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Opinion

Proof that Steve Bruce press conferences being PR managed to avoid these awkward questions?

7 months ago
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I find the Steve Bruce press conferences intriguing…and not a little frustrating.

In this instance, I am talking specifically about the press conferences before Premier League matches.

You know, the ones where journalists ask questions about what has happened, the current state of play, and what Steve Bruce is going to do to improve and/or fix the situation.

On Friday 28 February ahead of the Burnley match, all of the reporting afterwards about Steve Bruce’s pre-match chat was about the Coronavirus problem.

The NUFC Head Coach introducing and really pushing the story that the club had stopped players and staff shaking hands at the training ground. Of course, Coronavirus is currently the big talking point away from football and so the no handshaking at NUFC training predictably was used by the NUFC covering football journalist as their lead story/point.

Coronavirus is of course a serious topic but the expert advice says handshaking (or not) has minimal impact, the key thing is people regularly and properly washing their hands. Plus of course it is the kind of thing the club would usually put in a press release as in, measures they are putting in place to protect staff as much as possible. Instead of making it the big story at a pre-match press conference, after all it isn’t really a ‘football’ story.

Then this morning (Friday 6 March), only 30 minutes before the the first quotes and reports would come from Steve Bruce’s pre-Southampton press conference, you had the club putting out a press release.

The press release informing everybody that Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey had agreed new contracts.

Hmmm, these new agreed deals were reported weeks and week ago across the media, the reports saying it was now just a case of when the club would choose to confirm the deals…

So everything I have read these past few hours has been dominated by these new contracts.

How convenient.

Surely the big Newcastle United football story today, last week and indeed previous to that, should be about the shocking results and performances, what Steve Bruce has to say about his failing team and what he intends to do about it.

It is now only one Premier League win in 11 weeks.

Newcastle have the very worst form of all 20 clubs in those 11 weeks, one win in 10 games, only 7 points from a possible 30, only 7 goal scored in the last 12 PL games, no PL goals at all in over six hours of football.

Last 10 rounds of Premier League matches from Christmas 2019 onwards:

Only the results of a number of other clubs at the bottom have prevented Newcastle not already falling into the bottom three. However, that looks like it is starting to change with the likes of Watford, Norwich and West Ham all winning.

It happens every season, struggling clubs suddenly start putting unlikely runs of form together when it get close to the business end of things, whilst there is always one club that absolutely bombs…

Newcastle United are in freefall, can’t win, can’t even score a goal, yet the press conference today is all about new contracts. Total madness.

I am indifferent to Steve Bruce’s position in the job as things stand because even if Mike Ashley did sack him, we would get just a similar desperate stooge/patsy in his place.

However, I do think that at many/most other clubs, a similar run of performances and results would have the media asking the manager/head coach if he was worried about the sack. Not which players should be getting new contracts.

I really hope that Newcastle win at Southampton and indeed every other game they play but I do wonder exactly at what point, the media as a whole (not just the odd lone voice split from the press pack) will take Steve Bruce to task if results and performances continue as they are?

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