Graeme Souness asks key question of Steve Bruce and his Newcastle United team
Graeme Souness is a bit of an expert on the subject.
That subject being…failing to win matches and proving to be one of the worst managers that Newcastle fans have ever seen.
Indeed, many NUFC supporters would rate Graeme Souness at the very top of that list, though credit to Steve Bruce, his is doing everything he can to take the title away from Souness.
Graeme Souness was finally sacked on 2 February 2006 after a run of two wins in eleven Premier League games, with seven defeats and two draws.
Glenn Roeder stepped up from the coaching staff and with Alan Shearer acting as his number two whilst still playing, together they won 10 of the remaining 15 PL matches that season, taking Newcastle from 13th and five points off relegation when Graeme Souness left, right up to seventh place and only five points off a UEFA Cup spot and nine points off Champions League. Newcastle United actually ending up in the UEFA Cup the following season due to qualifying for the Intertoto and ‘winning’ it.
Graeme Souness undoubtedly inherited a better team at Newcastle than Steve Bruce did. However, Souness doesn’t even come close when we look at putting together an abysmal run of form.
When Newcastle United play Tottenham on 4 April 2021, the previous 113 days will have seen 20 matches played (all competitions) and Newcastle winning just two of them, with thirteen defeats and five draws.
Steve Bruce has no excuses…though it doesn’t stop him making them.
After the absolutely shocking feeble performance and result at Brighton, Steve Bruce once again refused to resign as he waits on a reported £4m pay-off if / when sacked. Mike Ashley’s people then briefing the media that he (Ashley) wasn’t going to sack him because of the ‘loyalty’ Steve Bruce has shown the owner.
Steve Bruce inherited a mid-table team that had finished 10th and 13th the previous two seasons, both times eleven points clear of the relegation zone and each time with the seventh best defence due to Rafa Benitez working so hard at putting together such a drilled and disciplined back line.
Despite being allowed a net £100m+ spend on the NUFC squad in his 20 months at the club, Steve Bruce has created a massive mess, Rafa’s defence turned into the seventh worst last season, whilst this time it is only Southampton outside the bottom two who have conceded more than Bruce’s Newcastle team. In Rafa’s final 16 PL matches his Newcastle team picked up the fifth highest number of points and scored the fifth highest total of goals, this season only Burnley outside the bottom three have conceded less than Bruce’s Newcastle.
Graeme Souness was in the Sky Sports studio for Saturday night’s match and it was quite hilarious at half-time. Souness couldn’t have been more scathing about Newcastle and quite clearly many / most of the comments made clear that whoever was NUFC manager, had a lot of questions to answer. If this had been some random manager in charge of Newcastle, he would have been named and shamed, absolutely slaughtered by Graeme Souness. However, due to the unwritten old pals act that exists between British past players and managers, Steve Bruce wasn’t even named, as I say above, it was hilarious that as he slaughtered Newcastle for that first half, he refused to state the obvious and name Bruce.
As it happened, the second half was arguably even worse from a Newcastle United (and Steve Bruce!) perspective.
Graeme Souness after the final whistle actually left with no alternative but to admit: ‘The buck stops with the manager, guaranteed.’
Although he also then did his best to try and put all the blame on the players, as well as indicating it would still be unfair to sack Steve Bruce (in Souness’ opinion).
With nine matches remaining, Graeme Souness declared: ‘I wouldn’t be confident about them winning another game’ as he summarised about Newcastle United.
After two wins in twenty and with the team looking arguably now the worst it has been all season, the fans think this is very likely. Yet at the same time, even if it went to two wins in twenty nine matches by the end of the season AND relegation, none of us are truly convinced that even then Mike Ashley would sack Steve Bruce and the Head Coach is most definitely not going to walk away without a massive pay-off, despite claiming to be a huge lifelong Newcastle United fan.
This is truly one messed up football club.
Graeme Souness talking to Sky Sports after Brighton 3 Newcastle 0:
“Newcastle right now, every game is a big game for them.
“They don’t have any easy games left, the way they’re playing and the appetite they’re showing.
“It’s worrying for them and Steve Bruce knows that.
“You can lose one way and you can lose by not having a go, and I think tonight, Bruce alluded to it, they went down without a fight, for me.
“The buck stops with the manager, guaranteed.
“I hate talking about managers losing their job, but I think under this owner they have, someone who is looking to sell the club, it is paramount that they stay in the Premier League.
“He won’t be looking at individuals, he won’t have any sympathy for individuals right now, he’ll be looking at his asset, what it is worth in the Premier League, and how attractive that is to potential buyers, compared to being in the Championship.
“I look at that group of players, and I wouldn’t be confident about them winning another game, if that’s their attitude tonight.
“They were going through the motions.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Brighton 3 Newcastle 0 – Saturday 20 March 8pm
Trossard 45+3, Welbeck 51, Maupay 68
(Half-time stats in brackets)
Possession was Brighton 66% (75%) Newcastle 34% (25%)
Total shots were Brighton 11 (7) Newcastle 3 (1)
Shots on target were Brighton 6 (3) Newcastle 1 (0)
Corners were Brighton 3 (1) Newcastle 1 (1)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Dubravka, Manquill0, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Willock (Murphy 62), Hayden (Hendrick 45+2), Shelvey, Almiron (Sean Longstaff 76), Fraser, Joelinton
Darlow, Ritchie, Lewis, Fernandez, Gayle, Carroll
(Sky Sports told that Mike Ashley is keeping Steve Bruce – Incredible reasons given to justify it – Read HERE)
(Brighton 3 Newcastle 0 – This was supposed to be a match report but in the circumstances…Read HERE)
(3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Brighton 3 Newcastle 0 – Read HERE)
(Newcastle fans group call for immediate Steve Bruce sacking after Brighton humiliation – Read HERE)
(Brighton 3 Newcastle 0 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)
(Brighton 3 Newcastle 0 – International breaks are prime time for sacking managers – Read HERE)
(Brighton 3 Newcastle 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s dismal defeat – Read HERE)
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