Ashworth previously held a prominent position with England and departed in September 2018 following six acclaimed years as the Football Association’s director of elite development. In spring 2019, around six months after his exit from the Three Lions set-up, he moved to the south coast, taking up the role of technical director with the Seagulls.
While at the Amex, Brighton have signed the likes of Neal Maupay, Tariq Lamptey, Leandro Trossard, Joel Veltman, Adam Lallana and Marc Cucurella. They finished 15th, 16th and then ninth in the three Premier League campaigns Ashworth was at the club for.
The 51-year-old officially resigned from his post at Brighton in February but remained on gardening leave from the club while negotiations between the Seagulls and the Magpies took place. Last week, it was announced officially that Ashworth would become Newcastle’s technical director, starting his new role on Monday.
Speaking about the role, Ashworth declared he is excited to get started and is keen to continue the upward trajectory that the club have been on in 2022. ” Newcastle United is an incredible football club and I’m delighted to be joining at this very exciting time,” Ashworth told the club’s website.
“Each time I’ve been to St. James’ Park in the past, I have been reminded of the club’s long history and the unrivalled passion of its fan base. It is a huge football club with great potential, and I am incredibly positive about what we can collectively achieve. “I’m excited to start work immediately and look forward to being part of a team that is helping the club to grow and achieve long-term success.”
Where will Newcastle finish next season? Have your say in the comments section.
The first job on Ashworth’s in-tray will be to get this summer transfer window right, continuing the impressive strides Newcastle made in January following their takeover by a Saudi-backed consortium. The Magpies spent big and sanctioned permanent deals for Chris Wood, Kieran Trippier and Dan Burn, as well as a club-record fee to sign midfielder Bruno Guimaraes. Newcastle also signed Matt Targett on loan from Aston Villa.
The Tyneside club have been heavily linked with Stade de Reims striker Hugo Ekitike in a deal worth up to £36million. However, the latest reports suggest a deal is not as close as first reported, even though a striker is a key priority for Newcastle. Callum Wilson finished as their Premier League top scorer with just eight goals last term, having missed most of the campaign through injury.
As well as getting their recruitment spot on once again, they need to build sustained growth and progression, which Brighton did during Ashworth’s spell in Sussex. Newcastle had the third-best Premier League points-per-game record in 2022, taking them out of the relegation zone to an 11th-placed finish.
Newcastle can follow in Brighton’s footsteps in terms of sustained growth, consistency and progression, but their stature and increased spending power will look to take that to the next level.
The club want to be back playing in Europe and competing for the Premier League title, as they were during the mid 1990s and the early 2000s. But, having not won a domestic major trophy since lifting the FA Cup in 1955, that will also be near the top of the to-do list.
Newcastle’s 2022 points-per-game average was bettered only by the Premier League’s top two – Manchester City and Liverpool – and that was with a squad who had looked destined for relegation before Christmas. Now, with Eddie Howe, Ashworth, an improved squad and significant funds at their disposal, Magpies supporters can eagerly anticipate what is to come.