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Opinion

This has been the final nail in the coffin of my Newcastle United support

3 months ago
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I have woken up this Wednesday morning and can honestly say, I just do not care anymore.

I do not care about the team, the club or football. That’s it. I’ve said it.

Since the day I knew what football was, I’ve loved Newcastle United with an intense passion. From the highs of the Champions League group stage wins to the lows of the Championship defeats, I’ve loved that club. No more.

The result last night against Sheffield United, on the surface, doesn’t look as bad as is being made out. We lost 1-0 to a team who hadn’t won this season but they’re not a terrible side. They were buoyed by their FA Cup win at the weekend and the tide was always going to change for them at some point. Any team who sets up in a positive way would have overcome their fragile confidence as demonstrated by some of their nervy moments when we approached the box but therein lies the problem; we set up so negatively it is shocking.

I’m not one of many fans who are completely against Mike Ashley with all the fury the world sends; I see the point of those who are, but I don’t participate in marches or protests. The facts about Ashley’s reign have been well documented over the years and I won’t bore the readers by rehashing information on where we finished previously etc.

No, the point of this piece is to ask, nay plead, with Steve Bruce to do the right thing and walk away before he damages the team further.

Again, I am not like a lot of Newcastle United fans who hated Bruce and wanted him out before he even arrived. In fact, I had faith in him and a deep desire to see him do well as he is one of our own, if only in the location he was born.

I grew up worshipping Sir Bobby and King Kev, not for the glory but for the passion they instilled in players who didn’t have roots in the North East and probably didn’t understand the fans as well as they should have.

Steve Bruce, (a Geordie as he keeps reminding us), has served up dish after dish of lukewarm, half cooked slop for us to feast on each match day. The players must take some responsibility but surely, as a ‘passionate’ Geordie, he should be able to motivate the team to pick up the pace, energy and desire when playing against any team? I accept we will lose more games than we will win given the opposition we come up against but surely, the baseline for any team is a desire to win?

Again, I will not bore the reader by rehashing words about Bruce’s attitude to tactics, but let’s look at how we played last night and indeed in every game so far this season. If we are lucky enough to get the ball in the middle of the pitch, 9 times out of 10 we pass it either sideways or backwards 3 or 4 times and then boot it long. We get the ball, sideways backwards, hoof it long. We get the ball… You get the gist.

Pundits love to compare Bruce to Benitez and yes, there are some similarities in the negativity we displayed under Rafa, but we at least looked solid, had a plan and had passion. Where is that now?

Again, under Benitez, I’d argue that 80% of the first team squad improved in some way under his management. Under Bruce, every single player, (other than perhaps Darlow, though his distribution is hamstrung by our lack of desire to have the ball), has regressed.

I listen to pundits blabbering on about how Bruce is doing a good job but where is the evidence of that? There is none. We remained where we were under Benitez last season and have slipped back despite spending money in the summer. The argument is nonsensical and entirely false!

Our fans get called deluded and told we’d still be unhappy even if we won the Champions League but that is a complete fabrication by an army of so called experts who don’t have a clue about the fabric of our club and indeed our fan base. I have never really cared too much about trophies; I just want to see a team that is motivated and tries to win games.

There will always be the Brighton argument of playing good football counts for nothing if you don’t pick up points but it isn’t even about knocking the ball around successfully for 90 minutes; it’s about not just ceding possession as soon as we have it.

I volunteer as a coach for an U12 team, (which does not make me anywhere near an expert) and if I asked them to play how Newcastle do now, I’d expect a push to get my out. I’d have some dignity and at least admit the job is beyond me and walk away!

Bruce’s team selections continue to baffle me.

How Hendrick gets anywhere near the team is laughable. Sean Longstaff was once our next best talent but again, he’s regressed so much so that he shouldn’t be in the first team squad and I blame Bruce for that. Fraser looks like he doesn’t want to be there, whilst the rest of the players look sick of the way they’re being asked to not play any football whatsoever. Pass, pass, hoof… I quote Hayden when he was sent off against Leicester last season; ‘What’s the point?’ What’s the point indeed.

Now, it may seem that my statement at the start of this piece is a lie given my words so far, but I really do not care. Look at the options we have now; stick or twist.

We have a demotivated playing squad that has been dragged backwards over the past 18 months and an owner who, rightly or wrongly, won’t spend money this month. Sack Bruce and a new manager will have to come in and try to reverse 18 months of damage in a short space of time. Unless said new manager is an absolute genius, performances won’t turn until March at the earliest and by then it will be too late.

Stick with Bruce and if by some miracle we survive our uninspiring limp towards the doldrums of the Premier League, then we are in for more of the same next season. More pundits telling us he’s done a good job. More pathetic displays. More whinging from Bruce. More pundits telling us we are deluded. More antagonism. More dross.

This has been the final nail in the coffin of my Newcastle United support. I’ve watched every game since the restart last season but will watch no more. Who knows, maybe a break will rekindle my love for the club but at this stage, I highly doubt it.

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