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Opinion

This image of Steve Bruce and Graeme Jones at Everton is impossible to get out of my mind

9 months ago
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Well, where did that come from?

An excellent 2-0 win away at Everton was much welcome for Newcastle United’s survival hopes as before kick off the table looked pretty scary.

Things seemed much better right from the kick off with some semblance of cohesive play and a lesser seen trait that is essential for any football team to win a game….passing.

Ok, the essential thing required to win a game is goals but you get my drift. We created chances and judging by the stuff I heard we looked quite potent, especially in Callum Wilson. He and others looked rejuvenated and sprightly, motivated and focused.

So who do we have to thank for this sudden and complete turn around of events?

How can a team so devoid of anything comparable to professional football all of a sudden just turn up and start playing like Real Madrid in comparison to previous weeks and months?

Well the answer is firmly in the dugout.

No, not with Steve Bruce, the answer is in Graeme Jones.

The former Luton man was cajoling and coercing the players, geeing them up and in general, aiming to improve and inspire them mid-match, something which has been missing for months until now.

Now I have to confess I know little about him. Gateshead born, managed Luton Town to no great success and then last seen as as a coach at Bournemouth. Er, so what? But it’s the difference in appearance that will go a long way towards impressing in the short-term, the change on the pitch that will affect things in the mid to long-term.

Midway through the game an image flashed up on my phone and I had to look at it numerous times to see if it hadn’t been edited and tampered with. Once the realisation dawned that it was indeed genuine my heart sank. The image is telling. The image is painful to see and actually disturbed me slightly. It’s a picture of a man knowing he’s not up to the job but also, more criminally, knowing that someone who has literally been through the door five minutes seems to be getting a better tune out of the players he’s been brought in to help improve.

The sight of Steve Bruce glaring across at Graeme Jones as he is attempting to motivate the players, was horrific. The cliche of if looks could kill didn’t do it justice. If it were me I would have gone home immediately and written my resignation letter.

“Dear Newcastle United, Sorry, I’m wasting my time and the new guy you’ve brought in as my understudy seems more clued up and competent, so I’ll just see myself out- Thanks, Steve.”

So it begs two questions

What does Steve Bruce do?

Is Steve Bruce actually required?

On the evidence of 18 months of Steve Bruce against just one 90 minute spell, I can tell you that something drastically changed with the arrival of Graeme Jones and the answer to the second question is an emphatic, NO!

Jones has come into a no lose situation. He’s not the manager . . Yet. He can work away and integrate his way into the club until every man and his dog comes to realise that the last 18 months we’ve been managed by a charlatan, a manager that belongs in the past and should have stayed there. A manager that has bluffed his way through years of management with no success, no trophies and nothing tangible to show for 20+ years in the game other than a healthy bank balance through years of pay offs and more clubs than Tiger Woods.

This doesn’t get rid of Mike Ashley but if indeed he is pushing the Premier League legally to get the takeover done (as I believe he is) then to keep Newcastle a Premier League club until such events happen, getting in someone who has the faintest idea what he’s doing, is a good start. It would take an absolute idiot to get this club relegated this season due to the poor nature of the lower part of the league, yet Bruce was well on the way to doing that.

We will now survive and Bruce will remain in situ until the takeover happens or his contract runs out. A proper football club would just pay him (and his out of date coaches) off. A man with dignity would resign.

A man with dignity wouldn’t glare across at another man doing his job better than he is with such disdain and bewilderment as was evident in that picture and it will provide a lasting image of his time at Newcastle United for me.

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