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Opinion

This is just embarrassing from Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley on Dwight Gayle

10 months ago
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Long before he got the job in July, I had long dreaded Steve Bruce coming to Newcastle United.

His career results as a Premier League boss were bad enough but there was something just as bad, or even worse.

The nonsense Steve Bruce comes out with, when at the likes of Sunderland and Aston Villa and elsewhere, all you heard were excuses and waffle, nothing was/is ever his fault.

When Newcastle fluked five or six of their even wins in the 23 games so far, you would be guaranteed to hear him afterwards talking as though NUFC had well deserved the victory and been the better team, playing great football etc etc.

Now that the incredible luck he was enjoying has largely ran out, it is just embarrassing to hear excuse after excuse, particularly him going on about the busy festive period of fixtures, something that is the same for every club and has been the case for 40 years when Steve Bruce has been involved in football.

Bruce’s willingness to slavishly follow the Mike Ashley script in press conferences is also excruciating.

Amongst the many things he has come out with on behalf of the owner, especially feelgood stories, has been his repeated insistence that a host of key players will imminently sign new contracts. He bizarrely started this at his very first pre-match press conference before the Arsenal defeat, introducing the subject when he and Ashley were under pressure after what looked a disastrous summer transfer window.

In Steve Bruce’s entire time six months so far at the club (and the whole of the summer and indeed the past 12 months I’m pretty sure) Newcastle United have only agreed a new contract with one first team squad player – Martin Dubravka.

They can’t even agree agree a new deal with Matty Longstsaff who has played a handful of first team games and could sign a pre-contract elsewhere now, as his contract ends in five months time.

Indeed, 16 of the 26 first team squad have 17 months or less to run on their deals and indeed a fair few of them only five months like Matty Longstaff.

One of those who only has one full year remaining after this season is Dwight Gayle.

Steve Bruce has been talking about his (Gayle’s) future and it is just embarrassing.

The NUFC Head Coach declaring: ‘Whatever happened to him in the past, he hasn’t felt part of the picture, but I started him against Manchester United. He is a very good player and a vital part of the squad…he is going to get his chance.’

Steve Bruce appearing to make out that Dwight Gayle hadn’t ‘felt part of the picture’ when Rafa Benitez was here and until he (Bruce) got to St James Park.

Well, Rafa Benitez was desperate to keep Gayle at Newcastle in summer 2018 but Mike Ashley refused to let Rafa buy Salomon Rondon despite a £20m+ profit on transfers in that window and even to get Rondon on loan, Benitez was told it could only happen if Dwight Gayle went on loan in the other direction.

However, before that Mike Ashley induced transfer window mess, in his first two seasons at NUFC, Dwight Gayle played in 67 of the 70 league games he was available for, either from the start or as a sub.

Steve Bruce has only given Dwight Gayle 152 minutes in total on the pitch and all but 93 minutes of that came in his one start against Man Utd, Gayle only playing because Andy Carroll was needed for Everton at home two days later.

Steve Bruce has no intention of playing Dwight Gayle and whether he (Bruce) is under orders to do it or not, Joelinton will play every match, as will Carroll if fit, whilst Steve Bruce admits he is trying to bring in another striker, who automatically would go ahead of Gayle as well, just as ASM and Almiron are ahead of him.

It is incredible the nonsense Steve  Bruce is coming out with and that is probably only beaten by the news, which has now been widely reported these past 24 hours, that Mike Ashley will allow Dwight Gayle to leave on loan to a Championship club but only if they commit to then paying £20m for a permanent deal in the summer.

So hang on, clearly Mike Ashley and his minion don’t think Dwight Gayle is a Premier League level striker and yet he is supposed to be worth £20m? A striker who relies mainly on pace and who will turn 30 two months into next season…

Yet at the same time we hear that Mike Ashley won’t allow Newcastle to pay the £20m asking price on 23 year old Jarrod Bowen who is rated as the most exciting player in the Championship and NUFC are trying to get him on the cheap.

This is Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United all over, a player who is never going to play and yet insisting on a ridiculous sale price meaning he can’t be sold, with no doubt Dwight Gayle then either sold for £6m or so in the summer, or see his final year out and leave for nothing.

As always with Mike Ashley, knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.

Steve Bruce ahead of the Wolves match, when asked about the future of Dwight Gayle:

“I can see a role for Dwight…

“I have always liked him.

“Unfortunately, he got injured.

“Whatever happened to him in the past, he hasn’t felt part of the picture, but I started him against Manchester United (in the 4-1 defeat this Boxing Day).

“He was stiff afterwards because it was his first game for months, but he is available for the Wolves game.

“Let us see what that brings.

“He is a very good player and a vital part of the squad.

“I understand that he might be (frustrated).

“I wouldn’t expect any different and I would be the same.

“If you don’t play then you’re not happy.

“It is part of the job managing that but he is going to get his chance.”

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