Newcastle United players have now lost all belief in Steve Bruce
The Newcastle United players were like those at any other football following the events in summer 2019.
The NUFC squad seeing Mike Ashley forcing out Rafa Benitez, then replacing him with Steve Bruce.
No doubt privately many of the Newcastle United players were absolutely gutted to lose a top manager like Rafa and seeing him replaced by a Championship level boss, but, the bottom line is that they still continued to earn outrageous sums of money compared to your average man in the street and kick a ball around for a living.
No doubt the players with ambition and higher ability wondered why on earth this was happening but to be honest they (players with high ability) are such a small minority and most just grateful to be at a club the size of Newcastle United, plus of course you had new arrivals at the club with the likes of Joelinton, ASM, Krafth and Carroll, who weren’t seeing it as now working under a different Newcastle manager.
A lot of Newcastle United players were happy to be used by the club hierarchy to say how great things were under Steve Bruce, quite embarrassing some of it.
A number of the interviews really crossed the line, as some Newcastle United players were also willing to knock Rafa Benitez as well.
I still don’t know how they / he managed it but the first four months of Bruce’s reign saw decent Premier League results, incredible luck in so many games as the underlying stats were saying Newcastle should lose, yet winning and drawing so many with Steve Bruce stumbling from one decent result to the next. This despite Newcastle United regularly totally outplayed and having minimal chances, whilst the opposition had many, that luck, Dubravka, the woodwork and desperate last ditch defending somehow keeping the Brucey bandwagon rolling.
After 18 Premier League games Newcastle were already on 25 points when beating Palace on 21 December 2019, a typical match as Palace were by far the better team with better chances, only for Almiron to win it in the final few minutes with one of very few chances.
The Newcastle United players were pretty happy it seemed and why not, a winning team is a happy team and with seven wins and four draws in those first 18 PL matches, the squad would have known how fortunate the results had been and were unsustainable unless Steve Bruce changed or Mike Ashley changed Steve Bruce, but why rock the boat?
Going into Christmas 2019, Newcastle were ninth in the PL table and indeed only three points off fifth. What could possibly go wrong…? The legions of journalists and pundits who were mates with Steve Bruce, already with the cigars lit, celebrating the inevitable ‘doing better than Rafa Benitez’ in Bruce’s first season.
Reality caught up with Steve Bruce and the Newcastle United players.
As the luck has ran out, the low quality Bruce management has been ever further exposed.
Despite over £100m in net spend since Steve Bruce arrived, the team and indeed the Newcastle United players as individuals, looking worse and worse.
The good habits instilled in a lot of very average players by Rafa Benitez, being diluted more and more as they played under Steve Bruce.
This can be seen nowhere more so, than in defence, the highly drilled and disciplined unit that conceded the seventh least goals in both 2017/18 and 2018/19 under Rafa, has been replaced by a seventh worst one last season, now only West Brom have conceded more than Newcastle this season…
The wheels have really fell off the Steve Bruce bandwagon these past 14 months after that initial fortunate honeymoon period. The last 16 games (all competitions) seeing only two wins and a massive twelve defeats. Horrendous.
As I say though, this isn’t a sudden occurrence, no matter what the NUFC Head Coach will claim with ‘last few games’ or ‘recent results’ or whatever.
These last 45 Premier League games since Christmas 2019 have seen only 11 wins and a massive 27 defeats.
You are talking about these last 14 months seeing Newcastle win only 24% of PL games, which is seriously bad, BUT then when you consider it is 60% of PL matches lost in that time, quite unbelievable that Steve Bruce remains in the job.
What is no surprise is that the Newcastle United players, with rare exceptions, obviously have refused to be willing puppets for the Mike Ashley hierarchy, no longer happy to be sent out and tell the media about how brilliant Steve Bruce is. None of them shameless enough to still slag Rafa Benitez off, a manager who improved pretty much all of those who had been happy to do Ashley’s bidding and talk up Steve Bruce to an astonishing degree.
It is patently clear in February 2021, that the Newcastle United players have now lost any / all belief in Steve Bruce.
They realise how clueless the regime is and though I don’t think it is a case of lack of effort, it is clearly a lack of belief in what Steve Bruce is telling them to do.
Yes there might be a bit more pressing in recent games but why on earth would you try and do that away at the likes of Chelsea and Man Utd, yet not against the likes of Sheffield United and a weakened Championship side like Brentford when it would surely have brought wins and not defeats, against clearly weak sides?
There is no great plan on even how they approach defending and attacking at set-pieces, never mind a cohesive plan on 90 minutes of managing an entire game.
The Newcastle United players will have been embarrassed to hear the excuses Steve Bruce repeatedly comes out with, as the form line gets ever worse. It is never his fault.
Could this group of players do better under a different manager / head coach? Definitely.
Will a change be made in good time, if at all, so that a difference can be made? Definitely not.
Newcastle United’s Premier League status is yet again fragile but Mike Ashley may stick with Steve Bruce, even if Newcastle drop into the Championship, which is of course where Ashley found him in the first place.
Steve Bruce may well still be here next season regardless but whether or not Newcastle stay up, I can’t see the small group of better quality Newcastle United players all sticking around.
A club owned by Mike Ashley and managed by Steve Bruce? No thank you.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]