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Garth Crooks stark verdict ‘Newcastle look absolutely rudderless’

4 weeks ago
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Garth Crooks previously claimed that Rafa Benitez could be capable of winning the Premier League with Newcastle, if given proper backing…

After Saturday’s debacle at newly promoted Norwich who have hardly spent a penny this summer, Newcastle fans are wondering if this team are even capable of winning a game under  Steve Bruce.

Early days of course and anything is possible in football BUT the warning  signs are there.

Indeed Garth Crooks had a warning back in May after the thrilling game where Liverpool just edged out Newcastle….

“The chant said it all from the Newcastle fans – ‘Rafa Benitez, we want you to stay’.

“That team is nothing without Rafa’s leadership and inspiration.

“The quicker owner Mike Ashley can conclude contract talks with Benitez, the better for all concerned.”

As we now all know, Mike Ashley had no intention of even trying to keep Rafa Benitez at the club, instead the NUFC owner desperate to revert to a stooge/patsy, in the shape of another Pardew, Carver, McClaren.

Newcastle were up against a seriously weakened Arsenal side eight days ago and the visiting keeper had no serious save to make. Steve Bruce’s team had done ok in the first half but fell apart after the break once the head coach started to make changes.

After that defeat to Arsenal, Garth Crooks reminded/warned Newcastle fans and neutrals of the situation facing NUFC:

“I did tell you Rafael Benitez would leave if the owner could not match his ambitions.

“Now he’s left, the Magpies are up the creek without a paddle.

“Good luck with that.”

Not surprisingly, Teemu Pukki has made the Garth Crooks PL team of the week, after the free transfer striker tormented Newcastle, the defence looking a shambles now Rafa Benitez has been forced out.

A week ago Crooks said that with Steve Bruce replacing Rafa Benitez it had left ‘The Magpies up the creek without a paddle’…with the BBC Sport pundit now following that up with: ‘It’s only the second weekend of the Premier League season and Newcastle look absolutely rudderless.’

Rudderless and up the creek without a paddle…Newcastle fans in the away end on Saturday had a few other descriptions of what they were watching and after issues with trains made this difficult trip even more of a grind, to watch that rubbish after spending the time and money, it does really test you as a supporter.

Steve Bruce then called the players in for training on Sunday instead of their planned day off, after first declaring he couldn’t question the desire of the players on Saturday before then later…questioning the desire of the players.

No team has a divine right to win matches and of course as clowns such as Tony Cascarino are reminding us, Rafa Benitez himself didn’t win any of the first 10 (11 if you include League Cup loss to Forest) games last season.

However, fans trusted Rafa and knew there was nobody stood a better chance of steering us to safety than the Spaniard, based on his stellar CV and his work at Newcastle already.

With Steve Bruce, supporters were gobsmacked from the start that he got the job and if he doesn’t find the rudder and/or paddle soon, we will continue on what for many feels like and inevitable Titanic-like collision course, just as was the case with Steve McClaren.

Garth Crooks talking to BBC Sport after selecting yesterday’s match winner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in his Premier League team of the week:

“Teemu Pukki: Anyone who scores a hat-trick in the Premier League deserves high praise and Teemu Pukki’s efforts against Newcastle entitled him to nothing less.

“However, I said last week, in the Crooks of the Matter, that the departure of Rafael Benitez from St James’ Park left the Magpies up the creek without a paddle.

“It’s only the second weekend of the Premier League season and Newcastle look absolutely rudderless.

“Did you know? Pukki is the first player to score as many as four goals in his first two Premier League appearances.”

Garth Crooks Premier League team of the week:

Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester)

Joel Matip (Liverpool)

Jack O’Connell (Sheff Utd)

Dani Ceballos (Arsenal)

Kevin de Bruyne (Man City)

James Maddison (Leicester)

Bernard (Everton)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

Teemu Pukki (Norwich)

Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

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