On July 1st 2016, Newcastle United announced that they had signed Matt Ritchie from AFC Bournemouth for a reported £12 million.
The Magpies were still getting over the heartbreak of suffering relegation to the Championship in the summer of 2016, but Rafa Benitez managed to lift the mood massively as he welcomed the Scotland international to the club.
Indeed, loads of supporters were over the moon with the club’s decision to bring Matt Ritchie to St James’ Park, as they took to Twitter to express their delight over the announcement.
— David Renwick (@david_renwick) 1 July 2016
— Matthew Pastore (@mpastore8) July 1, 2016
— markj (@mjmark1970) July 1, 2016
What a day for us! Can’t wait for the season now
— Mitch (@Mitch_GB_17) 1 July 2016
— Ben Hughes (@BenHughesKIO) July 1, 2016
I think I'm in love
— Alistair Turner (@aalistairturner) July 1, 2016
Newcastle United shocked everyone when they secured the services of Ritchie as he decided to leave the Premier League to help Newcastle fight their way towards securing promotion from the Championship.
The Scotsman made a name for himself as a penalty specialist during his first season at the club as he managed to score all five of the penalties that were presented to him in all competitions. Ritchie was one of the Magpies’ main promotion ingredients in the Championship as he managed to produce an eye-catching 16 goals and 10 assists, in what was an outstanding season for everyone involved at Newcastle Football Club.
Of course, the step up in class was always going to have an effect on Ritchie with Newcastle facing up against tougher opposition in the Premier League, but he managed to keep his cool and still provided a healthy three goals and six assists. Indeed, the 29-year-old has had to adjust slightly under Rafa Benitez after his burst of goals and assists in the Championship, but it’s safe to say that things are still working out for him.
Many fans may have thought that Ritchie dropping to left wing-back would spell disaster in the current campaign, but it’s safe to say that he’s proved almost everyone wrong at St James’ Park, with the odd goal and assist still being produced, as well as defensive solidity being ensured.
So, it’s safe to say that the club made a great decision to capture the services of Ritchie back in 2016 as he continues to reward the fans and the club for putting their faith in him.
Newcastle fans, how would you rank Ritchie in terms of your better signings of the club’s modern era? Surely he has to be up there…