May 26, 2024

Sporting director Dan Ashworth has shared some intriguing insights in his recent statements to the local press regarding Newcastle United:

1. **Club’s Vision**: Ashworth emphasized the club’s vision to challenge the traditional “Big Six” in both on-field performance and commercial success. They aim to consistently compete for trophies and secure a place in the Champions League, acknowledging that success in football is not a linear process. He expressed satisfaction with the club’s progress, highlighting improvements such as the training ground, the women’s team’s promotion, and the development of young players from the academy.

2. **Challenges on and off the Pitch**: Ashworth acknowledged the challenges of competing commercially with long-established global brands and stressed the importance of becoming a top six club both on and off the pitch. He emphasized the need for continuous improvement and avoiding complacency in all aspects of the football club, including the academy, women’s team, player care, and training facilities.

3. **Eddie Howe and England**: Ashworth played down the speculation about Eddie Howe potentially replacing Gareth Southgate as the England national team manager. He praised Howe’s positive relationship with the club and expressed hope for his continued success at Newcastle.

4. **Interest from Manchester United**: Ashworth dismissed any interest in leaving Newcastle for Manchester United and expressed his contentment with the city, the club, and the ongoing project. He confirmed that there is no release clause in his contract with Newcastle.

5. **Release Clauses in Player Contracts**: Ashworth declined to confirm or deny the presence of release clauses in player contracts, citing their private and confidential nature. He explained the concept of release clauses, which can be tailored to accommodate a player’s aspirations to join a specific club or country. It’s not solely about players seeking an exit.

6. **Financial Challenges**: Ashworth acknowledged the financial challenges the club faces, emphasizing the importance of increasing revenue to enhance the playing budget. He highlighted the strategy of acquiring players with potential and opening pathways for academy players. The club will adjust its budgets based on the level of European competition revenue, be it from the Champions League or Europa League.

Ashworth’s statements reflect Newcastle United’s ambitious goals, commitment to growth, and the challenges they face in transforming into a competitive force both on and off the pitch.

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