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Paul Merson and Roy Keane unite in condemning Newcastle fans to watching the unwatchable

4 weeks ago
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Paul Merson and Roy Keane don’t really strike you as having a great deal in common.

Apart from the fact that they made a living from playing football and now do so by talking about it.

However, there is certainly one area where this meeting of minds comes together for Roy Keane and Paul Merson.

Newcastle United.

Indeed, you can throw pretty much any other football pundit in there as well, with the odd honourable exception.

You can guarantee now that almost every single time, when people are gathered together and paid to talk about Newcastle United, the same scenario will be played out.

It is almost as though they are handed the same script…

Here are the two very latest examples from the weekend.

Paul Merson talking to Sky Sports – 31 October 2020:

“That is where Newcastle are [not having the players to do anything but play defensive football].

“They are not going to to go to Wolves and open the game up because Steve Bruce knows he hasn’t got that quality of player.

“They have got to pick games where they can get results in, that is where Steve Bruce has all the experience in the world.

“They can go to Wolves, make it hard for them…they can nick a point.

“That comes with experience and a young coach might think that they can go everywhere and play and entertain, hoping the fans don’t think he is a negative manager.”

Roy Keane talking to Sky Sports – Sunday 1 November 2020:

“There was never any doubt in my mind that when Brucey got the job, he was going to do well at Newcastle, he is vastly experienced.

“I know Newcastle have been criticised for not being very exciting to watch but that is because I don’t think they have the players for it.

“I don’t think Newcastle have been exciting for years.

“Even when they were exciting they never won anything anyway, so I don’t know why everyone’s getting too worried about that.

“Brucey will do a very good job for Newcastle.

“His job when he went there was to steady the ship and fortunately, he got a few bob this summer to spend.

“I think there will be no worries about Newcastle, they will be around mid-table and that is down to Brucey.”

I suppose we should take it a a compliment that the likes of Paul Merson, Roy Keane and pretty much every other talking head as well, sees Newcastle United as such a unique club.

Just a shame that where they see NUFC as being unique, is in the sense that Newcastle fans are deluded to believe their team could and should play better and more attacking football.

When exactly were we condemned to not being allowed to hope for anything better than the absolute rubbish we are watching?

The thing is, I look at our players and I think they ARE capable of playing better football, given the chance.

It is ironic that so many of these pundits are totally schizophrenic, as whilst they defend ‘Brucey’ and will say Newcastle United aren’t capable of playing better football, they will at the same time also talk about Wilson and Fraser as great signings, ASM one of the most exciting attacking players in the Premier League, Almiron an exciting player, Carroll a threat, Joelinton set to show why he is a £40m signing, the quality of Jonjo Shelvey and so on…

Newcastle United don’t have the best squad of attacking players in the Premier League BUT they certainly don’t have the worst either.

The likes of Paul Merson and Roy Keane don’t ever explain exactly why Newcastle United are so different to the likes of Southampton, Leeds, Villa and loads of other clubs, who all this season are always looking to play ‘front foot’ football.

What have they got that Newcastle United haven’t?

Well, I hate to say it, but they have managers who are setting their teams up far differently to Newcastle United.

Do those clubs really have far better squads than Newcastle? I don’t think so, it is all about the attitude and intention.

They will also constantly drag Rafa Benitez into the argument to explain to us dullards why fans can’t expect better football because this is the way it has always been in living memory, or at least the past few years.

It is a lie though because even under Rafa and his budget team (Steve Bruce allowed over £100m net spend these past 16 months), when given the opportunity he DID attack with his teams. The final 16 games under Rafa, Newcastle picked up the fifth highest number of points AND fifth highest number of goals.

Newcastle United now have the players to play far better football, if Steve Bruce…and the pundits, allow them that chance.

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