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Steve Bruce told his Newcastle United job is safe – Report

9 months ago
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Ahead of Sunday’s match at Old Trafford, we are told that Steve Bruce has been informed that his job is safe at Newcastle United.

This has been reported by the Chronicle, who claim that their information is that Mike Ashley has made clear he won’t be sacking the Newcastle United Head Coach.

The newspaper saying that this position will only potentially change if there becomes ‘any serious threat of the drop’ for Newcastle United.

Surely only at Newcastle, could such a statement be made by the media and the fans of the club don’t even raise an eyebrow, that statement made when Newcastle United are currently sitting fourth bottom of the Premier League…with only the three relegation places below them!

I say this because recognising danger and then doing something about it, haven’t exactly been strengths of Newcastle United under Mike Ashley.

The biggest threat to your job as manager (or head coach) of Newcastle United is not losing matches and / or being clueless, it is if you are ambitious and want to use your expertise to have a level of control so you can implement that ambition. This is evidenced these fourteen years by Mike Ashley forcing out Rafa Benitez, Kevin Keegan and Chris Hughton.

If you are totally team Ashley, a complete puppet, follow the owner’s script to the letter and don’t expect any power or control of your own when it comes to important decisions, it is very rare for you to lose your job. Seeing obvious danger developing has never moved to Mike Ashley, only when you are actually in major trouble has he ever really felt compelled to act.

For whatever bizarre reason(s), John Carver was given the job by Mike Ashley in December 2014, despite only two wins in a run of 19 matches that included 13 defeats, I don’t think Ashley even considered bringing in a replacement to try and ensure relegation was avoided. Instead, we had the total irony of Jonas Gutierrez, despite his abysmal treatment by Mike Ashley, on the final day of the 2014/15 season Jonas scoring in a man of the match performance to bring the win on the that at last ensured NUFC stayed up.

Whilst John Carver wasn’t then allowed to continue into the next season, Mike Ashley showed that he had learnt absolutely nothing in terms of the importance of the manager. Instead of accepting quality was most important rather than subservience, Ashley then appointed Steve McClaren.

McClaren had just been sacked by Championship club Derby County, yet Ashley put this latest puppet in position. The crazy Mike Ashley running of Newcastle United, summed up by appointing somebody so below the standard needed, yet spending more on players that summer (£55m) than had ever been spent in a single NUFC transfer window previously, then giving McClaren another £30m+ worth of signings in January 2016 to put that spending up to £85m+ in one season! Only at Newcastle United would an owner allow such (relative for NUFC) massive spending, yet keep the same failing and obviously not up to it Head Coach in place.

A run of only two wins in 17 Newcastle United matches from 19 December 2015 to 9 April 2016, saw the Magpies nosedive towards the Championship, with a losing mentality in place, 12 of the 17 games lost.

Mike Ashley leaving it far too late to sack Steve McClaren, only allowing Rafa Benitez 10 matches to save the situation. The first four of his ten games were part of that 17 match run that included only the two victories, the four matches kicking off away at soon to be champions Leicester and then a derby against Sunderland.

Even though Rafa turned results around and got three wins and three draws in Newcastle’s final six matches, Ashley leaving it so long had made it into an impossible job. Mike Ashley not accepting there was ‘any serious threat of the drop’ until far too late.

Back in 2008/09 it was the very same old story, Mike Ashley refusing to acknowledge the danger Newcastle United were in. It actually took a heart attack for Joe Kinnear to make the decision for Ashley, after a run of only two wins in fifteen matches for JFK, until he was taken ill ahead of the match at West Brom.

Failure to take decisive action even then, meant matters were further allowed to drift. Chris Hughton not given any proper authority and just left by Mike Ashley to get on with trying to put out a team that could get enough points to avoid disaster. Ashley not willing to make a decision of making a permanent appointment, just telling Hughton to go on game by game.

It ended up that Newcastle United went on a run of only one win in nineteen games between 26 December 2008 and 3 May 2009. Alan Shearer only brought in with eight games remaining and the final five of that 19 game run coming under him.

From a long way out, fans and media were talking about the second and third last matches being set to save Newcastle United, Middlesbrough were beaten 3-1 but only a 1-1 draw against Fulham would prove crucial, a terrible decision by the referee disallowing a winning Newcastle goal. The last day of the season at Villa when Newcastle only needed a point, ending in a 1-0 defeat thanks to a Duff deflected goal.

Decisive action and change of Head Coach in 2015 would have seen Newcastle safe long before that final day of the season, decisive action and a new manager of a certain level appointed early in both 2009 and 2016 would almost certainly have meant relegation avoided.

Which brings us back to Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce.

Steve Bruce is currently on a run of two wins (and eleven defeats) in fifteen games, very likely to become two wins and twelve defeats in sixteen matches, after Bruce returns to Old Trafford on Sunday.

Newcastle United would remain fourth bottom BUT be only three points clear of danger if Fulham win at home to Sheffield United on Saturday, the cottagers also having a better goal difference than NUFC.

Would Mike Ashley see ‘any serious threat of the drop’ if that is the case?

I honestly think not and even if Newcastle United end up dropping into the bottom three, I think there is every chance of the owner still not seeing it as the tipping point.

The very last point surely if Mike Ashley is going to bring in a decent manager to try and ensure safety, is when we get to the international break. That would be in five games time and would leave only nine matches to go, very much repeating what happened in 2009 and 2016.

My biggest fear though is that regardless of what happens in matches, no matter how low Newcastle United sink in the table, Mike Ashley would keep Steve Bruce on, even if United were relegated.

After all, if you are intent on bringing in a Championship level manager, why would you then ditch him if that is where you end up?

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