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Opinion

I don’t blame Steve Bruce, he was warned and took the job anyway

1 year ago
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Well Done Steve Bruce!

A massive three points taken from West Ham and (despite what he has stated after previous matches so far) the performance was up to scratch for the first time this season.

Doesn’t matter that the opposition were poor, or that we nearly ended up snatching a draw/defeat from the jaws of victory (that IS traditional Newcastle United after all), you can only beat what’s put in front of you and a 3-2 will go down as three points in the record books just as a 3-0 would.

I always say you should never knock an away point, so to get three is a great achievement and is one the players and Head Coach should be praised for.

However . .

Let me just come out with it and make it clear on Steve Bruce, I simply don’t like him, either as a man or as a coach and various things can be used as a testament to both. This isn’t just because he has joined Newcastle United post-Rafa Benitez, who I had huge respect for and could see what he was hoping to achieve, so let’s just pop Rafa in a little box for the remainder of this article.

This dislike of Bruce isn’t irrational and isn’t just because he’s been dropped in as an Ashley apologist, it has built up since he was mooted as Newcastle Manager in 2005. I didn’t want him then because he wasn’t good enough. I’ve seen nothing in the intervening decade and a half to change my opinion and I dare say if you asked the fanbase back then, they would be equally dismissive of the idea of him ever becoming manager of this club.

This brings me nicely on to a former Manager of ours in Alan Pardew. There have been some on here that have criticised me (and others) for mercilessly mocking his 5th place finish at Newcastle in 2012 as simply a fluke and that with the players he had at his disposal, it was hardly a shock.

To some extent this is true and I’ll stand by that but it’s safe to say he deserved his Manager of the Year award that season for what he achieved at the club, of that there is no doubt.

However, the arrogance, lies and dedicating of results to ‘Mike’ I found less appealing but STILL I backed him as our manager at the time. Even after headbutting David Meyler at Hull, I still resisted in calling him, even though I winced and stated that he probably should be dismissed and under any professional owner he would have. It should have been a major issue but that wasn’t what I had a problem with.

If you go back to that ‘fluke’ 5th place finish, a fact to point out is that during that season we notched up some impressive results and ones celebrated by myself. The 3-0 win against Manchester United was greeted with a round of Champagne in a local bar with my group but as a contrast it was no surprise that we got murdered 5-0 away at Spurs soon after. It wasn’t always doom and gloom but it was hardly sweetness and light either.

Sadly, another fact to point out, is that the 5th place WAS out of the ordinary. Apart from 2011/12, I remember hammerings, long runs without a win, awful football, a follow up 16th and 10th place finishes and the awful record against the mackems.

I see Steve Bruce in much the same mould, winning some games of course, but I’m not expecting anything other than one step forward and one step back. He is simply glad that he was even considered for the job when, like Pardew, he shouldn’t have been.

Now, I tend to get stick of a minority of fellow fans on here for being pessimistic and that’s fair enough, I can take it…but I’m not going to go over the top at stuff I see as merely decent, ok, standard.

For every West Ham, Man Utd and Spurs result, there is a Norwich, Leicester, Watford, Wolves and Brighton to counter reference. We will see nearer Christmas where we will finish and we have had three genuinely great results (Spurs, Manchester United and West Ham) and Bruce at the helm must take praise for it, despite what I think of him.

That said, it’s November 2019 and not May 2020. I’ve said elsewhere that we will win games we aren’t expected to and lose/draw ones we are expected to win. That will suit Mike Ashley, no progression and no ambition and little to do with whoever is in the dugout.

And now I will pull Rafa Benitez out of his box before I close.

Many of us could see what he was doing with the side before he was ousted. Imagine if he had been given what Bruce was gifted last summer? Sure that would have meant Salomon Rondon for £16m and probably on a hefty wage but that would have been preferred to what we have up front right now. It would have been nice to see what course we would have been on with that set up in place.

Even with Steve Bruce, the mistake of forsaking Rondon is a massive error by the owner that seems purely out of spite and in keeping with the outrageous transfer policy and it’s also one that will have the side and as consequence the club, simply middling. Getting by at best, struggling at worst, but like I’ve said that will suit the owner.

We will forever be the drunk, staggering from side to side and either we will reach the end of the season home and safe, ready to sleep off the monotonous hangover that is Ashley’s ownership for the summer, or we will fall down short of the target.

For that, I don’t blame Steve Bruce, he was warned and took the job anyway and fair play to him.

But that still doesn’t mean he should be here . .

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