Eddie Howe's intriguing Newcastle United answer on departures ahead of summer transfer window
A number of players experienced St James’s Park for the last time as home players during Monday night’s stunning 2-0 win over Arsenal.
Eddie Howe had admitted before the game that it would be an “emotional experience” for those players coming to the end of their careers at the club.
Howe and his squad were joined by their families for a lap of appreciation at the stadium, which had been bedecked in black and white stripes – and a blue star – at kick-off time thanks to the efforts of Wor Flags.
The club’s photographer took a group photo of the players and their families in front of the Gallowgate end.
Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle are among those tipped for summer departures, and some players left the stadium knowing their futures almost certainly lie elsewhere.
Asked about the emotions of his players after the game, Howe said: “That’s a difficult one to answer, I can only speak for myself, really.
"It was just great to see the families of the players come on, because the players work incredibly hard and are away from their families a lot. It’s great to see the kids come on the pitch and be part of the experience and for wives and families, mums and dads.
"It was a brilliant moment, I think, to just come together.
"It’s not often I get to see them or we get to be together as one. They all played their part in this as well. Let’s not forget how much time the player spend away. I think that was a really touching moment, and the photo at the end in front of the Gallowgate end was a great thing.”
Howe had been asked ahead of the game if some of those expected to go could stay – and vice versa.
"Possibly,” said United’s head coach. “It’s very difficult to comment or go into too much depth, because I respect my players too much to give out what will happen in the future.
"But, yeah, I’d say there are players here who, potentially, have not maybe featured too much under me so far who could stay, and vice-versa, so we’ll wait and see."