After what was a peculiar and different Christmas for us all, unfortunately for Newcastle United it was a more expected and regular festive period. Having drawn to ten man Fulham last Saturday, being knocked out of the Quarter Finals of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday to Championship team Brentford and yesterday’s slightly more predictable defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad. These three defeats in the last eight days wasn’t the present us fans were looking for but sadly expected.
Despite feeling low and feeling defeated when watching Newcastle and reacting to the emotion our performances bring, I saw this coming as soon as Steve Bruce was appointed back in July 2019. I’ve also steered away from writing about Steve Bruce since he arrived but I now can’t accept certain areas of the media and those in it casting such naive views on his performance. He must be the most popular man in the game as having listened to those on Sky Sports, Talksport and BT Sport talk about Rafa Benitez in such a negative way, you’d have thought Steve Bruce has just won us the treble. I also must add before we dissect his tenure at the club, those who compare him to Rafa may need to understand the sport better as it’s like comparing Sam Allardyce to Jose Mourinho. There are different styles when looking to play with a pragmatic approach and I’m afraid Steve Bruce is setting our team up in such a way that even certain players and fans would struggle with in League 1.
I fear Steve Bruce is now in that category of managers who can’t quite compete in this era of football. I won’t necessarily say it’s all older British managers, but we have not seen Mark Hughes, Tony Pullis, Alan Pardew etc. in the league for a while now and there is good reason. This may be the first season Sam Allardyce takes a team down because of it since being appointed West Broms Manager. I look at young coaches and the ethos they’ve projected in their players where it’s enthusiasm, excitement and pedal to the metal every game. The Premier League is now all about intensity, high block press and width. What we are seeing with Newcastle is a rigid old school approach where we’ve even gone 4-4-2 which unless your Burnley, it’s not going to work. For someone like me who play’s mickey mouse Saturday morning stuff, even I knew when we played a good attacking team like Brighton earlier this season we would lose before the ball was even kicked due to both formations being set out, we lost the fixture 3-0 at home….
Since Steve Bruce has come in he’s had finances to support him, but unfortunately player recruitment and tactics haven’t been good enough to watch. We’ve had VAR calls go our way and teams we’ve played against struggle with injuries. He’s been incredibly lucky in that respect, but unlucky with the city’s backing and I believe when fans are against your position that much it’s time for a change which I think is needed urgently. We need a new image and playing direction if Mike Ashley is still to be our owner for the next few years which seems to be the case. We now need a young coach to drive us with a different playing style and I don’t see any better fit other than Steven Gerrard to replace him and put his managerial stamp on the Premier League before he goes for his dream job at Anfield. It’s all well and good surviving in the League but football is now all about entertainment, as teams such as Leeds and Southampton have shown. Newcastle fans will accept being mid-table now due to current ownership, but will not accept the performances we’ve given especially against teams in the bottom half. We have a much better squad now than what we had a few years ago and I fear these players have lost the edge and enthusiasm to play under him. For those who say we don’t have the personnel to play with positivity and ambition may just need to have another look at Saint-Maximin, Almiron, Wilson and Fraser.
Steve Bruce is now in a position where the fans want him out of his beloved club but will continue to be backed by the board and media. So I’m afraid to say I don’t think we’ll be seeing a new Newcastle United anytime soon……..
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