JON NEWSOME was an integral part of Leeds United’s 1992 championship winning team; making ten appearances and scoring vital goals against Tottenham and Sheffield United. Jon made 87 appearances in total for the Whites before becoming Norwich City’s first £1m signing in 1994. He started and ended his career at Sheffield Wednesday. Jon is now a football agent.
You still seem to be popular with fans from all your old clubs Jon. Any regrets about your playing career aside from having to finish at the age of 29?
No, no regrets really apart from having to retire early through injury as you say.
Can you tell us how the move from Sheff Wed to Leeds United came about?
I had played a handful of games in the first team at Sheff Wed at the start of my first year as a pro but then wasn’t involved for the remaining season and the following season until the final game. My contract was up and I just wanted to play first team football, somewhere, at whatever level so I turned my contract offer down. Mick Hennigan saw a small piece in the Sheffield Star and contacted me immediately. I travelled up to Leeds the following day to meet with them and pretty much signed straight away.
You joined Leeds the same time as David Weatherall and you both were expected to forge a centre-half partnership for the future. Were you good friends before coming and do you keep in touch?
We were teammates but not ‘good friends’ as such. We got on with each other fine and I felt we played well together. We don’t keep in touch but I believe he is involved with the Football League?
How many players did Howard Wilkinson try and get from Sheff Wed as quite a few former Owls joined in his time at Leeds?
After I had agreed to sign Howard asked me if any of the other young pro’s at Sheff Wed hadn’t signed. There were a number who hadn’t and he turned to Mick Hennigan and said, “Go get the lot of them!” I wasn’t allowed to let anyone know that I had signed for Leeds and it wasn’t until two weeks later that the news broke that me and Dave Weatherall had signed.
Would you say Wilkinson is up there as one of the best managers of his generation as a lot of things he did were way ahead of time?
Mel Sterland got injured in the run-in towards the end of the 91/92 season and you took his place. Were you daunted by this at all as full-back wasn’t your natural position?
At the time I was just delighted to be involved to be honest. I was happy to play there and the fact that the team was doing so well and there were such good players in the team helped considerably.
You played alongside some big characters at Leeds in your time. Who stood out for you whilst you were there?
There were some very big characters at the club but it was also one of, if not the best, dressing rooms that I was involved with. Gordon Strachan was brilliant. His work ethic and dedication was an example to us all as well as being an incredible player. Obviously, the midfield four of Batty, Speed, McAllister and Strachan were outstanding but everyone was on a level at the club......it was a fabulous group of players.
Eric Cantona? Were mistakes made in not keeping him or was it right for him to go?
He had fallen out with the manager and it was only going to end one way after that.
You moved three times in your career. Any stories on managers you worked under that’s printable Jon?
Ha-ha, where do I start!! I played under a number of managers in my time and some of the stuff that goes on at football clubs is beyond belief at times!
You were Norwich City’s first million pound signing in July 1994 when you left Leeds. Did this put any added pressure on you?
I actually really enjoyed the responsibility that was placed upon me at Norwich. The price tag didn’t really bother me as such but I knew that I had to deliver. I felt I probably played my best football at Norwich and was really pleased how I settled in down there.
You managed Gresley Rovers in 2002 and finished 6th in your first season. Did you enjoy being a manager?
Yes, I loved it and ideally wanted it to be the start of a career in football. Unfortunately due to family and personal circumstances I had to give it up after a year at Gresley and it is only recently that I have been able to become involved in he game again, which I am thoroughly enjoying.
Your old clubs Leeds and Norwich are probably the surprise teams (along with Sheff Utd) this season. Why do you think the relegated sides haven’t pushed strongly for the automatic spots as usual?
Many reasons really but relegation can be really difficult to handle and deal with as a player. With it comes a hangover of disappointment and I think that can continue into the following season. I also think the relegated sides are low on confidence and have usually lost one or two of their influential players. It really is a big ask to hit the ground running from the first game following relegation.
What are your thoughts on Marcelo Bielsa and Daniel Farke. Also, is Steve Bruce the right man for Sheff Wed?
I think both Bielsa and Farke have done amazing jobs at their respective clubs. They are two completely different individuals but have got both teams playing some excellent football this season.
As for Steve Bruce, I think he was the perfect choice for Sheff Wed and he has made an excellent start. The club has a massive rebuilding job on its hands this summer but I feel he is definitely the right man for the job.
What are your thoughts on the current centre-back partnership at Leeds of Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper. Who would you have preferred as your partner?
They ‘re a good partnership....I think with Phillips sat in front of them it works well and lets the full backs bomb forward.
We’ve been involved, as a football club and through the Leeds United Supporters' Trust, with the Foodbanks this season. What are your feelings on this; ordinary families resorting to Foodbanks due to financial difficulties?
As a country, I find it totally unacceptable that this occurs....it simply should not be happening in this day and age.
What are your opinions on ‘Safe Standing’ and do you think it should be brought back to all grounds so people can make a choice to sit or stand. This with the knowledge of your own personal experience at Hillsborough in 1989?
I’ll pass on this question....
What do you think about all the football on TV these days. You only must press a red button it seems now to see a live game?
Yes, I think there are too many live games on TV now.....especially the red button scenario
Which current player excites you now. Someone who makes you take notice and watch?
Apart from the obvious...i.e. Lionel Messi????
How is life as a football agent and is it easier after being a player yourself?
I have only just recently started back in and around football and the role of an agent. I do think it helps being an ex player, especially with younger players and their families who sometimes need help making the right career decisions. I am thoroughly enjoying being back involved and am working on growing the business and players.
Lastly Jon, will Leeds & Norwich be Premier League clubs in 2019/20?
I sincerely hope so, yes!!