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Aaron Stokes

Newcastle owners grant long-running fan wish with behind the scenes involvement

For years, Newcastle United fans agonised over the total abandonment of club legends. Mike Ashley's reign of terror saw two Newcastle United juggernauts in Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan banished and blacklisted from representing the club in an official capacity, while business yes-men and corporate suits were tasked with acting in the best interests of the north east outfit.

Newcastle's new owners, on the other hand, have got a whole lot right during their short tenure so far. Small wins such as the renaming of 'Shearer's' and giving the windows a good clean and the walls a lick of paint. But more recently they have started to get old favourites back involved after years of fans clamouring to see their footballing heroes involved once again.

Eddie Howe has made no secret of his desire to involve Newcastle stars of yesteryear in his plans. There has been phone calls with Keegan, history lessons on the success of the 90's and a rich desire to try and get the old gang back together at a coaching, boardroom and ambassadorial level.

READ MORE: Eddie Howe quizzed on whether Alexander Isak or Callum Wilson is Newcastle's official penalty taker

"There is a rich history here and I want the players to know it," the Toon boss said back in August. Yes we showed a bit of footage. We finished second not too long ago. The history is there. The club can be successful in this league. It is important the players see that and feel that and can follow in their footsteps."

Everyone's favourite adopted Geordie, Nobby Solano, has been in and around the club in recent months and last week flanked Magpies CEO Darren Eales on a trip to the United States. The goal? To share the ambition and new-found attractiveness of the club with a wide audience across the pond ahead of Newcastle's appearance in the inaugural Premier League Summer Series this July.

“Hopefully by spending time here in Atlanta we can help tell the story of Newcastle United, what the football club means to people back in the North East, and make people feel a connection. Imagine if we can help young fans to become Newcastle fans," Solano said during a talk-in with supporters.

Solano isn't the only club hero to have been invited back into the fold of late. The winger's former St James' Park teammate Shay Given was also invited back to Darsley Park earlier this month as he showed Newcastle's current crop of goalkeepers how it is done.

The Irishman, who made 463 appearances for the club during a 12-year spell, rolled back the years in a training session with Nick Pope, Martin Dubravka, Loris Karius and Mark Gillespie.

"Was great to be back at the @nufc training ground this week and to join in with the GKs was extra special," Given wrote on Instagram. "Thanks to Eddie Howe, his staff and all the players for making me feel so welcome."

Howe added: "There's certain things we do every day to try to get the players together, having Shay Given in was a brilliant thing this week because of the history with the club. It's another way of bringing the players closer to its past and bringing that towards its future."

For all the talk of Saudi investment and the controversy surrounding the takeover, Newcastle's minority ownership players have spearheaded the push to make this club the pride and joy of the city again with these types of gestures.

For years Newcastle United was a soulless, vacuous, glum football club. Existing merely to survive. Lacking any form of heart. This ownership, and a coach who has firmly bought into what it means to be in charge of this great club, have already restored pride in less than two years at the helm.


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