Steve Bruce names club he wants Newcastle to emulate – Mike Ashley to splash the cash?
Steve Bruce has been talking about his ambitions for Newcastle United.
The past 48 hours having seen Mike Ashley at last allow some money to be spent.
Only days before the opening Premier League match, up to around £35m and subsequent wages spent on bringing in Jamal Lewis, Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson.
Is it simply the bare minimum that is needed to try and ensure no relegation, or some kind of progressive twist in Mike Ashley’s transfer ‘strategy’ moving forward?
Steve Bruce is adamant that his own ambitions are more than just survival (for both himself and the team!) at Newcastle United.
In an all encompassing new interview with George Caulkin, Steve Bruce goes through his football career, but it is of course the Newcastle United current references that we are most interested in.
Bruce insists he totally understands why Newcastle fans are not exactly happy with where the club has ended up in recent times, but hopes that he will be able to convince them that, under his leadership things can change for the better.
Only results and performances can change that and whilst it ended up being what most considered a respectable amount of points in the circumstances last season, the overwhelming fan perspective was that the football had been terrible to watch and that Steve Bruce had carried ridiculous amounts of luck. Also on the negative side as well, Steve Bruce was seen as very much a puppet and his comments throughout the season where he loyally followed the Mike Ashley script, didn’t convince anybody that they were wrong about the NUFC Head Coach.
The choice of signings this transfer window and media claims, lead us all to think that it appears Steve Bruce has now got more power with players brought in from other clubs in England / UK.
So can Steve Bruce convince us anything else has and will change?
Bruce says that his intention is top ten at least and to emulate Wolves, he says that is what Newcastle must ‘aim’ for.
After promotion Wolves have finished seventh both seasons since promotion and have instantly given European football to the fans.
Newcastle supporters do see no reason why their club shouldn’t be as ambitious as a Wolves, or indeed a Leicester. Especially when you have a multi-billionaire owner.
However, Wolves have spent some £21om in the first two seasons after promotion, including a £170m net spend.
In comparison, Mike Ashley allowed only around £30m net spend across the four transfer windows following promotion, which ensured relegation battles.
Wolves are possibly slowing that spending down with around £38m spent so far this window and only a £7m net spend as things stand, however, they have still shown they mean business with £35m spent on the exciting Fabio Silva.
The thing is, after the £210m spend in the last two seasons, it means that then you have largely built your team and it is a case of fine tuning things.
That is what is needed at Newcastle United, at least one season where serious money is spent to hopefully take the club to another level, then you don’t necessarily need to be every season needed quantity through the door. Ashley’s running of the club has ensured Newcastle tread water at best, frees, loans and mostly budget buys when money is spent, meaning there are bound to be more failures than successes and an endless turnover of players, so many just brought into do a job and keep NUFC afloat.
If Steve Bruce can change this Mike Ashley mindset at Newcastle then maybe he has a chance and could emulate Wolves (or Leicester…) as well. However, after what Newcastle fans have seen these past 13 years under this owner, nobody will have any expectations of seeing this happen.
Brief extracts from Steve Bruce talking to George Caulkin at The Athletic:
“Look, I understand that at Newcastle there’s an undercurrent, or an unrest or a restlessness, if we can put it that way. I totally understand it. Honestly, I do. And I can understand people’s feelings when they go, ‘Oh my God, we’ve gone from Rafa Benitez to this fella’ but I hope they can look at last season and think, ‘Well, he didn’t do too badly’.
“There’s always a storm here…It should come with a government health warning.
“I hope we can quieten that storm with the players we’ve brought in. We needed them. I know it’s been frustrating but COVID has made it difficult for everybody, apart from Chelsea and the big boys.
“The season after I left Man United, Newcastle beat them 5-0, I can reel off that team right now: Pavel Srnicek in goal, John Beresford left-back, Philippe Albert and Darren Peacock at centre-half, Steve Watson at right-back. A midfield four of Rob Lee, David Batty, Peter Beardsley and David Ginola, with Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer up front. Wow. WOW! Do me a favour. That’s what people have seen, not so long ago.
“Well, I suppose it’s 24 years now, but still. It’s the Premier League era. They’ve seen truly great players play for this truly great club and the younger supporters have been told about it. People live it. That’s what this club should aspire to. Can you do it now? When you see the spending power of the Manchester clubs, Liverpool and Chelsea, then it’s difficult. But even so.
“I want to get a team together which can get into the top 10 regularly and then, who knows. Wolverhampton Wanderers have done it very quickly; look where they’ve been over the past few years and look at what they’ve done since. That’s what we’ve got to aim for. I know people might say, ‘Ah, he’s talking rubbish again’ but you’ve got to try, haven’t you? You’ve got to fight.”
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