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Opinion

So embarrassing for Steve Bruce that Mike Ashley is sending him out to say stuff like this

4 months ago
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Steve Bruce and his team have produced four wins and a draw from these last six matches.

It hasn’t been pretty and has relied on disciplined defending and massive helpings of luck…but the points are there on the board.

The team continues to create so few chances and seven points have been banked in these last three games, thanks to six goals from pretty much the only six chances created.

I’m not complaining about it, as winning¬† is what it is all about and we all lap it up when it comes along, after all we have seen many times in the past the team play well and end up not winning.

It is swings and roundabouts and Steve Bruce is most definitely on one of the lucky roundabouts as we speak.

I just hope he can cling on a bit longer before he falls off…

Anyway, it wasn’t the actual results and boring negative (but lucky) football I wanted to talk about.

Instead it is Steve Bruce and his press conferences.

Having seen him in action in the past, particularly at the Mackems and at times with Aston Villa and elsewhere, I dreaded this side of him when he was recruited from the lower divisions by Mike Ashley.

One of the reasons the fans loved Rafa Benitez was because he was his won man, his press conferences weren’t very exciting and he rarely gave much if anything away, but at least we knew he wouldn’t come out with the embarrassing pre-prepared scripted PR nonsense that the likes of Carver, Pardew and McClaren had been forced to sign up to, to get the job in the first place.

With Steve Bruce there is little doubt as to which category he falls into.

The 10,000 free season tickets farce has seen this to full effect.

Bruce and Charley both reading from the same script and telling fans that giving away the season tickets happened due to a conversation last Sunday after the Southampton between the two of them and then the next day it being announced.

Rather than quite clearly this being something that has been planned for weeks if not months, with Mike Ashley taking the desperate move to protect the credibility of his Sports Direct advertising at St James Park, timed ahead of Monday when the Sports Direct toxic branding will be ditched and the company having a massive relaunch as ‘Fraser Group’ with the St James Park promotion of this a key factor.

Now Steve Bruce has been speaking to the media once again about the Mike Ashley decision to give away the 10,000 free season tickets and offered this nonsense:

“As we have seen in the North East, politics has changed.

“I think this is a refreshing idea from the club to come along and sanction it.

“To give 10,000 tickets away is a great gesture.

“I think we are all going to be criticised but it is no gimmick.

“I honestly believe it is difficult for people up here to go to a football match.

“I know for a fact it is because my mates and my brother, in particular, would find it very difficult so I can understand it.”

I haven’t got a clue what the ‘politics’ reference is about, presumably the general election/Brexit, which has got nothing at all to do with empty seats at St James Park and Mike Ashley giving thousands of free season tickets away.

As for using his own brother and mates as examples of people who can’t afford to go to Newcastle matches, well when Steve Bruce is a millionaire and manager at the football club, obviously he could sort them out without losing a moment’s sleep.

However, this relentless sticking to the pre-prepared Mike Ashley PR line of the season ticket give away being to help fans who can’t afford to go to games, is cringeworthy.

The tickets aren’t been handed out through the club’s own charity (NUFC Foundation) to the thousands of disadvantaged people they come into contact with, they aren’t been distributed through food banks, the Salvation Army or other charities.

Instead they are being given away to people who already have season tickets, who are then going to give them (either as a season ticket or match by match to various) to people (in the vast majority of cases) who have chosen not to come to matches for pretty much every reason apart from price. The main and overwhelming reason of course being Mike Ashley.

Of course Mike Ashley relentlessly increasing season ticket prices has been shameful and doesn’t help fans but St James Park doesn’t suddenly have 10,000+ empty seats because of the cost of going.

Steve Bruce is either thick, or else he knows fine well that season after season, even under Mike Ashley, St James Park has been pretty much full every single season and only two years ago (2017) NUFC were getting sell out crowds in the Championship, averaging over 51,000.

This is not an act of generosity from Mike Ashley to help poor fans and Steve Bruce needs to understand this and stop embarrassing himself, even if Ashley’s PR people are pulling his strings.

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