Eddie Howe and Newcastle United shouldn't be on the defensive following Yasir Al-Rumayyan dressing room visit

Eddie Howe was seemingly on the defensive about one thing ahead of this afternoon’s game against Norwich City.

Howe was asked about the dressing room celebration photographs which the club have captured the unity and mood behind the scenes at the club on each step of its recovery this season.

After Wednesday night’s hard-fought 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, the 11th-placed club, which is now safe with 40 points, posted another one on its social media channels.

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This time, co-owners Amanda Staveley, Mehrdad Ghodoussi and Jamie Reuben were front and centre with club chairman and Public Investment Fund governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who was visiting from Saudi Arabia.

The club’s Twitter account even teased the latest photo with a tweet which read: “You've seen plenty of team photos over the past few weeks, but coming up is THE team photo.”

It was liked on Twitter almost 27,000 times.

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Howe, however, strangely suggested that the photos, which have been well received by fans, had “found their way into the mainstream media” in his pre-match press conference.

“We haven’t decided to publish them, they’ve just found their way into the mainstream media which is something that ideally, from my side, wouldn’t happen.” said Howe.

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Newcastle United chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan, centre, with co-owners Mehrdad Ghodoussi and Amanda Staveley at St James's Park.

“It’s something we did a long, long time ago to try and enjoy winning a little bit more, because sometimes with the pressure that the players are under, it’s nice to have that moment to keep so you can look back on in years to come when we’re old and grey and in a different part of our lives where you snapshot that moment and it will trigger good memories.

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“It was really for that reason, and, as I say, it’s something we’ve done for a long, long time, and it’s just now getting more publicity.

“It’s not really something that I wanted to get out, but, of course, it has, and we’re not doing it for any other reason than to do it for our players.

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“If people like it, then great. If they don’t then it’s for us.”

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.
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And that’s the thing. It shouldn’t matter what’s being said outside the city and the region. And the photos are for the supporters as much as the players.

Yes, celebrating a win over Crystal Palace with a team photo may seem odd to non-Newcastle fans, but given that the club hadn’t won a fixture until November this season, it makes perfect sense to most supporters on Tyneside.

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The club is united in more than just name following the departure of owner Mike Ashley and head coach Steve Bruce earlier this season.

So much is changing for the better – on and off the pitch.

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Fans, again, believe in their club, and the turnaround over the past few months has been nothing short of remarkable.

Let’s not forget that the club, winless under Bruce and 20th after Howe’s first game in charge, didn’t win a game until December.

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Howe shouldn’t be apologetic about the photos, which capture the zeitgeist of a season of two halves. Hopefully, we’ll see a few more celebration photos this season.

Next term, we can only hope that the club continues to win – and has even more to celebrate.