The Magpies dominated Arsenal on Monday night and managed to go out on a high at St James’ Park for the season by picking up a very impressive 2-0 victory, which means the Magpies can still finish as high as ninth in the Premier League with a win and results going their way on Sunday afternoon.
Would you like Ritchie to stay with NUFC?
While the performance and result was a big positive on Monday evening, the pre-match display by fans group Wor Flags and the lap of honour – which included a traditional post-match team photo – just showed how united the club as a whole is once again.
This was also showcased in the pre-match warm-up, which was shared on the club’s official YouTube channel. Substitute and rarely-seen player Matt Ritchie was spotted patting the players who were set to start on the back and giving them words of encouragement, which points towards him having a big role to play behind the scenes in the dressing room given his experience and age.
TIF Thoughts on Ritchie’s role at Newcastle…
It may have been expected when Eddie Howe was appointed as Newcastle manager that his former Bournemouth players Ritchie, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser would become reliable players under his watch, but the former has only managed to start four league games in that time, which is largely down to the arrival of Matt Targett at left-back, where Ritchie had been playing a lot under the former manager.
So despite his lack of first-team action, it will surely be great for the fans to see fringe players such as Ritchie actively involved in maintaining the positive spirit around the club at the moment, instead of sulking in the background as he waits for an opportunity.
Given his experience in and around the club, as well as in English football, it’s no surprise that Ritchie is still clearly a key figure – and despite reports tipping him with a summer exit, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him stay for this kind of influence behind the scenes.