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Eddie Newton explains Chelsea departure

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The long-time Chelsea player and coach joined Trabzonspor last month

Chelsea Pre-Season Tour to Japan - Day 5
Three legends, with Newton in the middle, during preseason in Japan
Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Eddie Newton is a Chelsea Football Club legend, one “held in the utmost respect” by the organization. He spans the modern era at Stamford Bridge, first as a player, then as a coach.

But a couple weeks ago, he left the club (for the second time, first since retiring as a player), joining Trabzonspor as assistant manager. The Turkish Süper Lig side reportedly head-hunted him to join newly appointed Hüseyin Çimşir’s staff, and apparently would’ve done so even without Mikel John Obi and Daniel Sturridge already on the team.

While Newton’s surprise departure and relative lack of visible first-team involvement as part of Frank Lampard’s coaching staff has been spun into some negative headlines and reporting — including the latest from The “Tariq Lamptey has signed a new Chelsea contract” Athletic — Newton’s own farewell post on Instagram sheds some actual light on the situation.

“Today I’m writing this message with mixed emotions, I’m leaving Chelsea for a new venture which leaves me in a state of sadness and excitement.

“Sadness because I’m leaving the club where I have lived most of my life, you have taught me how to become a player, a coach and a man.

“I would like to thank everyone at Chelsea the board, all the staff for your support in helping me develop over the years, also to the players and fans you have all become my second family to me and I will never forget all the great memories that we have created and shared together. However I have been offered a fantastic opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. Opportunities like this come very rarely and I feel it’s time that I test my self in another environment.

“Excited because of my new venture in Turkey with Trabzonspor, this is truly a club with intelligent ambition to build the club structures, not only for the immediate future but beyond, this is an exciting time for Trabzonspor, I believe timing is everything in life and I believe this is a great time to be joining this club and I am looking forward to the challenge of the Super Lig along side Hüseyin Çimşir.”

-Eddie Newton; source: Instagram

While Newton’s involvement was quite clearly less than any one of the main trio of coaches working with Lampard — Jody Morris, Joe Edwards, Chris Jones — and his previous role had been filled by Carlo Cudicini thus making him seem somewhat of a lost soul, it also sounds like he’s very much looking forward to fulfilling his own personal ambitions in football management. At the same time, he knows that his ambitions are much more important than that as well.

“I keep working and I know I’m good enough. I think it’s getting harder and harder for me to be a number two because I know I want to be a number one.”

“When I was growing up as a player – how many black coaches did I see? Now you’re starting to see more and it’s good. People are making the effort and they are pushing it, because when I was first in coaching, the thing that black coaches used to say was ‘what’s the worth?’ But I always said if Jesse Owens had turned around and said that, where would we be?

“Someone’s got to break the cycle.”

-Eddie Newton, March 2017; source: Kick It Out

Newton first joined Chelsea at age 13, just four years after Paul Canoville became the first black player to ever play for Chelsea, breaking that cycle. Born in Hammersmith, the local kid would go on to make over 200 first-team appearances in an injury-shortened career, winning four Cups, two domestic, two European, in the mid-to-late ‘90s, at a time when winning was not quite synonymous yet with the Blues.

He then returned as assistant manager for Roberto Di Matteo, adding two more trophies, one domestic, one European in 2012, including the Champions League. He’s moved between various roles at the club since, including Academy coach, first-team coach, and loanee liaison (a role he himself “built from scratch”).

Now, he’s ready for that next step to get him closer to the future he’s been hinting at for the last three years.

“If I become a number one, that’s the first question I’ll be asking myself — can I do it? But if you don’t put yourself in there, you’ll never know.”

“I’m ready to go— I’ve got more experience that most managers in the league. So I’m more than ready. I’m tactically ready, I know how to prepare a team physically. I’ve travelled to Spain and Germany, I’ve been all over Europe and experienced more than most managers have because most only know the English leagues.

“My understanding of recruitment will be a lot broader and I’ll know the markets that you can tap into and how to build a squad. And obviously, if I ever become a manager… I’ve got the perfect place to come and get loans from!”

-Eddie Newton, March 2017; source: Kick It Out

Chelsea’s farewell to Eddie says he’s always welcome back at Stamford Bridge, and that’s certainly the least we could do for him.

Best of luck in Turkey, Eddie, and g’wan the Trabzonspors!

(They have recorded two wins from two since his official appointment, though the first one of those has become more known for the racial abuse directed at Mikel. The second one was 5-0 win in the first leg of the Turkish Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday, keeping the team on track for a domestic double.)