When I took over the club I found the club in a very good financial position, however the club had just been relegated to the Championship after a woeful season in the Premier League with the club losing their last 6 games. The boards expectations on giving me a 3 year contract are promotion has Champions at the first attempt plus a good showing and reaching the later rounds of both the FA Cup and Capital One Cup.
I was greeted with most of the first team squad asking for moves out of the club due to relegation “which is about right after all it was their poor performance that got the toon relegated” anyway I accepted and to cut a long story short we have seen over 30 players leave the club with a transfer income of £72m of which thankfully the board made available for me to rebuild the squad.
So my starting point was how are we going to play….well my philosophy is inspired by a number of coaches with similar views on how the game should be played. The coaches in question are Rinus Michels,Arrigo Sacchi,Josep Guardiola,Marcelo Bielsa,Valeriy Lobanovskyi,Johan Cruyff,Gusztáv Sebes,Brian Clough,Carlos Bianchi,Jurgen Kopp,Jorge Sampaoli,Julen Lopetegui,Andre Villas Boas,Thomas Tuchel plus many more I could go on forever.
So with all these influences how will my Newcastle play? At West Ham I played a 4-1-4-1 based on Marcelo Bielsa ‘s Athletic Club era. Back to Newcastle and I am looking to bring the Juego De Posicion of Pep Guardiola / Bielsa to the club. I have built 3 tactics with this in mind all variations of a 2-3-5, yes a 2-3-5 in the Championship in England.
I had players in mind to fit into the system soI sent my scouts out on assignments to build up a shortlist of players who were interested in playing in the 2nd tier of the English system. I also wanted a number of squad players who had experience of the 2nd tier and who could mentor the younger player’s.
Player recruitment went well apart from the unfortunate Rudy Gestede who had been recruited by the last manager and didn’t fit in to my plans so I released him so he could get on with his career instead of rotting in our reserves.
I managed to recruit some really good players from Barcelona ‘s B side which fit in to my philosophy Sergi Samper and Gerard Gumbau for a combined fee of £27.5m along with Bayern Munich transfer listed Gianluca Gaudino for £15.5m. These 3 players are pivotal to our system so I am pleased we could recruit them. Another player Ravel Morrison again transfer listed for £3.3m has come in and been outstanding and looks a bargain. We brought 3 forwards in for a further £26.5m Moussa Dembele,James Wilson and Brazilian Thalles. We signed Marko Anautovic and Jose Canas on free transfers. In total we spent £89m a net transfer spend of £17m. on 16 players.
I have set the training up to mould players in to the roles of the system.
Pre season was a learning curve and a little testing which has had me thinking for hours and even over thinking things even in to the start of the season which had me close to reverting to a different system. Luckily I don’t give up easy and with more research and analysis things started to fall in to place and has a result our performance has been a joy to watch and believe me I have watched a lot. I have watched games in both 3D and 2D on various camera’s pausing,rewinding pausing again the works and I am enjoying it.
Our last month of results has put us on top of the table with big wins against our rivals Middlesbrough and Sunderland plus all 3 points in games against Hull,Bournemouth and Norwich. It’s early days yet but our performance over the last month has given us a solid platform to build on.
The Club also has a new owner, I am unsure what this will mean in terms of finance in the future.
Juego De Posicion has arrived in England, as I write this Josep ‘Pep Guardiola’ has said he will be testing himself in England soon, sorry Pep the toon are not available in my world just yet.
I would just like to mention and thank all the FM community for making FM a joy to behold, I like nothing more than reading and watching the community as they all go about their saves and experience in an array of different ways and styles keep it up chaps…..special mention to my fellow philosopher @Rovazzz who keeps me inspired to succeed with the Juego De Posicion….