Trabzonspor of Turkey’s new head coach, Edward John Ikem Newton has received quite a heart-warming congratulatory message from ex-Super Eagles’ defender and former Chelsea of England technical director, Michael Emenalo, following the former’s victory in the Turkish Cup final.
The London-born Newton got his first title as a main coach when he led Trabzonspor to beat Aytemiz Alanyaspor 2-0 on Wednesday evening, in what was only his second game after taking over in full charge of the Trabzon-based side, and Emenalo agrees that it was no mean feat.
Trabzonspor pulled off the historic achievement without their only remaining Nigerian player, Anthony Nwakaeme, who was left in the stands and looking on, as goals from Abdulkadir Omur and Alexander Soerloth gave Newton his first major trophy as manager of a club in Europe.
The 48-year-old Newton, who was initially appointed to serve as Trabzonspor’s assistant manager in February, took over as caretaker coach from Hüseyin Çimşir during the second half of the season, after they missed the Turkish Super Lig title to Azubuike Okechukwu’s Istanbul Basaksehir.
He settled down pretty fast then ensured that Trabzonspor won their first trophy in a decade by defeating Alanyaspor at Atatürk Olympic Stadium and the club that recently let go the Nigerian duo of Eddie Ogenyi Onazi and John Mikel Obi in January and March respectively have now add the Turkish FA Cup to their honours’ list; while Newton improves his personal medals’ collection.
Trabzonspor have now won the Turkish Cup nine times, after The Black Sea outfit got it in 1977, 1978, 1984, 1992, 1995, 2003, 2004, and 2010; but the officials are yet to confirm whether they will retain Newton next season; giving a first full-time managerial job to the man who was an assistant at Chelsea when they won the UEFA Champions League and English FA Cup in 2012.
Those are the fond memories Emenalo has now recalled, as he recounted how he and Newton worked together at Stamford Bridge for five years, after which the former Rangers of Enugu and Notts County of England left-back, who starred for Nigeria at USA ’94 World Cup, moved to AS Monaco of France as sporting director in 2017, while the former assistant coach went to Turkey.
On his arrival in Turkey, the former Chelsea midfielder spent some time working behind the scenes before he was appointed as Trabzonspor’s assistant manager in February and, just five months later, he has now won a major title as a head coach, much to the delight of Emenalo, who described Newton as a special talent and congratulated him for a job well done.
Emenalo, who is still unemployed after his departure from Monaco in 2019, posted on social media: “Congratulations to @eddienewton24 who has just won the Turkish Cup as Head Coach for @trabzonspor. For those of us who know you and your work it’s just a confirmation of your hard work and special talent as a coach. Well done! #champion #winner #greathumanbeing”
Newton responded with modesty, even as he highlighted variations between winning the FA Cup in Turkey and all the honours he won during his time at Chelsea, as he added: “It was great to win a trophy, I was a bit fortunate enough to be an assistant at clubs where we won things. This is my first one as the head coach so it is a little bit different.
“I thank everyone; everyone at Trabzonspor gave me fantastic support. The players were fantastic, they listened to everything that I wanted and they gave everything. The fans have been fantastic supporting me. I am very, very happy.”