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Opinion

‘In signing Joelinton and not Salomon Rondon, Mike Ashley has severely hampered Steve Bruce’

4 weeks ago
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A good article appeared on The Mag this Thursday morning, comparing /contrasting Newcastle United this season under Steve Bruce and the 2015/16 campaign under Steve McClaren, in which the club was relegated for the second time under Mike Ashley. I have to concur that on appearance the difference is very little.

Cast your minds back to when McClaren was appointed.

Was anyone filled with hope, expectation or excitement? No, of course they weren’t. It was another way below par appointment that lowered expectation and held back ambition. I’d hedge my bets to say that a huge percentage of the fanbase were either underwhelmed, disillusioned or downright disgusted with the appointment.

Was it any different this summer with Steve Bruce?

I would say it was much worse but that’s just me. Going from a World Class manager to a Championship Head Coach didn’t help things.

At least in 2015 McClaren had come with some sort of pedigree. He had been Sir Alex Ferguson’s No2 when Manchester United won the treble, managed England and won things abroad, not to mention winning the League Cup with the unfashionable smoggies down the road. Bruce? Not so much.

The McClaren folly didn’t work out and it was once again the stupidity of owner Mike Ashley that allowed that 2015/16 season to drag on far too long past the point of (almost) no return that ended up seeing the club relegated for the second time under his ownership. Put simply, if Rafa Benitez comes in a few games earlier, the club survives.

The one thing I don’t get with Ashley is why does he hamper and hold back good managers, yet (in relative terms) lavish bad/poor ones with funds in the transfer market? It’s baffling as much as it is annoying.

To see former manager Kevin Keegan forced out of the club in 2008 because of tightfisted finances and underhand politics in the boardroom really shows the owner to be what he is. Who does he lean on for football and transfer advice? They’re clearly idiots.

The main trouble to arise from hiring such a poor manager/head coach each time is that you MUST back them with fortunes in the transfer market. This is to cover their failings and disguise their lack of ability, the only problem is that you have to back them with the RIGHT signings as well. Former Manager Alan Pardew wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but he was given enough quality players to make a good job of the 2011/12 season. The following season, he was found out.

Back to now and the sad fact of the matter is that in signing Joelinton and not Salomon Rondon, Ashley has severely hampered Steve Bruce. But why such idiocy from the owner? The club could have signed Rondon for £16m and paid him a kings ransom, £200k a week if you wanted to go nuts…and it STILL would have been cheaper than the Joelinton deal. He could have still employed Bruce and disaster would have been averted this season as a nigh on certainty. Why ditch a sure fire thing?

The owner STILL continues with his spoilt brattish tendencies.

You want Rondon, Rafa? Tough, you’re not getting him.

The fans like Rafa? Right I’ll drive him away.

Spite, spite, spite and it’s the club and its supporters that eventually suffer. This season we may even survive, despite the owner’s pathetic, childish ways, but it won’t be because of Bruce or a sound transfer policy.

Going back to that article today and the comparisons to the McClaren season and the similarities are there and very real. A poor head coach given a fortune in players and being tasked to keep the club up. There is no way Newcastle United should have gone down that season.

The only difference from that season to the current one is the quality of the league. Back then the mackems were annually just surviving and even Southampton finished 6th. We only won  nine games all season, three of which were under Rafa Benitez in what little time he had at his disposal. How bad a Manager/Head Coach does that make Steve McClaren out to be?

So the positives this season?

I think we probably will survive. Even with my predictions at the start of the season, I can see us having enough as there is so much dross in this league, way more than I assumed there would be in August. Mind you, we haven’t beaten some of those poorer sides yet in Watford, Brighton and Wolves so we maybe should wait until New Year before we get too confident on that.

More positivity?

I think we’ll beat Bournemouth on Saturday, unlike the same fixture in May 2016 when we had the “Wally with the Brolly” and lost 1-3 in his last game in charge.

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