Jordan compares Howe to sacked Bradford boss in Newcastle role ‘Genghis Khan’ would have thrived in

Oliver Harden
Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe
Eddie Howe looks on during Newcastle's Champions League victory over PSG.

Simon Jordan fears Eddie Howe may ultimately pay the price for Newcastle United’s ambition, likening his management of the club to Mark Hughes’s tenure as Manchester City boss.

Howe’s reputation has soared since succeeding Steve Bruce as Newcastle manager two years ago, steering the club clear of relegation before going on to secure a top-four finish in his first full season in charge last term.

The former Bournemouth boss masterminded Newcastle’s stunning 4-1 victory over PSG on Wednesday, with the Magpies top of their challenging Champions League group with two matched completed.

Despite Howe’s transformational impact, former Crystal Palace chairman Jordan suspects Newcastle’s ambitious Saudi Arabian owners may be tempted to upgrade in the dugout as the club’s on-pitch success swells, comparing Howe’s situation to that of Hughes.

Hughes was Man City boss at the time of Sheikh Mansour’s takeover in 2008, assembling a star-studded squad before being replaced in December 2009 by Roberto Mancini, who went on to secure the club’s first Premier League title in 2012.

Hughes suffered the latest blow to his managerial career on Wednesday when he was sacked by Bradford City with the Yorkshire club 18th in League Two.

READ MORE: Newcastle show heart that left PSG long ago as Howe avoids state-owned trap

Appearing on talkSPORT, Jordan has doubted whether Howe will be the coach to take Newcastle all the way to the top.

Asked if Howe is proving to be the man for the big occasion, he said: “It depends what you think that big occasion is for Newcastle. If the big occasion is the delivery of an outcome for Newcastle with some significant baubles, I question that.

“Not because I’m being mean spirited, but because I think that there will come a point where the opportunity for Newcastle to achieve what we believe is the ultimate aim from this PIF ownership, which is to turn Newcastle into a dominant power force in English and European football.

“I feel that Eddie will do a job that gets you to the point where you’re getting close to it, where you’re getting [to the] Mauricio Pochettino territory of getting a side that gets you there but can’t quite win.

“I worry for him because I think there’s an evolution when a club changes direction and pivots on a sixpence.

“Eddie Howe could not have got his timing better [when arriving at Newcastle]. They could have put Genghis Khan in control of Newcastle post-Mike Ashley and the Newcastle fans would have rallied around with this fervour that they’ve got.

“The feeling, the energy, the vitality of Newcastle – you’re coming in with perfect timing, then you get a group of players playing better and you get £300million to supplement the playing squad.

“I think – and it may be unkind – it feels a little bit like the Mark Hughes transition from when Sheikh Mansour takes over, Hughes starts to buy big players, he starts to build a Man City side that are really starting their engines and Mancini says, ‘Thanks very much, I’ll take it from here,’ and wins the league.

“That’s what I think might happen. I hope I’m wrong. I hope he gets the rewards [of being] the building block, because there’s an evolution here.

“No one could have ever envisaged – not the most ardent, sometimes deluded, Newcastle fan – that [Newcastle would say]: ‘We’re going to go to Milan, get a result in our first European game and then we’re going to smash PSG at home.’

“There is a situation where Newcastle are not aiming to be participants, are not aiming to be at the top table saying: ‘Thank you very much for allowing us to be here.’

“There’s going to be this conversation eventually, which is: what does it take for Newcastle to win the Premier League? What does it take for Newcastle to win the FA Cup, the League Cup?

“I just think there’s a journey that you go through when you’ve involved in football clubs when they go through the transition, and very rarely does somebody get to take it all the way along.

“I’m pitching Eddie Howe against [Pep] Guardiola, if he’s still around; against [Jurgen] Klopp; against others in European football. I think it’s going to be very, very difficult [for Howe to join that company].

“I think he’ll have some significant achievements along the way, but if the aim is for Newcastle to win significant things I don’t know if it will be Eddie Howe that gets the benefit of that achievement, but what he will be is a remarkable pathway for someone else to build upon.”

Jordan added that the Newcastle players’ reaction to their victory over PSG captured the essence of football, with Dan Burn and Sean Longstaff both on the scoresheet for their boyhood club.

He explained: “What I really liked about the game, beside the fact that it’s a British team beating PSG which I’ve always described as a faberge egg – beautiful on the outside with very little heart on the inside – was the absolute delight these footballers had when they were interviewed after the game.

“So many times you see footballers walking around like it’s impeding doom, like everything is a difficult situation for them, yet you saw the joy from Sean Longstaff [and] Dan Burn. You see that environment and that’s what football, to some extent, should represent.

“You saw inordinate amounts of [emotion] at Newcastle and part of that was the contributing energy that brought these players to the boil.

“You saw Anthony Gordon in the first minute of the game winning a corner and rousing the crowd – that’s what football’s about.”