EPL

Hislop confident Newcastle will contend for titles and 'be there to stay'

By Sports Desk May 31, 2022

Shaka Hislop is willing to be patient with Newcastle United's rebuild and believes fans are too, knowing the club will "be there to stay" once they reach the top of the Premier League table.

Newcastle have been struggling in the bottom half of the top flight for many years, but supporters' optimism was renewed by a lucrative takeover last year.

A consortium backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund bought Newcastle from Mike Ashley, in theory making the club the richest in world football.

No team spent more than Newcastle in the January transfer window, as an outlay of around £90million brought in the likes of Kieran Trippier and Bruno Guimaraes and inspired a surge up the table.

Bottom at the start of December, a sensational run under Eddie Howe took Newcastle up to a comfortable 11th by the season's end.

Further spending is anticipated ahead of the 2022-23 campaign, when Newcastle will be expected to have loftier ambitions, although former goalkeeper Hislop suggests success will not be immediate.

"A lot of the thinking is that this ownership isn't going to come and spend that kind of money straight off the bat," he told Stats Perform.

"Many thought they would like PSG are doing, or for argument's sake [Manchester] City may have done, [but] it's going to be a slow, gradual and deliberate process in bringing back some of those glory days.

"The signings have to make sense, they have to make fiscal sense, while the ownership are going to focus on building out the infrastructure so that once Newcastle are back and competing at the top end of the table, it's just sustained effort, it is not just fuelled by big spending and transfer windows, but they're going to build out the infrastructure.

"Now, building out infrastructure is going to take years, but I think the fanbase is understanding of that. They are okay with that. That's what they want.

"They are happy to take their time to get back to competing for Premier League honours. As long as it's a sustained effort, I think that's tying into everybody's feeling around the club and one that just comes together so well.

"So, the short answer is it's going to take time, but there's no doubt in my mind that they will be competing for honours before long. We'll see how long, but once they do, they'll be there to stay."

Hislop's thoughts were informed by a visit to Newcastle's training ground to chat to former Portsmouth team-mate Howe and members of backroom staff who remain at the club from his time on Tyneside in the 1990s.

Following those conversations, the 53-year-old – who was awarded the freedom of Newcastle for his work with Show Racism the Red Card – suggested "rekindling" an atmosphere that is "like nothing else" was more important than any promises of investment.

"The way that they felt the club was going under Mike Ashley, to them, it felt like it's lost its way, it lost its direction and sense of significance around the city, around the north-east in general," Hislop explained.

"And they felt that that had been renewed under the new ownership.

"Nobody at the club, nobody at the city is talking about the wealth of the new owners and any big spending there is to come.

"Everybody's just focused on rekindling that atmosphere that we saw and loved during the 90s and having some of that football back into the place, having a sense of optimism, because it felt that that had been taken away and neglected over the last few years."

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