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Opinion

Hating Mike Ashley didn’t stop me wanting rid of JFK, Pardew, McClaren, Carver – Same with Steve Bruce

1 month ago
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We all know THE problem is Mike Ashley.

THE problem at Newcastle United has always been Mike Ashley these past 12 years.

Until the day he sells the club, Mike Ashley will continue to be THE problem.

However, the owner isn’t the only problem.

The very first day when the media reported Newcastle United were interested in Steve Bruce to replace Rafa Benitez, we all thought ‘surely not…then in the same breath thought oh no, he’s exactly what Mike Ashley will go for’…

Ashley having forced Benitez out so that he could return to his favoured model of recruiting somebody who was from the lower divisions/unemployed/unemployable and so desperate and/or grateful, they would take the job on any terms.

Step forward Steve Bruce.

A terrible record in the Premier League in terms of both points and his team scoring goals, never won anything as a manager, now seeing out the final years of his career in the Championship with Hull City, Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday.

If Bruce was to end up managing in another league before retiring, then it was going to be League One and not the Premier League.

Then came his saviour, out of nowhere Mike Ashley came and Steve Bruce became the first manager (head coach) he had ever paid compensation for. Willing to push Rafa Benitez out of the door and then pay for the release of Steve Bruce. Staggering.

I had always dreaded him coming in the past, occasionally linked with NUFC down the years. The plastic Geordie who when supposed to be the pundit with a foot in both camps, was nearly crying when a Sky Sports pundit covering Newcastle’s 5-0 win over Man Utd, embarrassingly claiming it could/would have been a different result if Man U had got a penalty (that clearly wasn’t) at 1-0 down.

Other times when at the likes of Sunderland and Villa he had gone out of his way with some of the things he said to show he was no Newcastle fan, yet on other occasions he has been desperate to play the Geordie/NUFC card when it suits.

A failure with his teams on the pitch and embarrassing with his behaviour off it, why would I, or any other Newcastle fan, have wanted Steve Bruce to come to St James Park?

Which brings us to now.

A lot of people are saying there is little point getting rid of Steve Bruce because under Mike Ashley nothing will ever really change, nothing of any real substance anyway.

I sympathise with that of course…but only up to a point.

If you went down that route, then why want anything to change?

Why wish that we had brought in a striker/goalscorer in January?

Why want the team to play better football?

Why do you want to see goals instead of defending the entire match?

Who knows when, if ever, we will get rid of Mike Ashley, so unless you believe the only route is for Newcastle to lose every single match in order to force a sale of NUFC, then other changes are worth making.

Joelinton has been a disastrous signing, no doubt of that. Newcastle desperate for a goalscoring striker and Mike Ashley forced through the £43m purchase of somebody who doesn’t even like going in the opposition penalty area too often.

Joelinton clearly isn’t a £43m goalscorer but neither is he a player who is as terrible as we are watching game after game at Newcastle.

What he did for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga and Champions League last season, showed that he isn’t a bad player. I can’t believe that pretty much any other manager/head coach wouldn’t be getting more out of the Brazilian than Steve Bruce is.

What on earth happens on the training pitch? Which brings me on to another angle.

When Bruce arrived, the NUFC media raved about the new Head Coach’s coaching team, the other Steves, about how they were great at this and that, had showed whatever in the past.

I was confused. These are the exact same people who have been with Steve Bruce at his other clubs, playing key roles in putting out teams that don’t score many goals and don’t pick up many points. Steves who like Bruce, are Championship standard at best.

What we have watched this season is proof of that. No players have improved under them and so many have got so much worse.

The protective cloak of so many very very lucky points has now all but fallen completely away and some in the media are now willing to say how really poor Newcastle have been this season under Steve Bruce.

The thing is, I don’t think the team are anywhere as bad as Bruce has made them look, his morale busting claims that they aren’t capable of doing anything else but set out to defend in each and every match.

Rafa did go to a real extreme (which I didn’t like) in some games against the better teams but not in EVERY match.

These players are capable of playing a more pressing offensive game, getting the whole team 20 yards further up the pitch, forcing mistakes and getting ASM and Almiron on the ball in dangerous positions and so on.

Steve Bruce and his people have shown they haven’t got a clue how to change anything for the better and even at this late stage in the season, I would love to see the Head Coach sent on his way.

Another massive benefit would be then not having to listen to his excruciating press conferences and interviews, happy to say and do anything to cover for Mike Ashley and push out any PR propaganda, as well as coming up with endless excuses and blaming everybody but himself.

Yes we might not get anybody better if Mike Ashley is doing the choosing once again but Newcastle certainly couldn’t get anybody worse than Steve Bruce.

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