What Newcastle United fans chanted at Nick Pope on his debut
Newcastle United kicked off in the shadow of the Alps at the Saalfelden Arena – and Eddie Howe’s side have a proverbial mountain to climb this season.
The club’s owners, ultimately, want Champions League football – preferably sooner rather than later.
Rebuilding this club, on the off the pitch, will take time, and Howe won’t talk about timescales, but what isn't in doubt is the direction of travel under new ownership.
And only time will tell where a campaign which kicked off in an Austrian village ends, but the club’s pre-season campaign has got off to a decent start.
Sven Botman, the club’s £35million new defender, made his debut in a 3-0 win over 1860 Munich at the 1,500-capacity stadium. Joe Willock, Sean Longstaff and Bruno Guimaraes were on target for Howe’s team, who were much better after the break.
Newcastle, backed by several hundred fans at the Saalfelden Arena, showed some early promise against the German third tier team, but they soon found themselves pegged back by the 1860, who were further ahead in their pre-season campaign.
Fynn Lakenmacher headed wide from corer, and Nick Pope, making his debut following his move from Burnley, turned a free-kick from Martin Kobylanski round his post.
There was a chant of “England’s No.1” in reaction to the save from the club’s travelling fans, who were strung along behind hoardings on one side of the 1,500-capacity stadium.
Also in the starting XI was Elliot Anderson, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Bristol Rovers. Anderson started on the left, but drifted around the pitch looking for ball.
However, 1860 made better use of their possession, and United’s front three of Allan Saint-Maximin, Callum Wilson and Jacob Murphy didn’t threatened Marco Hiller’s goal.
At the back, Newcastle, led by Jamaal Lacelles, had some awkward moments. Howe replaced Lascelles with Botman at the break, but left the rest of his team unchanged.
The performance, however, did change. Newcastle improved – and quickly took control of the game. Jonjo Shelvey cut the ball back to Joe Willock, and he beat Hiller with a left-footed shot.
Howe then made 10 more changes, and Guimaraes and Longstaff combined to double United’s advantage. Guimaraes rolled the ball to Longstaff, who turned and shot past Hiller.
Newcastle weren’t finished. Pressing high up the pitch, the took the ball off 1860’s defence, and Guimaraes played in Wood. The striker, faced with the advancing Hiller, rolled the ball across to Guimaraes, who scored with a neat finish.
It ended up being a comfortable win, and Howe, keen to acknowledge the backing his team had had at the stadium, took his players across to the club’s travelling fans to acknowledge their support in Saalfelden.
United take on Mainz 05 in Kufstein on Monday.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Pope (Dubravka, 61), Krafth (Trippier, 61), Lascelles (Botman, 46), Burn (Schar, 61), Targett (Dummett, 61), Murphy (Almiron, 61), Willock (Joelinton, 61), Shelvey (S Longstaff, 61), Anderson(Guimaraes, 61), Saint-Maximin (Fraser, 61), Wilson (Wood, 61). Subs not used: M Longstaff, Turner-Cooke.