“He’s a local lad he’ll be perfect for the job.”
“He has Premier League experience and knows how to keep a side up and out of relegation.”
“Rafa never beat any of the top 6 away. Here’s Bruce doing it on his first try.”
Rafa Benitez’s departure from Newcastle United was universally panned by the world of football. That’s a fact. A man who has won the Champions League, got the side promoted as Champions of the Championship, kept them up after a horrendous start to the 18/19 season, and defeated 5 of the Premier League’s top 6 at St James’ Park. For many, he’ll be another one that got away…
And the subsequent appointment of Corbridge-born ‘Local Lad’ Steve Bruce was met with a mixed response. He had spent the past season doing a subpar job in the Championship with Sheffield Wednesday. To me, this was an appointment on the levels of Steve McClaren: how had either man waltzed into this job at one of the biggest clubs in the Country?
Yet, people bought into it early on. Like the monthly leaks of a supposed takeover of the club, the fanbase bought into the ‘Local Lad=Good’ propaganda put forth by the club. Like Manchester United’s appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the sacking of Champions League winner Jose Mourinho, the sentimental value of the appointment greatly exceeded that of the practicality and actual quality of the appointment.
All it needed was Bruce playing a piano to announce his arrival to make this appointment seem like any more of a joke. Meanwhile Mike Ashley fiddled as Newcastle burned. He had survived the scary response to Benitez’s departure, and 50,000 people still attended St James’ Park for the opening fixture against Arsenal. Boycott? I ask what boycott is there when we reach near maximum capacity for a top 6 game.
The pundits and die-hard Bruce fans will tell anyone that Bruce’s first 7 games were better than Rafa’s first 7 games last season. Bruce’s United had secured a win against Tottenham (not hard given their current state) and vital points against relegation rivals like Watford and Brighton. Whilst Rafa’s first win didn’t come until November 2018 in game week 10. Of course, they’ll neglect to tell you Rafa’s side played literally every Premier League Champion in those games, whilst Bruce’s side were outclassed against a travelling Brighton and were completely whitewashed 5-0 by Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester.
This should have been the final nail in the coffin for Bruce’s run as manager. It takes a special manager of the only the highest calibre should be surviving such a monumental defeat. Alas, Bruce is seen as that prestigious by Mike Ashley, Lee Charnley and Co.
With a crunch game against the aforementioned Man United this weekend, defeat for either side should likely spell the end of either Bruce or OGS’s managerial tenures.
Newcastle’s current run of bad form could not come at a worse time. At a time where promoted sides like Norwich and Sheffield United are impressing week after week. At a time where Salomon Rondon is scoring more for Dalian Yifang than Joelinton is for the Mags, and Ayoze Perez sits 3rd in the Premiership with Leicester. At a time where Bruce is testing new, unproven tactics in direct opposition to the successful 5 at-the-back which the players have openly and publicly supported. At a time where Allain Saint-Maximin, Fabian Schar, Andy Carroll, and Matt Ritchie are all facing a lack of match fitness or key injury concerns.
Whether before, during, or after the Manchester United game. I know my stance on the manager at Newcastle United will not change. I, surely like many other supporters of the club, cannot willingly back a manager who has lost his players and already seems defeated and consigning the club to inevitable relegation.
We may tirelessly but hopelessly chant for the “Fat Cockney Bastard” to get out of our club (in the process getting constant “The Newcastle fans deserve better than Mike Ashley” from pundits and mutual fans).
We may threaten a boycott and applaud those not attending. But 44,000 supporters is still an incredibly large number that eclipses many in the Premier League.
We may clamour around and back three unproven Premier League strikers in Joelinton, Yoshinori Muto, and a past-his-prime Andy Carroll. But we really shouldn’t when our 3 main strikers have 1 goal between them in 630 minutes of football.
If this club is to even contemplate Premier League survival in the current season. The first step that should be made shouldn’t have been done last week. Nor in the last fortnight. Nor even after Teemu Pukki had a party at our expense at Carrow Road.
It should never have happened in the first place.
Steve Bruce must leave Newcastle United Football Club. Plain and simple.