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Steve Bruce says he will fill all the empty seats at St James Park with a few wins

3 months ago
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Steve Bruce had some ‘interesting’ things to say after Saturday’s feeble home draw against bottom club Watford.

A terrible first half was followed by an improved effort after the break – but it was only a 10-15 spell in the middle of that second half when Newcastle ever looked like finding a winner.

Worryingly, when that effort quickly blew out, a Watford side that had arrived with such little confidence and momentum, were the ones who dominated the last 20 minutes, getting  numbers forward and went close a number of times. Only Martin Dubravka keeping Newcastle in it in those final stages.

After being knocked out of the League Cup at the first hurdle playing such a weakened team (seven changes) despite promising to treat the cups as importantly as the Premier League and then failing to beat the bottom club at home, the Steve Bruce response was: ‘We have had three difficult games in a week and didn’t lose any of them really, in real terms, so I have got to be pleased with that.’

That definitely has shades of Alan Pardew, yes that mostly second string tried their best against Leicester but created so few chances and the net result of two home matches has been going out of the League Cup and only drawing against the club at rock bottom.

There were massive sections of empty seats yesterday at St James Park, the lowest Premier League crowd in seven years (Newcastle beat Wigan on Monday 3 December in front of 43,858) saw 44,157 as the official attendance, although looking around there could have been even more than the official 8,000+ empty seats.

The defeat to Arsenal was the lowest for an opening day Premier League match at St James since 2011, whilst the crowd for Leicester in the cup was 5,000 less than for the last League Cup second round match at St James Park.

When asked about the empty seats, Steve Bruce replied with: ‘I’m sure they’ll be back when we win a few games.’

Difficult to tell if he is really naive enough to believe this, or whether just happy to put out Ashley propaganda.

All of the empty seats are due to thousands and thousands of season ticket holders being  totally fed up with the Mike Ashley regime.

There may have been 8,000+ empty seats but that doesn’t equal only 8,000 Newcastle fans staying away.

Newcastle averaged over 51,000 in the second tier because they had a bit of belief that Rafa could change things long term if given the proper support (from Mike Ashley, or preferably the new owners).

The reality is that there are tens of thousands of fans staying away.

If Rafa had stayed and had been given reasonable backing and freedom by Ashley, the season tickets would have sold out and the stadium full every week.

If Rafa and new ambitious owners, you would have a sold out St James Park every week and a significant waiting list for season tickets.

As for Steve Bruce saying ‘when we win a few games’, here’s hoping he’s right on that front, as the team looks seriously short of creativity and goals, even against such poor opposition as Watford.

Steve Bruce asked about all the empty seats:

“I’m sure they’ll be back when we win a few games.

“We have had three difficult games in a week and didn’t lose any of them really, in real terms, so I have got to be pleased with that.

“We can never take for granted the support this great club has got.

“All I can do is just hopefully going onwards and upwards with the team and the supporters,

“There has been Tottenham and Arsenal (amongst the opening games), so I have got to be reasonably pleased.

“One point behind Chelsea and one point behind Manchester United or something, is it?

“There you go, it hasn’t been such a bad start after all.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Watford 1 – Saturday 31 August 3pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Schar 41

Watford:

Hughes 2

Possession was Watford 51% Newcastle 49%

Total shots were Watford 13 Newcastle 13

Shots on target were Watford 3 Newcastle 5

Corners were Watford 5 Newcastle 6

Referee: Graham Scott

Newcastle team v Watford:

Dubravka, Krafth (Manquillo 78), Schar (Fernandez 85), Lascelles, Dummett, Willem, Hayden, Longstaff, Atsu (Muto 82), Almiron, Joelinton

Unused Subs

Darlow, Clark, Ki, Shelvey

Crowd: 44,157  (approx 1,500 Watford)

(Statement from Toon For Change protest group on crowd figures – Read HERE)

(Watch official match highlights HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Newcastle 1 Watford 1 – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 1 Watford – Lowest NUFC PL crowd in 7 years see Bruce’s team struggle against bottom club – Read HERE)

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