As I write this message something extraordinary is happening

Newcastle United are third in the English Premier League.

And this newsletter isn’t about football.

This time last year a new manager, Eddie Howe, had just taken over and, we were languishing at the bottom with little prospect of achieving anything like the heady heights we’re seeing now.


What happened?


There’s a clue in what I’ve written so far.

You’ll notice when I talk about Newcastle United I say ‘we’.

I don’t play for the club (obviously). I don’t own the club or have any commercial interest in it. But I still say ‘we’.

You could argue any fan says that about their club.

Agreed, but do the players?


That’s what Eddie Howe brought back to Newcastle United first.

The word is that the dressing room feels buoyant because he’s instilled a renewed passion for the club, the city and the fans.

And he did that first.

Eddie Howe may have the budget to bring in superstar players, but the difference is Newcastle are playing as a team.


Here are my takeaways:

  • Money can’t buy teamwork.
  • Get your foundations right first.
  • Enjoy this moment – we’re Newcastle, will it last?

Am I right? Is that what great leaders do? What have I missed?

I’d love to know your thoughts and I’ll send a copy of my book The Edge, How the best get better (had to be 😉) to my favourite. Please leave a comment below.

Be Brilliant!


PS Events and Conferences are well and truly back. I’m almost fully booked for 2023 and we’re taking bookings for 2024. If you’re planning an event and would like a speaker, we’d love to have a chat.

Here’s what I do:


  1. November 10th 2022 by Paul Lott

    You’re a brave man starting a football conversation online. Being an Arsenal fan I totally get what your saying. Same thing going on at our club. Give the All or Nothing documentary a watch, so many great leadership / motivational examples. Ps already got the book.

  2. November 10th 2022 by Judith (Judy) Brulo

    Taking tips from life – good strategy. That way nothing is wasted and you can takeaway the positives. You just have to see how NATO and other nations have worked together to aid Ukraine against the terrorist oppressor.

  3. November 10th 2022 by Vanessa

    It’s not always easy to be part of a team. The ‘we not the I’ Its learning to put past experiences behind and move forward

  4. November 10th 2022 by Nicki

    Foootball! I think the key 8s in the constant use of inclusive language, no man (of woman!/LGBT etc) stands alone. I think that good leaders make everyone feel involved and a valued part of the team.

  5. November 10th 2022 by Vikki Baptie

    Toon toon! I love this Michael!
    I said to my husband on the last transfer window when his lip was tripping him up that Eddie’s plan was to build up the current team and he couldn’t do that by bringing new players in. You can have as much money as you like *cough – Man U* and it definitely won’t buy team work. I literally have zero interest in football but my late Dad would be over the moon at the changes over the last two years, so I take an interest on a purely business/team level haha! Got to start a convo with blokes in Newcastle some way right? 😉

  6. November 10th 2022 by David Wimblett

    Eddie, has a team that believes in their Dream. But, more than that, like in Invincible about Arsenal, he knows how to get the best from each player and, also, that each player knows how to get the best from each other.

  7. November 10th 2022 by John Sutherland

    I thought your email was for me only! A lifetime NUFC fan and my wife and I were the first the first couple to be married at St James, August 2000.
    You are so right about Eddie, his measured approach has paid off so well and we have the foundation built to progress further.
    I laugh at comments from fans of other clubs, they have all enjoyed the pleasure of seeing their team win trophies. Newcastle have not won a domestic trophy (FA cup/League cup/premier league) in my lifetime, and I’m 66!
    There will be a party to remember on Tyneside when the drought is over!

  8. November 10th 2022 by Michelle Child

    As a Forest fan I can see similarities with our (can you see what I did there?) experience under Steve Cooper. This time last year we were languishing at the bottom of the Championship. This year we are languishing at the bottom of the Premiership, with wins over West Ham and Liverpool in the league and Spurs last night in the Cup. Who would have thought that this time last year.

    I think the biggest thing I take for it is that building a great team takes (as a great man once said) a whole lot of patience and time (to do it right). Last year, and arguably this year, Steve Cooper has had to work with a group of players who weren’t necessarily his choice for the group, and mould them into a team. At least last year’s team knew each other by the time he joined.

    Success won’t come overnight, but with patience, and the willingness to embrace mistakes and learn from them, it can be achieved even in the most difficult circumstances.

  9. November 10th 2022 by David Lukey

    I’m absolutely loving what’s happening with Newcastle at the moment, and that’s as a Wolves fan. When the Saudi takeover happened, people were talking about Mbappe, Ronaldo, Neymar… and even as a non-Newcastle fan I thought, ‘Please don’t do that’! Any one of those players would have destroyed the dressing room and the wage structure. What the owners, and in particular Eddie Howe (I grew up in Poole and then lived in Bournemouth when Howe was manager) have done has been remarkable. Restraint, respect, structure, and hard work have been the key I think. Guimaraes, Almiron, Trippier, Burn, Joelinton in midfield, Pope, Wilson… have been a revelation under Howe. Not just that but local lads like Longstaff have been respected and given the coaching and then the chance to make their mark. The new owners made the perfect appointment in Eddie Howe, and now the fans are reaping the rewards with a team that encapsulates the ethos of their great head coach out on the pitch. Again, even as a non-Newcastle fan, I can only look on with envy and enjoy what I’m seeing.

  10. November 10th 2022 by Noel Wincote

    A team must work together to become one force, and that one force together should be able to overcome any adversary put before them, and one voice should be heard above the rest without drowning out or while listening to others then you will have a cohesive team.

  11. November 10th 2022 by Ms Annemarie Munro

    I am not really thinking football….I am thinking leadership and the importance of motivating and facilitating others – be that a football team, workplace colleagues or writers. I think the importance of your football context is that we can at least find potential leader role models on the pitch (or I believe the manager or coach of a team can be found shouting on the side-lines? Important – to be last is to be first, to be shouting from behind is to lead….) – there are scarce few role models for good leaders in, say, politics at the moment for example, or in my experience, in the workplace. I think the key reason many leaders fail is that they are too selfish: The reflection of themselves as managers in the mirror distorts their vision, focus and the point of being a leader – to lead OTHERS. Back to Newcastle United; what is happening? The manager is inspiring, passionate in a way that ignited passion in others, and facilitates a group ‘magic’. Once you have inspired a creative and positive community voices of doubt are drowned out and where there was one passionate manager, you now have many (11 12 – how many in a team?!) passionate voices. Give to others inspiration, confidence and worth and they multiply that exponentially….

  12. November 10th 2022 by IanW

    Roundabout Theory is key to giving children good habits and thereafter, as adults, these conditional structures should last. Sometimes managers need to re-inforce as adult players can be children too Roundabout Theory is more though .. it is instinct. Well done Eddie Howe. From ianWright ex pro sports coach ( 83.4 )

  13. November 10th 2022 by Sarah Levy

    As a Nottingham Forest fan, I know and feel your pain and yet I am old enough to also remember the good times. Brian Clough instilled a similar ethos. He also added a confidence and belief in his team that they should and could expect great things. I believe great leaders have humility and passion in varying degrees – Brian’s possibly 0% humility and 100% passion (there is always an exception to every rule) Congratulations to you ant the team as “we” forest fans are providing the foundations!!!
    “up the toon!”

  14. November 10th 2022 by M M Hart

    Not a fan of football but a real fan of great leadership. Not knowing Eddie Howe personally, I can only begin to imagine that he brings his team together by leading by example, showing integrity and honesty in his professional and personal life. Inspiring his team to be the best they can, listening to his team but also communicating a very strong and real vision. He is obviously passionate, confident, knowledgeable and knows his football….

  15. November 10th 2022 by Sally Burton-Pye

    So not into football but my beloved hubby supports Tottenham (I read while matches are on) and we watch England play together.
    I get that you are our Eddie and Write That Book group is the team – what a combination. XX

  16. November 10th 2022 by Mark Ollard

    Leadership and culture. Not always a simple matter, but the encouragement of involvement, cooperation are usually quoted to which I agree. I personally add team networking, breaking down necessary actions between team members to simple expected interactions, and the encouragement of initiative to cope with situations the network can’t respond to. Leadership speaks for itself. Teams need guidance, a direction, a policy. That’s just human nature.

  17. November 10th 2022 by Mr David Rogers

    There is a great interview with Eddie on The High Performance Podcast. Provides some great insight to what he learnt while away from the game and how he’s applied it at Newcastle. Seems to be going OK so far!

  18. November 10th 2022 by Helen

    At the end of the day, football or whatever, we all want to belong. A good leader (or author) creates that sense of belonging.

  19. November 10th 2022 by Jackie Winnell

    I love that analogy, it’s very clever.
    I think Eddie Howe has done a great job at NUFC but I think the departure of Mike Ashley has had a bigger impact on the positive mood of the club and the fans.
    So my take on the situation at NUFC is that in order to be happy, positive and heading for better things, what you really need to do is to either get rid of negative influences or ‘flip it’ and turn negatives into positives.

    No-one, not even Mystic Meg, can predict the future but what you/we can do is influence it with our thoughts and attitudes.

    NUFC fans wanted Ashley out, Bruce out, they booed them and players, the results were poor, their negativity infected the game.
    So why is it better now? Because, Ashley went. Bruce went. The fans were happy. Howe took over, players morale improved, the results improved. Voila!

    Now that is the power of the collective ‘we’.

  20. November 10th 2022 by Ruth McDonagh

    Great leaders generate passion that others can’t help but want to share and be a part of. When a team follows a shared passion hurdles can be overcome and great things can happen…this time next year Rodney Newcastle United maybe top of the Premier League…

  21. November 10th 2022 by Natasha Heslop

    Leaders inspire a team to do the very best with common goals.

  22. November 10th 2022 by Debra Murphy

    With a learning and development background, I have always emphasised to people that there is no I in team.

    Finding myself isolated due to that blasted covid closing my tearoom, I’ve suffered myself feeling that I am no longer part of a team and that I have to do everything and know everything.

    Joining the Write That Book challenge was a big thing for me to do. But it’s quite honestly the best thing I could ever do.

    Now I feel once again I am part of a team where I can share thoughts, ask for feedback and know that any comments are made with my best interest (or my book’s) at heart.

    Thank you for organising this and I’m looking forward to finding out about the masterclass.

  23. November 10th 2022 by Franciszek Bryszkiewski

    Totally agree I am a Leeds United fan but don’t think I am just saying this for brownie points but I do like Newcastle, and they deserve to be where they are. I watched Leeds United take me home and that’s what Bellissimo was doing he involved everyone in the club,wether it be the kit man or the cleaner, he treated everyone the same a part of the club a part of the team.

  24. November 10th 2022 by Paul Robertson

    Empathy, established as soon as you have the first gathering of the players either in the changing room before you go out for the first training session or on the training pitch as you explain what the session will entail. Listen to the players reactions and then be assertive and complete the session as layed out the players.
    The development of the we are all in this together strategy and what the players need to show improving performances immediately game by game.
    Emphasise the need to enjoy the winning feeling as it will builds the ‘we’ spirit and under pins the the importance of staying together in spirit and commitment to each other and their Club.
    I have been spoilt as a Liverpool supporters al my life and the Klopp years have seen the Club rejuvenated by him as he has given the club back to the supporters and the players are fully committed to him and the Club.
    Eddie Howe is patiently building a solid base for success but the ownership issue has temporarily faded only because of results and leadership of Eddie Howe and his team and there abilities to empathise with them and the supporters to create the ‘we’ factor.
    We’ll see if the Toon are above Liverpool at the end of the season
    and with current rumours are Liverpool to be in the same ownership?

  25. November 11th 2022 by Jane Parsons

    Hi Michael.
    Interesting issues you raise. I’m no fan of football but even I could feel pride and “belonging” when the women’s team won the cup. I could sense how much work had gone into creating that team, not just from the coach that led it but from every individual player who also bought into the dream.
    It’s the quality of the participation which counts. So I’m part of the 400 or so you have on the 2022 challenge, and we’re at day 5, and I’m still dithering on the touchline wondering if I really am part of this challenge or more of an onlooker. I’m not sure. I’ve tried to participate as much as I can, as you urge me to do, but sometimes it feels forced and unnatural, And I really really don’t like the divisiveness of prizes and who’s top of the league table of comments and all that stuff. I really appreciate the teaching, and I’m interested in what other people are doing, but I don’t feel I belong in any team.

  26. November 12th 2022 by joanna nightingale

    there is no I in team. the team is us and we. every one in the team needs to feel important and a valid member. thats what works. kind regards joanna

  27. November 12th 2022 by joanna nightingale

    there is no I in team, only us and we. every team member need to feel valid and important. thats when a team works and is successful

  28. November 14th 2022 by Phil

    Food for thought ……as always Michael ! Whatever the objective people have to feel valued and know that their contributions will make a positive contribution to the challenge no matter what that is… inch forward is still a movement in the right direction. Then its about encouragement and focus and celebrating success along the way

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