'Football geek' Joe Newell eyeing up Hibs future beyond playing days

When he first signed for Hibs, Joe Newell thought that a two-year deal would be more than enough. Six months in and he was beginning to believe that a year would be a stretch.

But, having just signed a contract extension until 2025, he is eyeing up his longest spell at any club and making plans that could see him hanging around even longer, as a player and then a coach.

“I was at Peterborough from 16 to 22 but two of those years were in the youth team. But it’ll be six years here at the end of this deal. That wasn’t what I expected when I came here,” confesses the influential midfielder, who recognises the importance of this afternoon’s match against Dundee United, with several teams all vying for a place in the top six.

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“Honestly, when I first joined they offered me a three year deal but I only took two years because I wasn’t sure how it would work out.

Joe Newell has signed a new contract with Hibs - and is eyeing a move into coaching. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
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“It was a fresh challenge, I thought I might not like it, and, to be honest, I didn’t like the first six months! So I could easily have gone back.

“But since then I have loved every minute. I can see myself staying here after I finish playing,” added the player whose only goal this term came against Tam Courts’ side.

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Signed by Paul Heckingbottom, he struggled for form and to hold down a place in the team and was ready to ditch it and head back to England until Jack Ross arrived and turned things around.

Swapping a wide berth for a central midfield role, his value to the team was re-emphasised during his recent injury absence, but he says, having agreed a new deal a year ago, the latest extension was unexpected.

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“I’m not on his level but Boyley was getting new deals every two minutes when he was here! So it was nice. But, when the gaffer pulled me in I was a bit surprised.

“It’s good, it shows the club has a lot of faith in me and I really do appreciate it.”

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With the next few seasons taken care of, Newell is looking to the future. Aged 29, he will embark on his first coaching journey this summer, taking a lead from the likes of former captain David Gray, who is now part of Hibs’ first team coaching set-up

“I’ve always been in football and I have always liked that side of the game as well, the tactical side. I’m a bit of a football geek, really.

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“It has always appealed to me, and it does more and more when you think about what happens after. I’ve also read that it really helps your game as a player when you do your badges, you see it from different angles so I might cut the coaches some slack as well if I see it from their point of view!”

He isn’t the only squad member currently gathering the necessary qualifications, leading to an interesting proposition.

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“I’d love to get involved, although hopefully not for a while yet. But you could see a situation in the next five years when the coaching staff could be the players who are playing now!”

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