be honest,” said the Newcastle boss.
“His goal record wasn’t something we looked at and thought, ‘We’ll change that and add goals to his game’.
“It has just happened organically and naturally because he is a very, very good player. Hopefully there are more in him.”
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