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Opinion

If Steve Bruce had any clout on transfers then Newcastle United would have bought £20m star

2 months ago
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During this (half-hearted) Premier League (kind of) 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 a few pertinent questions, first up is Jamie Smith.

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

I think he genuinely has a consultation but it’s at the very back end.

If he had any clout really we’d have signed Bowen and we’ll see if it’s us or West Ham who ends up regretting the way this one turned out.

Was the summer 2019 transfer window a success for NUFC?

Not really.

Saint-Maximin is emerging as a bit of a star and Willems was great before his injury but Krafth hasn’t made a mark and Joelinton seems like a colossal waste of money.

It reeks of transfer by committee and it’s some combination of blind luck, good coaching and solid contributions from our established players that has seen things work up to a point.

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.

Well yeah, it has to be fair.

The draw has been nice and we’ve made hard work of it but without the strong team we keep putting out it would have met an embarrassing end by now.

I’d rather be in it and if you win the cup no one goes around quoting the fact that you struggled through a couple of replys in the early rounds.

Well, the mackems would but they’ve pretty much become a parody of themselves now.

The state of the 5th round draw has unfortunately obliterated our chances of winning I’m afraid because while I expect us to bypass promotion-chasing WBA, the quarter finals will likely consist of seven of the top eight and even a decent home draw and win would later see us headed to Wembley as lambs to the slaughter.

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?

This is what I expect, so I won’t be any more angry.

I suppose there’ll be a bit of context, depending on how this season goes, who we buy etc. but there’s no major ultimatum, it’s just how it is.

I’m not gonna go around screaming at people online about it and I’ll be bang up for any tangible project to undermine Ashley but I think it’ll be just more of the same.

Have you enjoyed this season?

More than I expected but it’s not brilliant it’s it?

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.

I’m not being over reactive to this because I believe it’s just brinkmanship all round and this will be sorted by the end of the season.

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

Desperation, the ground not being full is clearly an issue.

I see this as a win for the protests and fair play to the fact that kids or people who might not have been able to afford to go have been able to see a couple of games gratis. It’s an entirely short-term fix though and I don’t think Ashley wins this one.

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

Well, I reckon a letter is heading out to all season ticket holder who took an extra ticket, strategically timed to come off the back of a good result (cup 5th round/QF win or a result that confirms staying up?).

This will offer the season ticket for a good price to the friend they took it for if they fill their details in and sign up for the DD. Some will take it but I think it will be outnumbered by those walking away.

People who signed up for renewals last January on the off chance of Rafa staying will be away and I think opening day next season will break the record again.

TAKEOVER…

Is Mike Ashley seriously trying to sell?

I don’t think so personally, although you never know what’s going on at that level.

Anecdotally he just seems to keep moving the goalposts and it’s clear he has something to gain from staying in situ. Unfortunately, I think those gains are far bigger than anything fans can affect by boycotts or protests.

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

Yes I think there are. There is too much secondary evidence of the Staveley and Kenyon attempts for it all to be smoke and mirrors.

What I do think is that the leaks all come from Ashley’s side, using the press to dictate a narrative that suits him – basically, buyer makes contact but won’t meet Honest Mike’s genuine attempts to sell.

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

Do I sh.te. I think there’ll be 2 x takeover fairy tales in the summer then the same old purgatory

Follow Jamie on Twitter @Mr_Dolf

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