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‘This from Mike Ashley 10 years ago explains why new Newcastle owners need to replace Steve Bruce’

1 year ago

Mike Ashley has pulled some tricks in his time.

However, in the 13 years he has ruled at Newcastle United, maybe the most laughable ‘football’ decision he has taken, was the one on 6 December 2010.

Mike Ashley putting the following in motion…

Newcastle United official club statement – 6 December 2010:

“Newcastle United Football Club have today parted company with manager Chris Hughton.

“The board would like to place on record their thanks to Chris for his considerable efforts during the club’s transition from Championship to Premier League football.

“Chris has shown exceptional character and commitment since being appointed manager in October 2009. The club wishes him well for the future.

“Regrettably, the board now feels that an individual with more managerial experience is needed to take the club forward. The task of appointing a new manager now begins.

“An announcement will be made shortly regarding transitional arrangements pending the appointment of a successor.”

The reality of course was far different to the weasel words of Mike Ashley and his minions.

Chris Hughton was given the job as caretaker manager after Ashley had relegated the club in 2009, a series of disastrous moves bringing about disaster. The lies told to Kevin Keegan at the heart of it, with Mike Ashley preferring to give Dennis Wise control of transfers in and out, says it all really.

Hughton was given the job because he was cheap, available and an easy touch, only two of those things proved true.

In his first management post (confirmed as permanent NUFC manager once Newcastle were riding high at the top of the Championship), Hughton did an unbelievable job.

Mike Ashley sold tens of millions worth of players in summer 2010 and released a host of others who were out of contract, such as Owen, Viduka, Geremi and Cacapa. However, he didn’t allow Hughton to spend a penny on transfer fees that summer, just loans and free transfers.

However, Chris Hughton took a totally demoralised and disjointed squad and took them up as champions on 102 points.

A few million had been allowed to be spent during that season on the likes of Simpson, Routledge, Best and Williamson, but after promotion, Mike Ashley only allowed Tiote and Perch to be bought for £4,5 in summer 2010 and Hatem Ben Arfa arrived on loan, a ridiculous lack of backing in terms of transfer funds after a promotion.

Chris Hughton astonished everybody once again though, including Mike Ashley.

Hammering Sunderland 5-1, winning 1-0 at Arsenal, Villa taken apart 6-0…however, rumours abounded that Ashley wasn’t happy with Hughton, he had found him anything but a soft touch and the manager was refusing to go along with the owner’s transfer plans. In particular, Hughton was refusing to agree to put his name to selling the club’s biggest asset and most exciting player, Andy Carroll.

This is how the Premier League table looked a week into December 2010:

Chris Hughton had Newcastle in 12th, only four points off sixth. A brilliant start to life as a PL manager, especially having been starved of funds.

With Mike Ashley desperate to get his way and have total control of transfers in and out, he did what we have seen him now do regularly down the years, he got rid of a quality but troublesome manager and brought in somebody on the understanding that they would have no say on transfers.

Alan Pardew appointed on 9 December 201o having clearly been lined up before Hughton’s sacking was announced. This was Alan Pardew who most recently had been sacked by then third tier Southampton.

Throughout December 2010 and January 2011 Alan Pardew said categorically that Andy Carroll would definitely not be sold, at the end of January 2011 Andy Carroll was sold.

Back to the present day and on 2 July 2020, this is how the Premier League table looks:

A very similar story to a decade earlier, Steve  Bruce having Newcastle one place lower in the table than when Chris Hughton was sacked. Plus of course the small matter of over £65m spent on players this season and including Almiron, £80m spent on three attacking players in 2019, plus of course Andy Carroll came back…

Accidentally from the NUFC owner, that Chris Hughton sacking statement from Mike Ashley 10 years ago explains why new Newcastle owners would most definitely need to replace Steve Bruce.

It was wholly made up nonsense to justify getting rid of Hughton but this line sums up the position now, certainly once the Premier league finally approve the Saudi PIF owners: ‘Regrettably, the board now feels that an individual with more managerial experience is needed to take the club forward. The task of appointing a new manager now begins.’

Now before anybody points out that Steve Bruce has a lot of experience as a manager, that is undoubtedly true. However, I have a lot of experience playing football but 30 years in pub leagues doesn’t mean that I am the right man for Newcastle United either.

Steve Bruce turns 60 this year, has been a manager for over 20 years BUT has never won anything, never managed a side to the top four never even managed a team to top eight in the PL, never managed in the Champions League, his only European experience as a boss was at Hull and they exited the Europa League before the end of August.

Steve Bruce has done a decent job at Newcastle United, a lot of luck in many games, but nevertheless the record books show he has done a decent job.

However, if NUFC get new ambitious moneyed owners, we need somebody with far far more experience, that is experience of managing successful clubs, somebody who has been there seen it and done it managing in the top four and in the Champions League, somebody who is used to acting at that level and knows what is needed to get there and stay there.

Yes in some ways you can say Steve Bruce is unlucky when he gets replaced but to progress that is what will be needed, better people with more ability in many positions. If you really believe that sticking with Bruce would be the right move, then no doubt you would thin that none of the current players should be replaced either, because they have done their very best in not the easiest circumstances.

When the new owners come in, Newcastle United will need to bring in a better manager and better players year on year, or else it will be the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin will move on and NUFC will never properly progress.


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