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Robbie Savage – Where do you start with this latest embarrassing Newcastle nonsense?

3 weeks ago
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Robbie Savage and the Newcastle United fanbase have always had an ‘interesting’ relationship.

Newcastle fans thinking Robbie Savage is a joke as a pundit, though to be fair this is just a continuation from his days as a player.

Whilst in return, Robbie Savage has never taken the ‘banter’ too well from NUFC supporters.

Things maybe best summed up by the FA Cup match at Rochdale in January, with their placement right next to the Newcastle fans, BT Sport apologised during the game as the away section repeatedly sang ‘Robbie Savage, he’s a w.nker’…

Robbie Savage speaking about it later on BBC Radio Five Live:

“I was working for TV and the commentary gantry was right amongst the Newcastle fans, right amongst 3,000 and in commentary I said What a great turnout from Newcastle fans, passionate, supporting their team, they were singing away…and then I was obviously spotted.

“Then obviously…I was trending on Twitter for obviously obscenities that Newcastle fans were singing at me which I took in good faith, I was smiling, laughing, but…

“Put yourself in that situation, you are…

“If I was a Newcastle fan I’d be embarrassed, I was…to sing the obscenity at a commentator when he’s doing his job.

“You imagine in your workplace, you’ve got X amount of people turning around pointing camera phones in your face and waiting for you to respond and you are trying to do your job.

“I thought they were a disgrace, the Newcastle fans.

“Try and support your team, who by the way, got battered by Rochdale in the second half and instead of putting your frustration at a co-commentator… listen, I took it, I was laughing, I had to laugh.

“It’s pathetic. Newcastle fans who were there singing, you are absolutely pathetic.

“I saw lots of people singing it and it was well heard on the TV. It was embarrassing. I was sitting amongst Newcastle fans trying to do my job and you’ve got that many people singing it and putting camera phones in my face.

“If I react, I lose my job. Imagine putting yourselves, Newcastle fans, in that situation for a split second.”

Robbie Savage claiming he takes / took it all as a laugh but in reality, he then cannot stop himself from making absolutely clear how he didn’t / doesn’t take it all as a laugh.

I think we might be getting close to the truth of why Robbie Savage has become more than a little obsessed about Newcastle fans and so often looking for ways to ‘prove’ how clueless / deluded / nasty we all are, with in particular Savage trying to use Steve Bruce as his top piece of evidence.

Namely, Steve Bruce is supposedly doing a great job, whilst the deluded thick Geordies don’t understand football and don’t appreciate their Head Coach.

This weekend, Robbie Savage has devoted his entire column in The Mirror to Newcastle United, Steve Bruce and especially, the fans.

Now shooting down Savage’s daft comments on NUFC is always the ultimate easy shooting fish in a barrel scenario, as he is so thick and incapable of making a coherent argument.

This time though he has gone a step further…reminding me of Inspector Clouseau in many ways.

For those not in the know, Inspector Clouseau was a classic film character most famously played by the brilliant Peter Sellers. Clouseau a totally inept and incompetent French police detective whose investigations always quickly turn to chaos. However, despite his lack of judgment and skill, Inspector Clouseau always solves his cases and finds the correct culprits, entirely by accident.

With Robbie Savage, his latest offerings in his Mirror piece (see below) are very Inspector Clouseau BUT doing the reverse.

Savage actually produces a lot of the most important / relevant Steve Bruce and Newcastle fans ‘evidence’ BUT somehow manages to still come up with the wrong conclusions. As opposed to Clouseau solving cases despite not using / finding the right evidence.

Here are some out-takes from Robbie Savage talking to The Mirror:

‘Steve Bruce would never send his team out to sit back – and Newcastle United will never be a boring club.

Yet the stats so far this season suggest Bruce’s team have been dull to watch, which does not fit the attacking flair of Allan Saint-Maximin, Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Jonjo Shelvey’s passing range at their disposal.

Whether you think they are boring of not, any side with that kind of firepower should be entertainers, and I can’t quite get my head round Newcastle.

If you want to have a big club mentality, you have to play with a big club mentality – yet their opponents have had more of the ball in every league game so far.

Win, lose or draw, Newcastle have conceded more territory every week: West Ham had 58 per cent possession, Brighton (53%), Tottenham (66%), Burnley (52%), Manchester United (64%), Wolves, Everton and Southampton (63% each).’

(This is maybe the best one of all. Match after match, same as last season, Newcastle have less possession, less chances etc etc than the opposition, sit deep in defence almost every match. Robbie Savage recognises all of this…but then still comes to the conclusion that none of this is down to Steve Bruce  – ‘Steve Bruce would never send his team out to sit back’)

‘During the international break, I have been trying to educate myself by reading the local paper website and forums to try and get inside the [Newcastle] ‘ heads. What do they want from their club, and what can they realistically expect?’

(Well, Newcastle fans are remarkably like all other football fans, they want to see their team play the best football possible, score goals, entertain, whilst winning as often as possible. It isn’t difficult to understand. NUFC supporters are not some impossible to understand equation. As Robbie Savage points out himself, Newcastle United have a far better squad now in terms of attacking players, largely due to the £100m+ net spend Steve Bruce has been allowed, yet Steve Bruce refuses to allow any emphasis on trying to attack.)

‘Bruce has been getting pelters from some supporters, yet Rafa Benitez – a fantastic manager who has won the Champions League at Liverpool – is revered.

Under Benitez, I can remember Newcastle games against the big six where they had only 20 per cent possession, but I don’t remember him being widely criticised or accused of negativity.

The reality is that, last season, Bruce collected only one point fewer than Benitez’s best season in charge of Newcastle in the Premier League.’

(It is simply untrue that Rafa Benitez’ NUFC team ever had as low as 20% possession in any match. Rafa is not ‘revered’ by Newcastle fans as say Keegan and Sir Bobby were / are, however, he is very respected because supporters understand how totally undermined he was by Mike Ashley and had to try and compete with his Championship team and additional loans and bargain buys. As it happens, a lot of Newcastle fans did still criticise the over the top negative tactics used in some games and didn’t agree with them, basically against Liverpool and Man City (Rafa still produced a win and three draws against those two clubs), but understood why Benitez was doing it. They overwhelmingly still supported Rafa because they saw it as a means to an end, ensuring PL safety until Mike Ashley belatedly would allow realistic money to be spent. Steve Bruce was allowed a net spend of over £65m in summer 2019 and that total now stands at a net spend of over £100m in his 16 months at the club, yet the football is far worse and more negative under Steve Bruce than it ever was under Rafa on a regular basis.)

‘Although the Geordie faithful don’t expect their club to be a superpower like Liverpool or Manchester City, they must look at the recruitment policy and stylish football of Wolves, Leicester or even Southampton with envy.

Kevin Keegan brought fantasy football to St James’ Park and I believe the fans want to see a return to the days of Shearer, Ferdinand, Ginola and Lee’s verve and spirit.’

(Talk about stating the obvious, of course we would all dream of seeing the days of Keegan repeated. Fans believe long-term this could be possible but not whilst Ashley and Bruce are still at NUFC. Bruce has managed for over 20 years and never finished top eight in the Premier League, his football has always been very limited and negative, his teams averaging exactly one goal over the 438 PL games he has managed. Robbie Savage talks of Southampton but are their players really any better than Newcastle’s, or simply better managed and coached?)

‘Yes, I would like to see Bruce’s team play with more adventure this season.

But Newcastle United have been relegated twice in the last 11 years. Surely they would prefer Bruce’s know-how to going down again?’

(This is really the most bogus argument of all, that playing terrible ultra negative football is some kind of guarantee of staying up. It is the exact opposite. Steve Bruce inherited a Rafa team built on a solid disciplined defence, in his two PL seasons in charge, Newcastle conceded the seventh lowest number of goals both times. Last season, Newcastle had the seventh worst defence under Bruce in terms of goals conceded. His negative football invites the opposition to control each game and in the vast majority of matches Newcastle have far less chances, only through pure luck in so many games did Newcastle survive last season and this time it looks like it is going to be more of the same. Only 20 shots on target in eight games for Newcastle, yet Darlow facing 132 shots (on and off target), more than any other PL keeper. These Bruce tactics are making it far more likely Newcastle could go down, the reality probably is that like last season, there are enough really poor squads to make relegation very unlikely. As for preferring ‘Bruce’s know-how’ to relegation, to be honest, whilst I don’t want to see Newcastle relegated, if I could see a decent match each week then I’d be very tempted, as I dread watching us on TV.)

‘Right now, Newcastle are above Leeds United in the Premier League table, yet everyone raves about Marcelo Bielsa’s team being easy on the eye.

Leeds have just lost 4-1 in back-to-back games, but nobody accuses them of being boring.

If you asked me now whether Leeds or Newcastle were more likely to go down (and I don’t think either of them will be relegated), I would say Leeds.’

Leeds have just been promoted after 16 years in the lower divisions and are playing great football and are only one point below Newcastle. They have a plan and a well respected manager in Bielsa, playing to his squad’s attacking strengths. Maybe Newcastle’s players could play like that if allowed to and better coached. Robbie Savage even says neither club will go down and maybe the reality is that Leeds and Newcastle may well end up in similar places in the table. On what I have seen this season, is there really any NUFC fan who would rather watch what we are, compared to taking their chances with the Leeds way?)

‘The reality is Newcastle are not going to go down under Bruce – yet teams who finish below them in the table could get more praise. It’s a strange old world.’

(With what he inherited from Rafa Benitez and then a £100m+ net spend, why should avoiding relegation be seen as some kind of success for Steve Bruce, especially when you have the likes of Fulham and West Brom looking so poor? In Rafa’s final 28 games Newcastle had the eighth best PL form and in his final 16 matches the fifth best PL form and fifth highest number of goals. Nobody would be saying the likes of Nuno, Rodgers and Ancelotti have succeeded this season if their teams avoid relegation, why Newcastle? Mid-table should be the least of NUFC expectations and with that, also far better football played, especially with the financial backing Bruce has had and the players now available to him.)

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