Almost eight weeks on, Newcastle United’s takeover by a group led by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has not had the immediate uplift hoped for at St James’ Park.
It may arrive soon but, ahead of a Premier League relegation six-pointer against fellow strugglers Norwich City on Tuesday, Newcastle are finding that – as in Saudi Arabia itself – change can be slow to come.
The Magpies will go into the fixture sitting bottom of the table and as the only team in England’s top four divisions yet to record a league win this season.
Initial optimism generated by the takeover, which has made the club one of the richest in world football, and the appointment of a new manager, Eddie Howe, has been replaced by a grim-faced recognition that Newcastle are in the thick of a battle.
“We’re aware how important these games are but I think it’s a dangerous thing to look too far ahead,” Howe said on Monday.
“The minute you start looking too far ahead, you can take your eye off the priorities. The priorities right now are the players and preparing them as best we can for the next game.
“We know it’s going to be a really tough game. We cannot underestimate Norwich in any way.
“Any Premier League game is incredibly tough to win so we know we’ll have to be at our very best.”
Newcastle are yet to settle into a new style of play in Howe’s two games in charge, a 3-3 draw with Brentford and Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal.
The former Bournemouth manager has previously favoured a back four, usually in a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 featuring attacking full-backs.
He used a back three against Brentford and a four against Arsenal, where the limitations of his first-choice full-backs Matt Ritchie and Emil Krafth were exposed.
More changes are likely when Norwich head to Tyneside, not least because Ritchie and centre-back Jamaal Lascelles are both suspended.
Norwich improvement offers Newcastle hope
It wasn’t so long ago that tonight’s visitors were propping up the Premier League after a nightmare return following their promotion.
Norwich lost their first six league games and managed just two points and two goals in their first nine, leading to the sacking of manager Daniel Farke.
Since then their fortunes have changed: they have taken seven points and scored five goals in their subsequent four matches.
Farke can take some of the credit – the first win, over Brentford earlier this month, came in his last game, although the decision on his future had already been made.
His replacement Dean Smith has continued the upward trajectory with another victory, over Southampton, and a draw with high-flying Wolves that might have gone their way too.
In a sign of their improvement, the Wolves game was the first this term in which Norwich had outperformed their opponents on the expected goals metric.
They also restricted Wolves to just five attempts at goal, the lowest number Norwich have recorded in the top flight since last century.
Regular watchers say Smith has focused first on shoring up a defence that has leaked 27 goals, with increased emphasis on tracking back from midfield.
“Our physical stats have been excellent since I’ve been here so we know we’re a match for anyone fitness-wise,” he said.
“Eddie’s a very good coach. He was the trailblazer for young English managers when he got Bournemouth into the Premier League.
“We want to go there and be tough to beat first and foremost, making sure that we don’t give big chances away.”
Other clubs to have changed managers, such as Aston Villa and Watford, have put some daylight between themselves and the relegation fight.
Norwich are the latest to pick up momentum. With another six-pointer against survival rivals Burnley up next, Newcastle could do with rediscovering that feel-good factor – and fast.