Joe Newell insists it was an easy decision to extend his Hibs stay to six years – despite initially thinking he’d never see six MONTHS in Leith.
The Easter Road fans’ favorite penned a new contract through to the summer of 2025 on Thursday.
But the midfielder revealed there was a time not long after he moved to Edinburgh under Paul Heckingbottom in 2019 that he thought he’d be on a swift return journey south.
It was a rough introduction to Scotland for Newell but three years on he admits nothing could drag him away – particularly after a heart-to-heart with the Scottish arm of his family .. pet dog Jude.
He said: “I’ll be six years here hopefully at the end of this deal, which wasn’t what I expected when I came here.
“When I first joined they offered me a three year deal and I only took a two because I wasn’t sure how it would work out.
“It was a fresh challenge. I thought I might not like it – and to be honest I didn’t like the first six months!
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“I just wasn’t playing very well to be honest. My first few months here were tough and I just didn’t settle.
“But Jack Ross came in and changed my position and since then it has been all rosey.
“Since then I have loved every minute. I could see myself staying here after I finish playing.
“My dog Jude is Scottish as well. I asked him and he didn’t want to leave!”
Newell admits he came close to leaving Easter Road in those first turbulent few months – only for the change of manager in November 2019 to spark a dramatic upturn.
He said: “Probably up until Paul Heckingbottom left, and definitely towards the end of his stay, I just wasn’t playing or enjoying it.
“Not that I hated the manager, he was a great bloke and a really good coach, but it just didn’t work out for him either.
“I was close (to leaving) and if it had stayed that way until January, I would have thought ‘it’s just not worked, let’s see other options’.”
Fast forward three seasons and Newell is now working under a third boss as Shaun Maloney looks to secure a top six spot ahead of the split starting today against Dundee United in Leith.
Newell has had his eyes opened by the new boss – and not just in a playing capacity as he looks to take the first steps towards a coaching career.
He said: “I have always liked the tactical side. I’m a bit of a football geek, really.
“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.
“I might cut the coaches some slack as well if I see it from their point of view!
“So it’s something I have thought I’d get involved in, I’m 29 now so if I get started this summer I can get the ball rolling.
“The manager had an amazing career playing wise and he’s a student of the game, very detailed.
“He had some resume before he came here to work with us. I’ve not picked his brains from him too much about De Bruyne and Hazard and guys like that but it is an achievement to get where he was.
Newell admits the season hasn’t been good enough from Hibs. He said: “To be in this position shows we haven’t been good enough.
“You want to win every game and we want to win Saturday, we know what is at stake in terms of top six and how many teams are fighting for it.”