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Opinion

Does this prove Steve Bruce is a bit cleverer than we think?

10 months ago
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During this Premier League mid-season break, time to take stock at Newcastle United.

At the two thirds of the season stage, Newcastle are on 31 points after 25 Premier League matches and moving into February, still in the FA Cup!

None of it has been particularly easy on the eye but how do you see the current state of affairs at Newcastle United?

We have asked a number of regular/irregular writers for The Mag to answer various sets of pertinent questions, next up is GToon.

How much say, if any, does Steve Bruce have on transfers in and out?

I think he’s actually got a decent amount of input.

Unfortunately, I base this purely on the fact I think he has a better relationship with Ashley and co rather than his ability as a manager. To expand on that I think that he’s either a bit cleverer than we think or he’s just saying the right things to get what he wants.

He mentioned he wanted a bigger midfielder and Bentaleb has arrived and I think he wanted a left back and Rose has arrived.

The question will best be answered when the bids come in for Longstaff etc at the end of the season.

Was the summer 2019 transfer window a success for NUFC?

This is a very difficult question to answer because it’s got to involve Joelinton.

I fail to see any kind of transaction other than a sale involving this fraudster as being a success. During all of the Ashley era we’ve constantly been fed the “we won’t pay over the odds” line and yet the club pays a fortune for a player who isn’t even average. He is pound for pound the worst player I’ve ever seen in 45 years of watching NUFC.

However, ASM looks decent and improves the team. Not bothering to sign Rondon was a mistake though, regardless of who the manager was.

Despite it taking four games and extra-time to get past two League One teams, the FA Cup is seen by many as a massive success this season. Please discuss.

On the one hand, if you look at who we’ve played then it’s hardly impressive stuff…but to still be in the draw is an improvement rather than a success. However, if we go on and win the cup nobody will care about extra time and league one opposition. I doubt Liverpool have a different trophy cabinet for all the cups they have, often undeservedly, won on penalties.

Perhaps the biggest success is the fact the manager is playing his strongest team regardless of the opposition.

If the 2020/21 season kicks off with Mike Ashley, Lee Charnley and Steve Bruce all still at the club, how will you feel and what will you be doing?

I won’t be surprised that’s for sure.

Ashley will keep talking about selling the club while he pockets the TV money. He’ll feed us the same selling line like a grown up tells their kids they’ll do something “in a minute”.

If he is still here next season I will feel like most other people do: resigned, fed up and disappointed at the prospect of yet another season of trying to avoid relegation while he pockets the TV money. What will I be doing? Asking my daughter if she’s finished on the toilet probably.

Have you enjoyed this season?

I’ve found it tolerable in parts but I couldn’t say I’ve enjoyed it.

The word “enjoy” implies some level of excitement which is in short supply these days.

I’ve found Bruce to be quite interesting as a manager though. He has done well so far, far better than I would have expected. I’ve also found his comments on how the team like to play and what we need to play differently quite interesting. He’s obviously given our lack of possession a bit of thought.

I think he’s done quite well in the transfer window just gone as he’s added quality to the first 11. The lack of striker purchase is understandable given that £40m was wasted in the summer and we do have AC, Gayle and Muto to return. Bruce has got to give them a chance before he replaces them with better in the summer.

No new contracts agreed for the Longstaff brothers who are still paid a pittance and Matty could leave for £400,000 compensation in the summer. Please discuss.

Now if there’s one thing that sums Ashley up it’s this.

Here we have two lads who know what it means to play for their club. They give everything every game and have certainly made a contribution to the cause. Unfortunately for us, Ashley can see pound signs rather than dedication.

The truth is, if he had half a brain he’d get them signed up on decent contracts, making them much more saleable assets instead of playing hardball with them while happily over paying some players who contribute nothing to the club.

10,000 free season tickets – desperation, an Ashley masterstroke?

Unfortunately, it’s a masterstroke. I never saw it coming at all. It’s a clear indication of the lack of influence crowd numbers actually have on Ashley and his profit figures.

If Mike Ashley still owns Newcastle next season, do you think he will fill St James Park and if so, how?

I think he’ll do exactly the same as he has done.

He’s the master of selling a poor product to a lot of people and making a lot of money while doing it.

TAKEOVER

Is Mike Ashley seriously trying to sell?

I’d love to say yes but unfortunately I doubt it. It doesn’t take 12 years to sell something if you want out like he stated. The detail that is missing is that Ashley is trying to sell the club for a very large amount of money.

The problem as I see it is that his price will be based on future TV revenue which prospective purchasers will be wary of as Ashley and the way he runs our club hardly guarantees that future income.

Are there one or more bidders seriously trying to buy the club?

There probably are some serious bidders as we could provide someone with the ability to print money given the right investment.

At the moment the bidders are on the bridge but Ashley the troll is demanding too much to cross.

Do you think there will be a new owner(s) by the time the 2020/21 season kicks off?

No. Not at our club anyway.

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