The most inappropriate question Steve Bruce could have been asked…
It is Friday morning.
Steve Bruce is holding his Press conference ahead of the Wolves match at St James Park.
Questions from journalists and the Newcastle United Head Coach asked how far this current team are from the Kevin Keegan ‘Entertainers’ era?
Quick check on the date, definitely not the first of April…
Steve Bruce answering:
“That swashbuckling team of the 90s was a wonderfully gifted team.
“You have to have certain individuals to play that way and I don’t think we are quite at that just yet.”
Maybe Steve Bruce would have earned a little bit of kudos with Newcastle fans if he had just laughed, or…cried.
For anybody to think of mentioning this current situation in the same breath as the Kevin Keegan era is one of two things.
Either somebody out for mischief, or else you should be replying with another question, which planet they have just arrived from?
That 90s Keegan era was all about the club trying to be the best it could be, driving itself forward off the pitch and playing great football on it, scoring goals and winning matches. Excitement. All of the things Newcastle United fans don’t see now.
Nobody pretends it would have been easy the second time around but in 2008 with the same players Sam Allardyce had bored us to death with. Once he got his feet under the table Kevin Keegan put together a late season run of seven games unbeaten, four wins and three draws, playing good football and scoring 14 goals at a rate of two per game.
The season ended with a couple of defeats but the signs were there.
The rest is, as they say, history. If Kevin Keegan had been backed that summer and allowed to wheel and deal as he saw fit, instead of undermined with Dennis Wise choosing the signings, what could have been possible?
Newcastle certainly would have been looking up rather than down, instead amazingly/bizarrely Keegan replaced by Joe Kinnear who effectively (with the help of Ashley and Wise) relegated NUFC before falling ill.
Difficult not to see parallels with what is happening now. Rafa Benitez this time forced out by Mike Ashley, the owner and his people taking over control of transfers, along with employing somebody in Steve Bruce who is woefully not up to the job. It is simple fact that even JFK has achieved more in management than Steve Bruce has, taking minnows Wimbledon to finishes of 6th, 8th and 9th in the top tier.
Kevin Keegan was actually only 56 when he returned to NUFC back in 2008, three years younger than Rafa Benitez is now. So KK was young enough to have had another good go at breathing new life into Newcastle United.
Back in the 90s Newcastle United had an expert in Freddie Fletcher pushing the club forward financially off the pitch and in Kevin Keegan an expert doing the same on the pitch. Planning always ahead to try and push higher and higher.
What expertise exists now, on or off the pitch?
What is the plan beyond Premier League survival and helping Sports Direct boost their profits?
The one thing we can hold onto is that experience tells us just how quickly things can change at Newcastle United, for better or worse.
That once there is confidence and growing momentum, things can quickly escalate. Which was particularly gutting when it came to Rafa Benitez, Mike Ashley killing that momentum stone dead when refusing to allow proper investment after promotion.
There might only be one Kevin Keegan but Rafa Benitez would have done things in his own way.
Instead we are once again trapped in a cycle of chaos and no ambition.
An outcome that was so unnecessary.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]