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Opinion

‘Please, Steve. You don’t need this stick. Please just go.’

5 months ago
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Hasn’t he gone yet?

I don’t care how it happens (resignation or sacking) – but why hasn’t Steve Bruce gone yet?

Is this some bizarre spiteful joke by the Fat Controller on the Geordie nation?

I suspect not, because relegation looms – and it’s not just the Faithful that sees that now.

And relegation affects the value of the club which is what Cashley is concerned with. Whether or not it is worth £350m now, it will certainly not be worth that with Championship related income streams – and regular attendances in the 20,000 range.

So why hasn’t he gone yet?

Perhaps the key reason is the lack of crowds.

If there is anyone who has benefitted from closed stadia it is Steve Bruce. Surrounded by his sycophantic press, head buried in his bucket of sand (which he’s renamed ‘encouraging signs’ in a weird Edward de Bono style of positive reinforcement) he’s been able to downplay the very real anger felt by 95% of supporters at the very real mess he’s made of things.

Dismissing criticism as the work of a very few ‘keyboard warriors’, it will be interesting to see his reaction to the boos and likely thrown cabbages which will be the inevitable impact of letting fans back into the stadium.

Perhaps he can convince Cashley to continue to ban fans from the stadium after lockdown like he has banned the critical press?

Other than that, let’s all face it – his position is untenable. Whether we go down seems to be down to whether there are three teams worse than us and not whether we can ‘pull things around’. He is a footballing dinosaur. The fans won’t forget. He’s not going to pull this around (aka Alex Ferguson in 1986). He has not got the skills or the team to do so – and has had nearly 20 months so far and has to date shown no signs of inspiration (or tactical ability).

So the question is when, not if. And that ‘when’ is important – because it may be critical in whether or not we are playing Championship football next season.

To be clear, with Bruce in charge, I am with the bookies – we are now odds on for that third relegation slot. And this is nothing to do with the injuries. Wilson and Almiron at least were not injured from 6th November through to February when we lost 14 times out of 20 starts. THAT is why we will go down, not the six or so games when we will be without Wilson, Almiron or ASM in this current period.

So is relegation inevitable? I’d say not yet. This is a very poor league at the bottom.

So first off – kick out Steve Bruce. Give Graeme Jones a chance. Since he’s arrived there have been encouraging signs… so give him his chance. This may be wishful thinking but he seems to have precipitated a more organised and attacking style of football. At the least, maybe we will go down fighting.

In the background, look to a young, keen (and ideally, for me, foreign) manager. Probably untried in the big time and looking for an opportunity (because lets face it, which established manager would work for Ashley?). Perhaps this will be unnecessary if Jones can pull it off – but frankly it would be good to see a plan.

And then it’s crossed fingers time.

Some might suggest another year in the Championship might be a good thing to encourage Ashley to sell up. I’m not in that camp – he doesn’t need the money and will not accept a big loss. So a relegation will not get rid of him. And under Ashley, what chance on us coming straight back up?

With 11 games to go, we are in the last chance saloon.

Please, Steve. Everyone says you are a nice guy. You don’t need this stick. Please just go.

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