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Steve Bruce media friends rush to rescue as they move goalposts on measuring success

5 months ago
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How do you measure success at St James Park for Steve Bruce?

Well when he arrived in July 2019 the then new Head Coach said that it wasn’t acceptable for Newcastle United to see avoiding relegation as any kind of success.

Instead, Steve Bruce said that the aim had to be top ten finishes and having a real go at the domestic cup competitions.

Moving forward 19 months and having had a net spend of over £100m on the Newcastle United team / squad, what is the measurement of ‘success’ now?

Well, these last three seasons since Newcastle United were promoted in 2017, they have accumulated 44, 45 and 44 points, with Premier League placings of 10th, 13th and 13th.

I think any fair and reasonable person would be saying ‘success’ would need a small improvement as the very minimum, so at least three points (an extra win) more (48 points or more), which would give another mid-table league finish, though inching up in terms of points.

As for what would be deemed kind of acceptable, I think another season of 44 or 45 points. Anything less than that, particularly when you take into consideration a £100m+ net spend on players these past 19 months, would have to be considered failure.

Apparently not.

As Steve Bruce and his Newcastle team have done progressively worse and worse over the course of the season, Bruce’s friends in the media have conveniently kept moving the goalposts.

Finishing top half was swiftly forgotten about and after a horrendous 16 match run featuring 12 defeats and only two defeats (and two draws), those goalposts are almost out of sight.

We have seen some very embarrassing defences / justifications for Steve Bruce from journalists and pundits in recent weeks and months in particular. However, this is an absolute classic in terms of resetting ‘success’ for Bruce at NUFC.

Luke Edwards covers Newcastle United for The Telegraph and has came out with the following on Saturday via Twitter, ahead of Newcastle v Wolves:

‘It is now or never for Steve Bruce as Newcastle enter crucial season within a season

‘He either silences his critics or he justifies them…this run [Newcastle next play Wolves, West Brom, Aston Villa, Brighton, Spurs and Burnley] will either keep him at Newcastle United or lose him his job

‘This is sort of exciting in its own way.

‘After so many weeks or bickering and arguing, we are going to be able to settle the argument.

Fail and he loses his job, succeed and we can carry on doing all this at the start of next season too.’

Hmmm, the phrase that absolutely jumps out is: ‘He either silences his critics or he justifies them…’, what would you say Steve Bruce needs to do where ‘silences his critics’ could be fairly used to describe his performance this season?

Where would you draw the line?

Well silencing critics you surely have to go back to where the goalposts were originally, getting more points than Newcastle have managed these last few seasons. That would need 21 points from these final 13 Premier League matches. After picking up only 8 from the last potential 42, now getting 21 from a potential 39, looks ‘unlikely’ to say the least. Amusingly / ironically though, that is exactly what Rafa Benitez did in his final 13 Newcastle games, six wins and three draws giving NUFC 21 points.

What certainly doesn’t justify claims of silencing the critics is if Steve Bruce and Newcastle survive by default just because there are at least three woeful teams. Finishing on say 35 points and not relegated, would be absolutely nothing to be claiming as a ‘success’ for Steve Bruce and his pundit / journalist friends.

Even for the season to be seen as in any way respectable, you have to be getting 40+ points as an absolute starting point.

Yes, avoiding relegation would be a relief after the position Steve Bruce has dragged Newcastle down to, BUT he is absolutely justifying his critics unless getting up to 40+ points and in reality, at least match the 43 or 44 points of recent seasons.

To be honest, the shocking football the Newcastle fans have had to endure and the sheer embarrassment of what he has came out with in press conferences and interviews, means in reality that it is only points that can save him from being seen as a total joke and failure in his time at St James Park.

The goalposts can’t be pushed any further, they are already way beyond any measurement of credibility.

All credit to his journalist and pundit mates for their blind devotion and the embarrassing lengths they have gone to, but this is the end of the line for Steve Bruce, he either matches or betters those 21 points Rafa accumulated in his final 13 matches, or he has failed in the eyes of Newcastle fans and any rational neutral.

Before coming to Newcastle United, you had to go back to 2010/11 for the last time Steve Bruce managed more than 37 points in the Premier League. Only three times in his entire management career has Steve Bruce even beaten that bare minimum ok 45 points Rafa Benitez got at Newcastle in 2018/19, Bruce’s greatest management seasons bringing 50 points (2003/04), 48 points (2002/03) and 47 points (2010/11).

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