Newcastle United's Kieran Trippier reveals what people are 'quick to forget' about the club
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The England international took the bold decision to join the relegated-threatened club in a World Cup year.
Newcastle, ably led by Trippier, went on to comfortably stay up last season – and the rest is history.
Today, Eddie Howe’s fifth-placed side have the chance to make history in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester United at Wembley.
"If you look back to last January, the progress we have made, we have earned the right to be in this position that we're in today,” said Trippier. “The way that we have performed this season, we’ve tried to compete with all the top teams – and we want to be where the top four are with Man United, Man City.
“That's where Newcastle want to be. We have earned the right to be in the position that we are in."
Newcastle have progressed far quicker than it was thought possible when Howe took charge in late 2021. Back then, the club was then winless and in the relegation zone.
Trippier, having previously played for Howe at Burnley, “dreamt” of making history when he joined from Atletico Madrid, but the the pace of change has surprised the 32-year-old.
"I always dreamt that I could help Newcastle create history and help the club move forward,” said Trippier. “Of course, it has happened quickly – we have to be honest about that – but we've performed well and deserved to be in the position that we are in today.
“It came quicker than anybody expected, but, looking at the players and the way we have performed this season, we deserve to be here."
Jamaal Lascelles is Newcastle’s club captain, but Trippier – who has been leading the team on the pitch – will be skipper at Wembley.
"I'd be unbelievably proud to lead the boys out, but the most important thing for me is the team,” said Trippier. “If I'm captain or not, I'm still representing myself in the same way for the club but, of course, I’d be proud to lead the lads out – and hopefully it's very positive by the end of the game."
Trippier’s move to Newcastle was questioned outside of Tyneside given than he was swapped Champions League football for a relegation battle.
"Throughout my whole career, I'm one of those players who has no regrets,” said Trippier.
“I never look back. I was criticised for going to Atletico Madrid in the first place. When I came to Newcastle, it was the exact same, but I know how to handle all these situations where the outside might not agree with the decision I've made.
“I have no regrets. I never looked back. I believed in the manager – I worked with him before – and I believed that I could help the team stay in the Premier League.
“Newcastle’s a massive club – and people are quick to forget that."
While Trippier knew the stature of the club he was joining, he was still taken aback by the size of the support.
Asked if there was anything that had surprised him since his move, Trippier said: "How crazy the fans are? Certainly. In a good way, of course.
"It's more how passionate they are for the club. You don't realise how big of a club it is, and how passionate the fans are, unless you play for the club. I've certainly realised that.
"I'm guessing there will be a quarter of a million Geordies going down to London in full voice. I hope they all have a great time – and hopefully we can make them proud by the end of the game."
Howe has five Geordies – Dan Burn, Sean Longstaff, Elliot Anderson, Paul Dummett and Mark Gillespie – in his squad.
And they ensure that the squad knows exactly what the game means to the fanbase.
Trippier said: "We have had the Geordie boys, Burny and Longy, non-stop, haven't we? It's unbelievable for them.
"I've spoken to them a few times, and, picking my kids up from school, I've had the headmaster – and everyone in the city wherever I go. That's nice to see.
"We want to make them proud as players. We want to get them up for something so exciting, and have a nice weekend down in London, and, hopefully, it's very positive by the end of it.”
Trippier brought a wealth of knowledge and experience with him to Tyneside when he joined from Atletico, where he had played under Diego Simeone.
Simeone’s teams are known for their gamesmanship, and Howe has faced criticism this season from opponents for attempting to slow games down.
"I learned a lot from the manager at Atletico,” said the right-back, who has lost major finals with England and Tottenham Hotspur. “There are moments in games, in finals, where you have to be clever and know when to slow the game down if the opposition is on top – even if fans might not like it.
“I wouldn't say it's cheating – it's about trying to win a football match. We will be ready. I might throw some new tricks out there. I'm only joking – I don't want to get booked!"
Bury-born Trippier’s family are Man United fans, but, for the final, they will change allegiance.
Asked which team they would be supporting, Trippier said: "Me, of course. Well, I hope so!
"It's a proud moment for all my family – even though they are Reds. They’ll be supporting me. Hopefully, we can give a good account of ourselves for the club – and bring the trophy back to Newcastle."