Under the astute leadership of Eddie Howe and the financial backing of a Saudi Arabia-funded ownership group, Newcastle United has become a formidable team in European football.
The Magpies beat Southampton 2-1 in Tuesday's semi-final second leg, sealing a 3-1 victory on aggregate. This marks their first domestic final this century and positions them as serial trophy contenders.
Their rise to success can be attributed to the ownership group led by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and financier Amanda Staveley. Despite concerns about Saudi Arabia's human rights record, the £305 million takeover in October 2021 generated immense enthusiasm among Newcastle fans, who were tired of their struggles during owner Mike Ashley's reign.
Staveley's declaration that Newcastle would soon be "regularly competing for major trophies" has come true more quickly than expected, with the club currently sitting third in the Premier League and looking to be on the cusp of a golden era.
Eddie Howe, a self-confessed football obsessive, has played a significant role in Newcastle's resurgence. Despite a previous spell at Bournemouth ending in Premier League relegation, Howe was hired as Newcastle's manager in November 2021 and has since saved the club from relegation.
He has made shrewd signings, adding quality to his squad, and has transformed Brazilian forward Joelinton from an expensive flop to the heart and soul of the team.
Howe's impact can be attributed to his focus on team spirit, togetherness, and connecting with the club's culture. He spends 12 hours a day at Newcastle's Darsley Park training ground, working to ensure that the club is more than a one-hit-wonder.
Manchester United is likely to be their opponent in the final at Wembley on February 26th, as they hold a 3-0 lead over Nottingham Forest heading into the second leg of their semi-final match. Newcastle's previous domestic final ended in defeat against Manchester United in the 1999 FA Cup, marking the end of their last sustained period of relevance.
This year's final marks a new chapter for Newcastle United, who have not won a major domestic trophy since the 1955 FA Cup and whose last major silverware came in the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. With the club's progress and the impact of its leadership and ownership, the future looks bright for Newcastle and their fans. They can finally hold their heads high and dare to hope for a brighter future, filled with major trophies and sustained success.
The investment from Saudi Arabia has brought in a new level of financial support for Newcastle United. With the Public Investment Fund holding 80% of the club's stake, it has allowed the team to bring in new and talented players to bolster their squad.
The recruitment of quality players like Kieran Trippier, Bruno Guimaraes, Sven Botman and Nick Pope, as well as the acquisition of Anthony Gordon from Everton, has played a major role in the team's success this season.
Additionally, the investment has also helped the club bring in a top-notch manager in Eddie Howe. With his previous experience at Bournemouth, where he led them to Premier League survival, he was a perfect fit for Newcastle United.
Under his leadership, the team has undergone a major transformation, and he has been able to bring out the best in players like Joelinton, who was once regarded as an expensive flop but is now the heart and soul of the team. The investment from Saudi Arabia has provided the resources necessary for the club to return to their former glory and compete at the highest level once again.