Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

United Goals Are Changing

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

United Goals Are Changing

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas

DAVID Beckham landed at Newcastle Airport on Tuesday evening, but it is a measure of more realistic times that not one excitable Newcastle United fan sought to connect the dots and speculate about an impending move for the ex-England skipper.

To put Beckham's whirlwind stay in the North East in context, his apparent arrival on a flight diverted from London to Newcastle was not widely reported, thanks to a watertight security operation designed to keep him away from the glare of publicity.

Any sane observer would also recognise that his serious, careerthreatening ankle injury makes him the most unlikely target for a team in the market for Premier League reinforcements this summer.

But the point remains - the days of Hollywood signings at St James' Park are on hiatus.

In what appears to be a conscious decision by the club, expectations are being quietly managed at Newcastle ahead of the club's return to the Premier League.

Kevin Nolan set the tone earlier this week when he spoke of a 'safety first' approach to next term. The influential midfielder pointed out that finishing fourth from bottom will be an "achievement", saying that steady progress was the name of the game.

Boss Chris Hughton added to that feeling yesterday, warning of potentially tough times in the transfer market and the importance of getting "value" from their new recruits.

"We are in more difficult times financially - most clubs are aware of that. We are no different," he admitted.

"We have to be mindful to get the right value for anyone coming in. The outlook now is different to what it used to be.

"This squad have earned the right to be in the Premier League. We are back on the basis of our performances this season.

"You can't underestimate what we already have on the playing staff here. …

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