Eddie Howe reveals Yasir Al-Rumayyan’s 'honest' Newcastle United message
The club moved up to third in the Premier League before the domestic football calendar was paused for the World Cup finals in Qatar.
Howe and his players are in Saudi Arabia for a week-long training camp and friendly against Al Hilal this week ahead of the Premier League’s restart.
And the club’s 100-strong travelling party were invited to a reception at Al-Rumayyan’s house on Monday night before a team meal in Riyadh.
Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Public Investment Fund, the club’s majority owners, spoke to Howe about the team’s progress – and his “vision” for the future.
“Really, really special moment for the chairman to welcome us to his home,” said United’s head coach. “It wasn’t under-estimated by us, it was a really nice gesture. It’s not every day that you have that invitation, so we were humbled to accept it.
“He was really, really good with us, communicated his thoughts on and visions on the future. I really enjoyed spending time with him and his family.
“He was very welcoming and open, and I’m sure the players feel the same way. He was very good with them. He interacts and talks with them in a really good way.”
Asked what Al-Rumayyan said, Howe said: “I think he’s very much for the team. He wants to acknowledge that and bring everyone together. He speaks really well and honestly, and I’m sure the players appreciated his words.
“It was ‘well done, but we want more, we’re very ambitious’. I think that’s what the players want to hear.
“We didn’t go too far into the future, (the message was) just to ‘continue to work as hard as you are, and stick together as a team’.
"He’s been really pleased watching the team, how it’s fought for everything. They were team messages, but very effective messages. I think it was an acknowledgement from him to the staff as well. I think it was just nice for everyone to share that moment.”
Howe, however, didn’t bring up transfers with Al-Rumayyan. He said: “I didn’t think it was the right time with his wife and children there!”