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Opinion

Jamie Carragher seeing an imaginary enemy when attacking Newcastle fans over Steve Bruce?

3 weeks ago
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Jamie Carragher has been making his mouth go about Newcastle United.

The player turned pundit having a go at Newcastle fans because of how they have (supposedly) treated Steve Bruce.

In his piece for The Telegraph, Carragher does make the point that the big villain is Mike Ashley. Which is of course true.

However, is Jamie Carragher correct to go so full-on with his criticism of Newcastle fans for what he perceives to be their reaction so far, since Steve Bruce’s appointment?

Or is the reality that the former Liverpool player is getting hot and bothered over an enemy that doesn’t actually exist?

Yes Newcastle fans are quite rightly gutted that they have ended up with a head coach (not manager…) that no other Premier League club would have appointed…but where are all the protests against Rafa’s replacement?

There has been no barracking of Steve Bruce at matches, no organised protests, no banners, no demands from fans at games for him to be sacked.

When you look at the disgraceful way Liverpool fans went on when Roy Hodgson got the job at Anfield as Rafa’s replacement, why should Newcastle fans be singled out for not being happy with such an uninspiring appointment?

There was a massive backlash from Liverpool fans against Hodgson’s appointment, despite a CV that was country miles better than Steve Bruce’s is after over 20 years in management. Hodgson had guided Fulham to sixth and then they only lost in extra time when reaching the Europa League final, having beaten the likes of Juventus on the way.

Hodgson had taken Blackburn to sixth in the Premier League and European football, whilst he had managed in numerous countries for both club and national sides. He took over at Inter Milan during the 1995/96 season when they were bottom of Serie A and they ended up finishing seventh and getting into Europe, then the next season got them up to third.

After getting Fulham to top seven and then the final of the Europa League, his CV was excellent at the time he got the Liverpool job.

Look at Chelsea fans and the disgusting way they went on when Rafa Benitez got the job, whilst after being such a brilliant manager and making their club what it is in the modern era, look how disgraceful Arsenal fans were in their treatment of Arsene Wenger.

Jamie Carragher in trying to back up his claims of Newcastle fans being unreasonable, states: ‘When you look at social media it feels like some fans want their team to lose to prove them right.’

Any journalist or pundit using ‘some’ comments from social media to back up any argument is ridiculous. You can use social media comments to back up any argument you want to make! Certain general football websites publish articles after every round of Premier League matches, which pick out a player from every single PL team, using over the top Twitter comments slagging the player off for having a supposed bad game.

Newcastle fans are continuing to discuss/debate the Steve Bruce appointment and continue to see it in such negative terms because his CV says Bruce isn’t very good as a manager/head coach and because he has been willing to take the job on the same terms as Carver, Pardew and McClaren – with no say on anything important such as transfers.

Steve Bruce also hasn’t helped by making so many untrue/impossible to back up comments since getting the job. Claiming he has chosen signings that even Ashley and Charnley say were arranged long before Bruce’s arrival. The Head Coach repeatedly said that his Newcastle team would be playing on the ‘front foot’ but instead they have averaged only 32% in the four games so far scoring three goals and only managing a few other decent efforts on target.

He promised that everything would be thrown at the cups and yet made seven changes for Leicester, Bruce left out pretty much all the key players. Bruce said he’d had more spent in a week at Newcastle than in all of his previous career, yet a quick check showed that even just at Sunderland far more had been spent when he was manager, than NUFC spent this summer.

Jamie Carragher says about Newcastle fans wanting Steve Bruce to lose games to prove them right. Even the fans organising the boycott, put out a statement ahead of Arsenal wishing the head coach and players well. A small number of Newcastle fans do want the team to lose BUT only because they think this is the only way Mike Ashley will ever sell the club not to prove a point about Steve Bruce.

Rather bizarrely to try and win his argument that Newcastle fans are being so unfair/unreasonable, Carragher even tries to claim that Rafa Benitez’ main motivation was his salary. ‘He left for a mega deal in China with supporters directing their fury at the board for not blinking in contract talks.’

Mike Ashley had treated Rafa Benitez abysmally ever since the very first transfer window, leaving the team underfunded and doing nothing at all to convince Rafa to stay. In fact, Ashley did the very opposite of bending towards Rafa, instead he said that if Benitez stayed he would have less power and wouldn’t be able to select his own transfer targets.

Jamie Carragher adds: ‘All Bruce has heard since he was appointed is a section of his own supporters looking ahead to the inevitable divorce.’

Newcastle fans actually fear who might come next, rather than ‘looking ahead’ to Steve Bruce leaving.

Newcastle fans are simply ambivalent over Bruce’s appointment. Just like signing players, with managers/head coaches you look at what they have achieved previously and their general/recent profile. Fans were right behind Rafa and Keegan straight away, whilst they quickly got behind Chris Hughton once his first season kicked off. However, when the likes of JFK, Carver and McClaren were appointed, supporters just shook their heads in disbelief.

So Jamie Carragher, just like fans of every other club we make decisions based on what we can see and what we know. The Newcastle fanbase has its extremes just like any other but there is no organised campaign or protests against him, there is no BruceOut website pushing for him to go.

Extracts from Jamie Carragher speaking to The Telegraph:

Steve Bruce may never be Rafa Benitez’s equal at Newcastle but criticism of him is disgraceful

‘He left for a mega deal in China with supporters directing their fury at the board for not blinking in contract talks. That is the power of a reputation.’

‘I have sympathy for Newcastle fans who want and demand more for their club.’

‘But some of the criticism aimed at Bruce since he joined is disgraceful. I read elements of the coverage of the Carabao Cup exit to Leicester City – an unlucky defeat on penalties against a superior Premier League side – and its tone was far more negative than when Newcastle lost to Nottingham Forest in the same round a year ago. When you look at social media it feels like some fans want their team to lose to prove them right.’

‘That does not mean we should entirely dismiss the possibility Bruce can not perform well. The bar is not set amazingly high. Benitez did a good job, not an extraordinary one.

What exactly is Bruce following? The target for the last two seasons has been to keep Newcastle in the Premier League. They did so finishing 10th and 13th but they were in the bottom three at the halfway stage in both those campaigns so let’s not pretend it was anything more than a relegation fight.’

‘Set aside the recent history of Newcastle, the loathing of Ashley and the despair at Benitez’s departure, and it seems those supporters directing vitriol at Bruce before he has been given a fair crack at the job are shooting the wrong target.

Bruce’s overall management record deserves respect. Let’s not forget he walked away from a Premier League job at Hull City after leading them to promotion because he could no longer work with the owner. It underlines his integrity. Sheffield Wednesday supporters may argue otherwise…’

‘I fear for Bruce because he is already being presented as a symptom of the toxicity of the regime.

Most new managers can expect a brief honeymoon period. All Bruce has heard since he was appointed is a section of his own supporters looking ahead to the inevitable divorce.’

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