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Sky Sports verdict as Mike Ashley leaves change too late “Newcastle supporters are petrified”

5 months ago
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Sky Sports have been looking at the precarious position Newcastle United find themselves in.

If Fulham beat Crystal Palace and Wolves win at Newcastle United, Steve Bruce and his team will be in the relegation zone with 12 games remaining.

Keith Downie covers Newcastle United for Sky Sports and has declared: ‘It’s amazing how quickly things have turned.’

The Sky Sports man does though acknowledge that Newcastle fans have been ringing the alarm bells for a long long time.

If Newcastle lose to Wolves, it would be a three month run of 17 games, 13 defeats, two draws, only two wins. This has been coming for a long long time.

Indeed, most Newcastle fans have been concerned from the very start, horrified that Mike Ashley was yet again employing a desperate puppet who would take the job with any conditions attached.

Steve Bruce plucked from the lower divisions, just as had been the case with the likes of Steve McClaren and Alan Pardew. Only incredible Bruce luck, dogged defending and the brilliance of Dubravka kept Newcastle out of relegation trouble last season.

A similar story in the opening months of this season, only with Darlow in goal instead.

However, as well as a feeble goal return, Steve Bruce has now turned Newcastle United into the second worst in the Premier League, only West Brom having conceded more.

Keith Downie says ‘Newcastle supporters are petrified’, no wonder with Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce in charge.

Keith Downie covers Newcastle United for Sky Sports and has been talking about how sees the threat of relegation, speaking on Sky’s Pitch to Post podcast:

“I think it’s fair to say that Newcastle supporters are petrified.

“Their worry has been increasing week on week as Fulham have been picking up results…it’s Fulham’s run that is the concern.

“The gap is now three points and Newcastle could be in the bottom three this weekend. That’s how serious it has become. It’s amazing how quickly things have turned.

“Newcastle supporters will tell you, ‘Don’t say we haven’t warned you’.

“There’s a real concern from the fans – and they used this term quite often – that Newcastle are sleepwalking towards relegation.

“Steve Bruce said he was “quietly confident” he would keep the side up. I do not think the Newcastle supporters have the same belief.

“If you look back to 2016, Newcastle supporters felt the club left it far too late to replace Steve McClaren, who was really struggling. Rafa Benitez didn’t have enough time to turn things around and they were relegated.

“I think the fans are seeing a lot of parallels this season. They said for weeks that McClaren had to go but the club waited and waited and Mike Ashley dug his heels in.

“The biggest issue is who would take over? I’m not sure there’s anyone who stands out who would come in until the end of the season?

I couldn’t see Newcastle paying off Bruce and then throwing money at a new manager to come in [in the short-term].

“I’ve said all along, as long as Newcastle stay out of the bottom three, Bruce will stay at the helm. But it would not surprise me, even if they did slip into the bottom three, for Ashley to stick with Bruce because he has been loyal.

“The supporters think he’s gambling on the short-term future of the club with Bruce and it will be interesting to see what the next couple of weeks brings.”

Will Newcastle survive?

“It’s going to be tight. They’ve got Fulham at Craven Cottage on the last day of the season. 

“I think they’ve probably just got enough in terms of the players they have; I think they should be higher in the league than they are with the players they’ve got. I don’t buy this argument that Newcastle are a 17th-placed club. They’ve got Miguel Almiron, Allan Saint-Maximin, Wilson, Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey… good players. They should be, in my mind, 12th or 13th.

“The striking issue is a real concern – we’ll see when he [Callum Wilson] returns – but the biggest issue at the moment is the form of Fulham. They’ve got the bit between their teeth and they’re growing in confidence.

“Bruce has said ‘quietly confident’; I don’t think I would use the word ‘confident’ at all but I think they’ll probably do just enough to stay up.”

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