Newcastle boss Eddie Howe is hoping the security breach which left him in danger at Elland Road could help prevent a future “tragedy” on a football pitch.
The 45-year-old was confronted in his technical area by an angry spectator during Saturday’s 2-2 Premier League draw at Leeds, and a man has since been banned from the stadium for life and charge with assault.
Howe, who revealed he had been contacted by League Managers’ Association chief executive Richard Bevan in the wake of the incident, said: “The concern for me is the future.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) May 16, 2023
“That incident has gone, it’s done as far as I’m concerned, but the only part of that incident that’s left is the ‘What ifs?’ for the future.
“I just hope that that incident itself can then help the authorities and whoever is concerned with the security and safety of the players and staff, that if it does make a little change or (encourage) someone to think how we can improve things, then it will have been a really worthwhile episode because I’d hate to see a tragedy on a football pitch that could have been avoided.”
If Saturday’s events highlighted matters off the pitch, Howe swiftly shifted his attention to what happens on it as he prepared for Thursday night’s hugely significant showdown with in-form Brighton at St James’ Park.
The Seagulls will arrive on Tyneside still basking in the acclaim they received in the wake of their dismantling of title hopefuls Arsenal on Sunday, with both they and Liverpool chasing hard in a bid to deny the Magpies and Manchester United a top-four finish.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp said ahead of Monday night’s 3-0 win at Leicester that the clubs currently sitting behind top two Manchester City and the Gunners would be happier if they were not being hunted down, although Howe is not feeling any pressure.
He said: “I don’t feel like we’re being hunted. I don’t feel that emotion. It’s us against ourselves, really. That’s how I see it. It’s us trying to be the best we can be.
“I’ve not focused on any other team all season. In my experience, I knew Liverpool were never far away because they are a top team and they are capable of going on runs of wins. They are very similar to Manchester City where they can win a group of games without blinking. They have got that experience.
The race for the top four is going down to the wire pic.twitter.com/cYH7WMYr68
— Premier League (@premierleague) May 15, 2023
“For us, we can’t look at it or compare ourselves to Liverpool. We just have to look at us.”
Liverpool, who have two games remaining, are still a point behind Newcastle and United, who have three left to play, while Brighton are eight points adrift with four to go, and the Magpies know victory in their last two home games – against the Seagulls and then Leicester on Monday evening – would secure Champions League qualification.
Asked if he would have taken that back in August, Howe, who has a doubt over wide man Jacob Murphy and will once again be without midfielder Sean Longstaff, replied: “’Snapped your arm off’ is the phrase that I’d use.”
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