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Journalists set to lose in 6 days time their Steve Bruce v Rafa Benitez points (pointless) argument

2 years ago

Rafa Benitez was forced out of Newcastle United last summer by Mike Ashley.

The Spaniard had laid out a plan of ambition, on and off the pitch, within realistic budgets.

A long-term plan put to the NUFC owner of how he could progress the club season after season, if he was backed with the realistic funds and allowed to get on with the job unhindered.

Sadly, this was never going to happen.

After his first transfer window, Rafa Benitez had then found himself undermined time after time by Mike Ashley, refusing to allow proper investment on or off the pitch, ensuring a struggle to simply stay in the Premier League.

When convinced to sign a three year contract despite Newcastle being in the second tier, Mike Ashley had promised the go ahead of the new state of the art training complex originally promised in 2013, even arranging for Rafa Benitez to meet the architects to make changes he thought necessary.

The reality of course was something different, Mike Ashley going back on his word and the only investment a new coat of paint on the existing outdated facilities.

Rafa Benitez represented hope for Newcastle fans, that if he stayed then it would mean the club would at last progress, even if Mike Ashley stayed as well.

However, once Steve Bruce fluked his first few wins, the media overwhelmingly went with an embarrassing over the top narrative of this ‘proved’ Steve Bruce was better than Rafa Benitez, based on only comparing it to the start of the previous season. A season that kicked off after Mike Ashley had forced Rafa to make a £20m+ profit on transfers in and out in summer 2018, with even loan striker Salomon Rondon only allowed to be signed just before the season started.

It has been shameful the conduct of so many of the journalists and pundits, both for making such a daft and too basic comparison, as well as ignoring all of the stats (as well as what your own eyes tell you) that show how outrageously lucky Steve Bruce has been this season, despite Ashley allowing £65m+ to be spent on players in summer 2019.

Well, Saturday saw Newcastle carry massive luck yet again but still lose 1-0 to Palace, who could and should have won by four or five.

In six days time, Newcastle play a Burnley side that have won four and drawn one of their last five games including beating Leicester and winning at Old Trafford.

If Steve Bruce loses this game, Newcastle United will have 31 points after 28 PL games and a goal difference of worse than -17 (only Villa and Norwich currently have worse goal differences).

In Newcastle’s 28th match last season, they beat, ironically, Burnley 2-0 at St James Park, to go on to 31 points and a GD of -8.

So next Saturday, the journalists will be losing their embarrassing desperate argument if NUFC lose, Newcastle United doing worse under Steve Bruce than Rafa Benitez last season, in terms of results.

However, no fans of Newcastle United (or indeed fans of Rafa) will be celebrating this, it has never been what this is all about.

If Steve Bruce somehow crawled to more points than Rafa, thanks to massive does of luck, it was just pointless. That whilst Ashley was still here employing patsies/stooges like Bruce, we are trapped forever to be desperately just trying to survive in the top tier, that is the owner’s model.

Interesting as well to look at those results last season around this time, when Almiron’s arrival at last allowed Rafa to play a more expansive style of play. It is a total lie to say that the football under Rafa was always as bad and as boring as under Steve Bruce, even before Almiron arrived, only a small number of matches were quite as bad as the standard Bruce game.

PL games in 2018/19 (all stats from BBC Sport) when Almiron started:

No.27 NUFC 2 Huddersfield 0 (54% possession, 29 efforts on goal, 12 on target, 12 corners)

No.28 NUFC 2 Burnley 0 (54% possession, 13 efforts on goal, 3 on target, 4 corners)

No.29 West Ham 2 NUFC 0 (44% possession, 17 efforts on goal, 2 on target, 6 corners)

No.30 NUFC 3 Everton 2 (45% possession, 19 efforts on goal, 7 on target, 8 corners)

No.31 Bournemouth 2 NUFC 2 (49% possession, 12 efforts on goal, 4 on target, 6 corners)

No.32 Arsenal 2 NUFC 0 (29% possession, 3 efforts on goal, 1 on target, 2 corners)

No.33 NUFC 0 Palace 1 (54% possession, 18 efforts on goal, 5 on target, 9 corners)

No.34 Leicester 0 NUFC 1 (28% possession, 11 efforts on goal, 5 on target, 3 corners)

No.35 NUFC 3 Southampton 1 (43% possession, 15 efforts on goal, 6 on target, 4 corners)

As the season went on, Newcastle were playing far better football, scoring more goals and picking up more and more points.

The final 16 games of 2018/19 saw NUFC with the fifth best form, picking up 27 points and only four teams scoring more than Newcastle’s 26 goals in those 16 matches.

Rafa Benitez had turned it around with minimal backing and Newcastle United were back on the up.

That is what Mike Ashley purposefully blocked and threw away.

Yet so many in the media have chosen instead to attack Rafa Benitez and the Newcastle fans, shame on them, claiming hilariously that Mike Ashley hadn’t made disastrous moves, including employing patsy/stooge Steve Bruce.

So many journalists siding with the enemies of Newcastle United, the likes of Dennis Wise, Simon Jordan, Sam Allardyce and others with zero credibility.


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