Matt Ritchie says he’s more excited than his Geordie father-in-law about his £10 million move to Newcastle United from Bournemouth.
Ritchie was quickly sold on joining United given the stature of Newcastle and that Rafa Benitez is manager.
He lives down south, but he’s still got his accent. He’s a Newcastle fanMatt Ritchie
And his wife’s father John was particularly happy about the move – as he’s a Newcastle fan. “He lives down south, but he’s still got his accent,” said Ritchie.
“He’s got friends up here who are big Newcastle fans. He’s excited for the future.
“He’s a Newcastle fan.
“He’s not a season-ticket holder, but he’s always been a fan.”
Asked if his father-in-law was more excited than him about the move, Ritchie added: “I don’t think so!”
The pair spoke before Ritchie travelled to Tyneside last week to meet Benitez.
“He just said about the fans and how passionate they are,” said the 26-year-old, who helped Bournemouth win promotion from the Championship two seasons ago.
“I knew that anyway because I played here last season and as a kid growing up watching people like Shearer.
“I’ve always known that Newcastle’s a huge club.
“When I knew they were interested, it lit my eyes up. It was something I wanted to do.
“I loved my time at Bournemouth. It was very successful.
“But when a club like Newcastle comes calling, with the position it has and the manager, it was always going to be a difficult one to turn down.”
On United manager Benitez, Ritchie added: “He’s a massive draw.”