Howe-ay the lads - new boss is a perfect fit for Newcastle
The entertainment levels have been raised at St James' Park
It is safe to say that Newcastle supporters were dealt a rough hand under former owner Mike Ashley, who made some dreadful decisions during his 14-year stay at the club and contributed to the two relegations suffered from the Premier League during his ownership.
For years there have been calls, even pleas, from the Geordie faithful for someone to put significant investment into the club and deliver some silverware - something which hasn't happened since the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. Don't worry if you can't remember the Magpies beating Ujpest FC 6-2 in the two-legged final 53 years ago - not many can!
Having been forced to speculate which free transfers or loan deals might be made during the transfer windows, Newcastle fans can now start to believe there are better times ahead following the successful takeover of the club by a Saudi-led consortium.
There is genuine hope that the new owners will help take the club to the top, on both the domestic and European stage, and finally start seeing the team competing for major trophies. To be honest, delivering a League Cup would be enough to see the new backers immortalised in Geordie folklore.
However, before those dreams can be realised, the immediate goal is for Newcastle United to stay in the Premier League this season, but there are no assurances given the perilous position the club finds itself in. The Magpies are rock-bottom of the standings, five points from safety, and are the only club in England's top four divisions yet to pick up a victory this term. You have to go all the way down to the National League to backmarkers Dover Athletic for the next club in the English pyramid yet to put a win on the board this term.
Looking in from the outside, those not sporting black and white stripes would think Newcastle fans are feeling a sense of dread for the remainder of the campaign, which will be filled with nervous nail-biting throughout each game as the team desperately attempt to rack up crucial points.
However, speaking as a Newcastle fan, the appointment of Eddie Howe has genuinely filled me with excitement and has me back watching my team week in, week out. There is a sense of anticipation and hope going into each match now, something which had been missing under Steve Bruce, who unfortunately couldn't resist the temptation to manage his boyhood club and felt the full extent of what it was like to have Ashley as an owner.
Although Howe was not in the dugout for his first game in charge on Saturday due to a positive Covid test, the team were still adopting his philosophy with assistant Jason Tindall in command. If the 3-3 draw at home to Brentford is anything to go by, this should be a wild, exciting, topsy-turvy end to the season.
Let's not forget, supporters of Newcastle fondly remember the days of Kevin Keegan being in charge from 1992 to 1997, when there was genuine attack-minded football from the Magpies. This, of course, resulted in the side back then being nicknamed The Entertainers. A team who preferred attack to defence and had the philosophy of, "if they score four, we'll score five".
I'm not claiming St James' Park will see that type of performance again, but there is something about a six-goal thriller in a new manager's first game in charge that gives me a sense of thrill and hope.
To be honest, Newcastle have never really been able to defend, and Howe's introduction is unlikely to change that. In his last three seasons as Bournemouth manager, the Cherries conceded a massive 196 times, but they were a threat at the other end and netted 141 times. This is the type of football I remember, the type of football I enjoy. A back-and-forth contest that has the viewer gripped from the first whistle to the last.
The fact Howe likes to produce attacking football makes him a perfect fit for Newcastle. I'm not saying the Magpies will avoid the drop this season, but it will be more entertaining to watch the team go down with a fight, playing out high-scoring affairs, rather than adopting a defensive approach and trying to grind out results. That's not what football, let alone Newcastle, is about for me. I want to see my team having a go and giving supporters something to cheer about and get bums off seats in the stadium.
There's the hope that January will see some new arrivals - whether they will keep the club in the top flight is yet to be seen, but there is certainly more excitement surrounding Newcastle for the first time since the great Sir Bobby Robson was in charge.
If Newcastle do suffer the fate of relegation, I still have confidence that Howe, with the backing of the board, will secure an instant return to the Premier League. Whatever happens this season, whether the club sink or swim, I finally have enjoyment back in watching my team, and I dearly hope it continues for years to come.
Not got a bet365 account? Sign up today and get up to £100 in bet credits
Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
Follow us on Twitter @racingpostsport