JEDDAH: Eddie Howe has revealed the details of a motivational speech given to Newcastle United players by Public Investment Fund chief and club chairman, Yasir Al-Rumayyan.
The Magpies take on Saudi Pro League leaders Al-Ittihad in a behind-closed-doors friendly in Jeddah this evening, a game which rounds off a six-day trip to the Kingdom, the club’s first since they were bought by majority shareholders PIF.
As part of the trip, Howe confirmed Al-Rumayyan visited the players at their Jeddah training base.
The governor of the PIF outlined his short-term vision for the team, according to Howe — and it was a speech that really resonated with the United staff.
“I’ve spoken with the chairman,” said Howe. “We met him one of the day and that was a great experience to hear his thoughts on the club, his vision and how the future looks.
“I think the players enjoyed that, I enjoyed that. A lot of people around the PIF team have been here as well so it’s been a very good experience from that side to bring everyone closer together.”
While fans are keen to look to the big picture at United, with long-term plans and dreams very much on the agenda, that’s not the thought-process from within the club or ownership group.
For now, the focus is on the short-term, and staying in the Premier League.
Of Al-Rumayyan’s talk with the players, Howe said: “It was more short-term. There is no point looking too long-term with the players at that moment.
“It was more of a motivational and inspirational talk based on the shorter-term; the collective team spirit, the collective aims we have between now and the end of the season,” the Newcastle boss said. “No (long-term) assurances, it was more a conversation based around what’s happening on the pitch and the togetherness and fight we need and the fact everyone is there to support the players.
“It was just a nice feeling rather than any big promises or assurances. It was just a nice way for us all to spend a little time together and get to know each other better,” added Howe.
“That includes everybody connected with the staff, players. It was a really nice moment and we all enjoyed it.
“We were all very impressed with what was said and how it was said. I’m sure the players feel very enthused and ready to work.”