Bookies have their say on Eddie Howe’s chances of success at Newcastle

The newly appointed man on the Toon has a huge budget, little time, big pressure... and a kind fixture list.

So, the keepers of the £315billion Saudi Investment Fund have finally appointed Eddie Howe as the man to steer their new expensive ship into less choppy waters.

The fate of their new project and the club itself now rests on the shoulders of a 43-year-old with a boyish grin whose only previous experience of managerial pressure has been the occasional grumblings of 11,000 respectful Bournemouth fans by the sleepy Dorset coast.

Howe turned down the Celtic job in the spring - reportedly because he wouldn't have been allowed to bring in his own backroom staff. It appears Newcastle United's new owners have been more flexible, with Jason Tindall, Simon Weatherstone and Stephen Purchase set to move to the north east as Howe's back-up team.

So what will become of Newcastle this season under Howe? Is he the right man to step in for the deeply unpopular but admirably stoic Steve Bruce? Planet Sport takes a glance through our crystal ball to see what may lie ahead - and to provide the odds on it happening.

Newcastle to get relegated

Allan Saint Maximin, Newcastle United vs Leeds United, Premier League

No victories or clean sheets in their opening 11 games doesn't seem a particularly good omen, and history doesn't favour Premier League teams who have experienced such a catastrophic start to the season - of the 15 clubs who have failed to win in 10 or more of their opening Premier League games since 1992/93, just four have survived.

Howe will already have an appreciation of Newcastle's problem - an average of close to 2.2 goals conceded per game this season tells its own story. He will be very familiar with the poaching capabilities of Callum Wilson, while Allain Saint-Maximin is a resource from which he must squeeze the most value.

The rest of the squad, however, looks worringly ordinary. It doesn't matter how much money you've got sitting around in the bank account if you can't spend it until January. Even then, recruitment will be tricky.

Which players of sufficient quality will be attracted by a relegation battle and the increasing threat of Championship status? There'll be relegation clauses aplenty in those contracts, which doesn't tend to inspire much passion or commitment to the cause.

There is no doubting it's a massive job. Accepting that Norwich (1/8 to go down) will probably occupy one relegation space and Leeds will probably pull away, Watford and Burnley look the most likely to be Newcastle's competition in the relegation dogfight.

Newcastle survive

Newcastle United huddle before Premier League match vs Crystal Palace

What Newcastle need are straws to clutch, and they can find plenty in their upcoming fixtures. The Magpies' next three home games are against Brentford, Norwich and Burnley. Seven points or more from those and momentum suddenly switches in their favour, the Gallowgate roars again and Howe is off and running.

Those games are absolutely crucial not only for the potential points on offer but for a much-needed resurgence of belief and togetherness among both the squad and the fans.

Howe is detailed, diligent, technical and hard-working. At Bournemouth, he was handed full control of the footballing aspect and managed to leave as a club legend. But Newcastle is a different task entirely, and he'll need a quick start to get the fans on board.

Newcastle finish mid-table

Callum Wilson, Newcastle United, Premier League

Want another straw to clutch at, Toon fans?

Let's go back to the earlier stat that just four of 15 clubs that have failed to win in their opening 10 games went on to survive in the Premier League. The four that managed it were: Everton (1994/95), Blackburn (1996/97), Derby (2000/01) and... Newcastle, just three seasons ago.

That year they had just three points from their opening 10 games and ended up finishing 13th.

Such heights may seem unimaginable right now, but historical precedent shows it can be (and has been) done.

A mid-table finish would lay a perfect foundation for a summer of hefty squad-building and the black and white army dreaming of a return of those heady days of chasing titles and European adventures.

Newcastle finish inside the top six

Eddie Howe, Bournemouth manager, 2019

While it's harder to make a case for European soccer happening as soon as next season on Tyneside, stranger things have happened.

As mentioned, Howe could not have asked for his first few fixtures to have fallen more kindly. Win those, and it might just give him the springboard to survive a very testing looking run over Christmas.

Then, of course, comes the January transfer window. If they get the recruitment right, it could be a massive game-changer. In his interview, Howe is said to have presented the owners with a list of transfer targets. With the unusual combination of an unlimited budget, but no immediate potential for trophies as an attraction, the players that do come in will be hugely intriguing.

Flooding the squad with too many new faces may unbalance it and affect cohesion, but four or five clever additions could be the catalyst to climb up above mid-table and launch the most unlikely of European bids.

READ MORE: Moyes showing Manchester United how it’s done, as odds are slashed on West Ham making the top four

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