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Opinion

Steve Bruce wanting to get rid of the League Cup and complaining about too many games is laughable

8 months ago
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Steve Bruce has been talking about the number of matches that clubs play thee days.

The Newcastle United Head Coach saying it was ‘ridiculous’ that NUFC had to play ’15 games in two months’.

Bruce referring to a sequence of games that began with Sheffield United away on Thursday 5 December and ended with Oxford away in the FA Cup replay on Tuesday 3 February. So 15 games played across the course of 62 days.

Steve Bruce complaining that Newcastle didn’t get a full two week winter-mid-season break, saying that ‘wasn’t quite right’, well surely though that was purely Bruce’s and his team’s fault due to being incapable of beating a League One team at home in the FA Cup.

Indeed, two of those 15 games in 62 days were due to a failure to beat League One clubs at the first attempt.

To deal with the number of matches for top players, Steve Bruce has a suggestion: ‘We have to scrap international friendlies or sacrifice one of the cups.’

Well obviously we have to assume it can’t be the greatest domestic cup competition in the world, so we have to assume the NUFC Head Coach wants to get rid of the League Cup. Basically one of the only two competitions that Newcastle have any chance of fluking something in, for the foreseeable future.

We would all love to see international friendlies scrapped and indeed many of the nonsensical qualifying games, which are just excuses to generate even more money for the FA and others. However, there appears little chance of that happening, so Steve Bruce would honestly support a move to get rid of the League Cup???

Astonishing really, especially when you consider he has won absolutely nothing in his career as a manager, nor been in Europe (as a manager/head coach), which a League Cup win also provides.

The reality is, that Newcastle United don’t play too many matches, at least not under Mike Ashley’s ownership.

In these first 27 weeks of the season, NUFC have only had to play more than once in a week on seven occasions and two of those were due to not beating Rochdale and Oxford at the first attempt.

In 12 full seasons under Mike Ashley, Newcastle have only had to play more than 43 games in a season on three occasions.

Two of those were due to being in the Championship! The only decent exception the season when Ashley accidentally allowed us to qualify for Europe, refused to allow any net spending, which led to collapse of momentum and morale in the team and almost ended in relegation.

Back in the Sir Bobby Robson days, Newcastle played 53, 54 and 55 game seasons in 2001/02, 2002/03 and 2003/04. The team finished fourth, third and fifth in the Premier League despite having 34 games in Europe in that time period.

For a manager/head coach to complain about too many matches when they have never ever managed in European competition is laughable, who cares about international football anyway compared to watching Newcastle United?

Steve Bruce:

“Getting it (winter/mid-season break) cut short like it was, wasn’t quite right, but we’ve got 13 games over the next three and a half months, so to ask players to do 15 games in two months is ridiculous.

“And then we wonder why, when we get to a tournament England can’t perform to the level. For the international footballer of today, it’s a huge problem, it’s absolutely ridiculous. They don’t get a break any more. They are machines and they break down.

“Someone like Harry Kane, an injury like he has had comes from playing too often, playing Saturday, Tuesday for evermore. As fit as he is, to pull a tendon like he has, it’s fixture congestion.

“We have to scrap international friendlies or sacrifice one of the cups.

“You can’t keep asking the top players to play Saturday and Tuesday for evermore.

“All of Europe, they have a break, even Scotland has three weeks, it has to be a good thing.

“If you don’t have a break, you lengthen the season somehow.

“We keep asking players to play tired.

“Here (at Newcastle United) we have had people question the training methods, it’s nonsense, it’s playing players tired.”

Number of matches Newcastle United have played in each Mike Ashley season, then the breakdown by competition in brackets:

43 – 2007/08 (38 PL, 3 FA Cup, 2 League Cup)

42 – 2008/09 (38 PL, 2 FA Cup, 2 League Cup)

51 – 2009/10 (46 Ch, 3 FA Cup, 2 League Cup)

42 – 2010/11 (38 PL, 1 FA Cup, 3 League Cup)

43 – 2011/12 (38 PL, 2 FA Cup, 3 League Cup)

54 – 2012/13 (38 PL, 1 FA Cup, 1 League Cup, 14 Europe)

42 – 2013/14 (38 PL, 1 FA Cup, 3 League Cup)

43 – 2014/15 (38 PL, 1 FA Cup, 4 League Cup)

41 – 2015/16 (38 PL, 1 FA Cup, 2 League Cup)

53 – 2016/17 (46 Ch, 3 FA Cup, 4 League Cup)

41 – 2017/18 (38 PL, 2 FA Cup, 1 League Cup)

42 – 2018/19 (38 PL, 3 FA Cup, 1 League Cup)

44 – 2019/20 (38 PL, 5 FA Cup, 1 League Cup) ***West Brom fifth round ensures 44 this season, could go higher…

When Sir Bobby Robson was in charge:

53 – 2001/02 (38 PL, 5 FA Cup, 4 League Cup, 6 Europe)

54 – 2002/03 (38 PL, 1 FA Cup, 1 League Cup, 14 Europe)

55 – 2003/04 (38 PL, 2 FA Cup, 1 League Cup, 14 Europe)

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