Steve Bruce caught up in the political turmoil at Newcastle United
Steve Bruce can’t exactly claim he had no idea of what he was walking into in July 2019.
After all, his best mate Alan Shearer went public, saying that he had pleaded with Bruce not to take the job.
The Newcastle United legend pointing to the poisonous Mike Ashley regime, including his own brief experience of it back in 2009.
Nevertheless, despite all the warnings, Steve Bruce has clearly been taken by surprise at the sheer depth of division he has walked into.
The past few seasons had seen a strong triangular relationship build up between Rafa Benitez, the fans and the players, which could up to a point exist separately to the Mike Ashley factor.
With Rafa’s departure, that strong triangular relationship also left the building.
In its place we had the owner at one extreme and the fans at another, the players floating in between.
To make any kind of a positive impact, Steve Bruce would be judged on two things.
Results of course…but also how he conducted himself in interviews and press conferences.
With only two wins in his first 11 games, it didn’t start well.
Whilst arguably, it was even more of a disaster when it came to what Steve Bruce had to say.
Seen as yet another patsy in the Pardew/Carver/McClaren mode, somebody who should never have been considered for the job and so desperate they will agree to do anything for Mike Ashley, how would Steve Bruce approach it? It didn’t go well. Embarrassing over the top comments about how great things are at Newcastle under Mike Ashley, snide comments about Rafa Benitez and mocking fans who are protesting/boycotting.
In the more recent press conferences/interviews, Steve Bruce has maybe been a bit more clued up. Understanding he has to tone down the over the top love-in with Mike Ashley, if things are ever going to move on in anyway. Plus of course the most important thing for Bruce, is that he has picked up a couple of wins.
However, we need to look at the bigger picture…
It has never been a case of it having been about whether the team can do better or worse this season under Steve Bruce, than they did under Rafa Benitez last season.
That isn’t the be all and end all for Newcastle fans.
It isn’t why there are embarrassing gaps in the crowd at St James Park with thousands of empty seats at every single home match. People haven’t given up thousands of season tickets because they think results might be worse than last season.
Yes of course Newcastle fans, like any other fanbase, want to see their team win football matches but that is only one small temporary part of the equation, as Steve Bruce attempts to navigate a path to survival for both himself and the team.
What fans are really bothered about is the long-term health of the club.
With it now being season number 13 of Mike Ashley, we know very well that any positives that might happen this season won’t lead to anything. That his ownership model isn’t one where he is interested in the long-term health of Newcastle United, laying down strong foundations and trying to make the club stronger with every passing season.
Whatever Steve Bruce does or doesn’t do, when we reach the point of his departure, whether it is this year or in five years time…
Newcastle United will still be living season to season.
Newcastle United will still have no long-term planning.
Newcastle United will still not have the new essential state of the art training complex promised in 2013.
Newcastle United will still have not expanded St James Park.
Newcastle United will still not have properly invested in their Academy.
Newcastle United will still have no proper board, only Lee Charnley or some other puppet as a token director.
Newcastle United will still not have a proper high level professional team of people looking to drive the club forward off the pitch, only a caretaker/office manager in Lee Charnley or some other puppet having their strings pulled by Sports Direct HQ.
Good luck to Steve Bruce, he isn’t the big problem, though he isn’t part of the solution either.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]