Eddie Howe’s Toon bringing the buzz back to Newcastle just like Keegan’s ‘Entertainers’, says legend Rob Lee
ROB LEE reckons expectations at Newcastle are on par with the giddy days of Kevin Keegan’s ‘Entertainers’.
The Toon Army snaked around St James’ Park trying to snap up season tickets for the first full campaign under Saudi ownership and Eddie Howe’s management.
There were 87,452 packed in for friendlies against Atalanta and Athletic Bilbao last Friday and Saturday.
And ex-Toon and England midfielder Lee believes Tyneside has not seen excitement like this since his old manager Keegan took them so close to Prem glory in 1995-96.
After finishing 11th last term, he said: “The expectation compares to when Kevin was there.
“They put season tickets up for sale the other week and there were queues going all the way round St James’ Park trying to get them.
“When I joined Newcastle, they were locking out 5,000, 10,000 people every week.
“They just seem to be very optimistic about the way the club is run, the manager they have got in, the players they’re buying.
“It seems to be after 14 years of nothingness really that they are moving in the right direction.
“Now Newcastle fans expect to finish in the top ten at least and they want us to go for Europe, which is a big ask.”
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Boss Howe has spent £57million bringing in keeper Nick Pope, centre half Sven Botman and left back Matt Targett.
A second bid of £45m for Leicester playmaker James Maddison has been rejected as Howe scrambles for attacking reinforcements before Saturday’s opener against Nottingham Forest.
But the former England international, 56, added: “What I like is that we could have easily gone mad with the amount of money that people say Newcastle have to go in for Neymar or Ronaldo or Mbappe.
“They’ve done it right. They’ve bought some quality players, Premier League players last year to keep them up and now they’re buying even better players.
“And I don’t see why Eddie can’t take Newcastle all the way to where they want to be.
“This will be a big season for him and we’ll certainly know more.
“Now there are more expectations. We finished 11th last season but he could have finished fourth from bottom and it would have been success.”
Rob Lee was talking to Sky Bet about the Sky Bet Fan Hope Survey, a poll of over 2500 fans ahead of the new season.
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