A club philosophy, first-team recruitment and wholesale improvements: What will Dan Ashworth’s priorities at Newcastle United be?

Dan Ashworth will become Newcastle United’s new sporting director - but what will be his first priorities at the club?

By Joe Buck
Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 12:30 pm

It’s a step into the unknown for Newcastle United having finally appointed a sporting director to a behind-the-scenes structure that was left threadbare by the previous owner.

Ashworth comes to Newcastle with great hype following success at the FA, West Brom and most recently Brighton and Hove Albion.

But what will be his first priorities at the club and how will Newcastle benefit from Ashworth’s huge experience in football?

Long-term vision

Overarching everything Ashworth will do at Newcastle United will be implementing and realising a long-term vision for the club.

Gone are the days of Newcastle United lurching from season-to-season, being a reactive rather than proactive club.

Newcastle’s new owners have already delivered what their hopes for the future are, with European and domestic glory very much in their dreams - and it will be Ashworth that is tasked with delivering on these promises.

Newcastle United's new sporting director Dan Ashworth (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

His work will be focussed on putting in place all of the structures and pathways behind the scenes to help give the first-team the best possible chance of being successful on the pitch.

West Brom, the FA and Brighton have all enjoyed success under Ashworth - now it’s hopefully Newcastle United’s turn to reap the rewards.

After a season of simply ensuring their Premier League survival at all costs, Newcastle need a direction and a plan in place to deliver on their hopes and dreams.

Pathways

Newcastle United are heading into their first summer transfer window under Eddie Howe (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

One of the key components of Ashworth’s job will be to help create and maintain pathways for younger players to make their impact on the first-team.

For too long Newcastle have had a scatter-gun approach to youth development hoping for success stories, rather than a clear structure in place to deliver success time after time.

England’s national side, under Ashworth’s guidance, markedly-improved their pathways for younger players coming through the ranks - could this be replicated at Newcastle?

There’s also the potential for the Newcastle United Women’s team to develop and if Brighton’s progress can be matched, then exciting things are in-store on Tyneside.

Newcastle United Women's team could benefit greatly from the guidance and structures put in place by Dan Ashworth (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

In 2015, the Seagulls implemented a five-year plan to become a Super League side - they reached this aim within three years.

Following an attendance of 22,134 at St James’s Park for their match with Alnwick Town, the demand for women’s football in Newcastle is clear to see and with the drive from Amanda Staveley, coupled with the direction set by Ashworth, it is certainly one aspect of the club that will get a huge lift in the near future.

First-team recruitment

Ashworth has also previously commented on how it was essential for a club to implement a philosophy and stick to their beliefs - even when results aren’t forthcoming on the football pitch.

This starts with the management structure by giving them the resources they need to deliver on this vision.

Whilst he will undoubtedly be tasked with achieving the club’s medium to long term goals, Ashworth will certainly have a role to play in this summer’s transfer window.

It is Eddie Howe’s first summer in charge of the club and having someone like Ashworth alongside him to help navigate the transfer market could be a game-changer.