Eddie Howe was in attendance alongside the owners of Newcastle United for their Premier League match against Brighton on Saturday.
Howe has been one of the frontrunners to take the Newcastle job, which has been vacant since their separation from Steve Bruce. Graeme Jones has been in caretaker charge for three matches, most recently against Brighton.
But the man who could succeed him on a permanent basis was also in the stands. Howe was seen sitting next to Amanda Staveley, who was the driving force behind the consortium that took over the ownership of Newcastle last month.
Staveley and her fellow board members are yet to settle on the ideal replacement for Bruce. But they recently narrowed their search down to a shortlist of two.
Unai Emery was in contention alongside Howe, but the Villarreal boss rejected the opportunity to take charge. It has left Howe as the last man standing in the race to replace Bruce.
But even in his case, some doubts were beginning to emerge. Any announcement of his appointment is said to have been delayed due to issues about his backroom staff and the length of his contract.
It could have sent Newcastle back to square one, but Howe’s attendance alongside Staveley at the Brighton game suggests a positive conclusion could yet be nearer than some were expecting.
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Howe has been out of work since leaving Bournemouth following their relegation from the Premier League in 2020.
His stint on the South Coast was successful; he lifted the club he used to play for from League One to the top flight and kept them up there for five seasons.
He won the Premier League manager of the month award on three separate occasions during his tenure at the Vitality Stadium.
Howe watches Newcastle draw with Brighton
If he is to take the job, he will have learned a lot from seeing his potential new side in the flesh.
Newcastle went behind to Brighton after VAR awarded the hosts a penalty, which Leandro Trossard won and converted.
But Isaac Hayden struck back for the Magpies after the break with a clean strike.
And they were given a late boost when Callum Wilson was brought down by the onrushing Brighton keeper Robert Sanchez, who was sent off after a VAR check. Defender Lewis Dunk had to go in goal with all the subs used up.
But it was too late for the man advantage to have a major impact and the big chance that would have awaited Wilson had been taken away. Ultimately, it finished 1-1.
Newcastle were outperformed in most statistical departments though and their new boss will have lots to work on.
They remain winless and in the relegation zone after 11 games of the Premier League season.