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Opinion

Steve Bruce is doing a great job…for Mike Ashley

8 months ago
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Steve Bruce is now in his seventh month of employment under Mike Ashley.

Appointed on 17 July 2019 after walking out on Sheffield Wednesday to help force a move.

Mike Ashley yet again dropping down into the lower divisions for his latest manager/head coach.

Sacked by Championship Aston Villa before second tier Sheff Wed came to his rescue, little wonder Steve Bruce jumped at the chance, thinking his chance had long gone of ever getting a Premier League job.

Maybe one of Bruce’s most impressive achievements since coming to St James Park, is the sheer number of headlines and media coverage he has attracted. Almost on the same scale as his predecessor…

However, that is where the similarities end.

Rafa Benitez increasingly made the headlines as he made clear/public his frustration at the refusal of Mike Ashley to show any ambition to progress Newcastle United.

With Steve Bruce it is the exact opposite, he never tires of saying how brilliant Mike Ashley is, how the NUFC couldn’t be more supportive.

The similarities between the NUFC Head Coach and Lee Charnley are astonishing.

They both know they have jobs that they could never get at any other Premier League club.

They both had to accept far lower wages than those with the same job titles at equivalent clubs for a number of reasons, chiefly because they know how lucky they are to have the jobs, plus they don’t have the power/authority that those at rival clubs do – Steve Bruce has no say on transfers in and out for example, whilst Lee Charnley makes no important decisions and is more caretaker/office manager with the likes of Justin Barnes from Ashley’s Sports Direct inner circle ranking higher for the owner where NUFC are concerned.

As well as being cheap and grateful, Steve Bruce has followed the Mike Ashley script to the letter.

On the playing side, Stephen Hawking has sadly passed away, so we don’t have a single living soul with enough brain power to work out how Newcastle United have amassed 31 points in 25 Premier League matches. Every piece of evidence and logical thinking says NUFC should be in the relegation zone based on what we have seen so far, yet that has all been bypassed somehow, so Newcastle are probably within a small handful of results in order to be able to cling on to top tier safety for another season.

The fact that the team has clearly regressed (which is the obvious reality beyond the ridiculous luck that has fallen our way in terms of points) is irrelevant to Mike Ashley, he just moves season to season and so survival in any season is the only important thing.

That the football is appalling to watch and entertainment all but non-existent is irrelevant, after all, Mike Ashley doesn’t even bother to go and watch the team he owns.

Looking forward, Rafa Benitez repeatedly stated how for the club to progress there needed to be a proper long-term plan and proper investment in the infrastructure, especially regarding The Academy and the new state of the art training complex that Mike Ashley promised in 2013. You won’t here anything about that in public from Steve Bruce, that’s for sure.

Before he had even taken charge of a competitive game, Steve Bruce was happy to go out with a prepared script before the Arsenal home match, putting out a positive PR message after what looked a shambles of a summer 2019 transfer window. The NUFC Head Coach stating that imminently we would hear of numerous key players agreeing new contracts, rewarded for their efforts and tied down for the future.

Now six months later only Martin Dubravka has signed a new contract, 17 of the current 26 man first team squad are contracted beyond 16 months time and Steve Bruce on Monday when asked why Matty and Sean Longstaff still hadn’t been offered acceptable new deals and were playing first team football for coppers, started talking about young players having all the power these days, desperate to point the finger of blame at the two NUFC mad young players instead of Mike Ashley.

Steve Bruce is clearly matey with the vast majority of NUFC journalists and that helps present a formidable shield for Mike Ashley.

Newcastle were desperate for at least one or two new strikers/goalscorers in January.

The window ended with not a single player bought and not a single striker/goalscorer signed, even on loan.

Yet the press pack haven’t a single word of negativity about the transfer window, instead it is all about the ambition NUFC had shown when Steve Bruce suddenly announced/claimed as the window closed, that Newcastle had supposedly almost broke their transfer record eight days earlier on some mystery midfielder. Apart from PR purposes on behalf of Ashley, what benefit could there possibly have been to the club by doing this. If you believe that this fantasy transfer did almost happen, how on earth would going public with that now, help Newcastle eventually land the player in the summer??? If something doesn’t make sense then usually it is a lie.

The problem for the owner with Rafa Benitez, is that not only did the Spaniard go public with criticism of Mike Ashley, he also refused to play Ashley’s PR games to distract from his ridiculous running of Newcastle United.

When Alan Pardew, JFK, John Carver or Steve McClaren were handed a script, they would happily talk until ordered to stop.

Say one thing one minute then contradict it the next, more than happy to.

As the transfer window closed, Steve Bruce said he was more than happy with his striking options and bringing in another striker hadn’t been a priority.

Next time he talked, after the shocking Norwich game, Bruce was full of concerns about his lack of forward options and worries over Almiron and Joelinton becoming burnt out through overplaying.

Mike Ashley insists on £4om (£43m according to Ashley) been spent on Joelinton, Steve Bruce pretends he signs off the signing.

We then have a situation where Steve Bruce clearly has no say on dropping/resting Joelinton, the owner clearly insisting/expecting he plays every game. Bruce bemoans injuries to Gayle, Carroll and Muto but whatever happened, Joelinton plays every game, the Brazilian has started all three FA Cup games and 24 of the 25 PL matches, coming on as a sub at Sheff Utd. Mike Ashley obviously desperate to be proved right eventually when Joelinton scores some goals.

Which other club would do this? A young foreign striker, new to the league, then run him into the ground due to the owner desperate to prove he is right.

Rafa Benitez would not have allowed this and I can’t believe even Steve Bruce would be allowing it if he had a choice.

When you have a negligent, ruthless, clueless football club owner who insists on employing desperate yes men, Newcastle United eventually ending up in total chaos/mess/disaster is inevitable.

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