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Opinion

Why this Newcastle United relegation could be even worse than feared – Backwards under Bruce

1 month ago
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The position of Newcastle United in the Premier League is looking ever more perilous.

Thanks to poor form, improving rivals and a fractious dressing room, amongst other reasons, all compounding what was already a difficult season.

With a reported massive £6m+ sacking pay out if Steve Bruce is axed, it’s very possible that we might be stuck with him for another season yet.

If Newcastle United are relegated this season, that would make getting out of the Championship more difficult still.

Last time we were relegated, Rafa Benitez was given free rein to tear down and rebuild the squad to suit his own playing style.

This leads to two points.

Firstly, Steve Bruce is certainly not going to be given the same freedom Rafa was, not with Ashley looking to sell up and budgets strained by the lack of fans over the last 12 months.

Secondly, would we even want Bruce to have free reign?

The thought of a team specifically built for Bruce’s “tactics” sends a shudder down my spine, think formations at Sheffield with Fraser in midfield and playing five at the back against teams on 11 game losing runs shorn of confidence. Not the sort of tactics you want to battle out of the Championship with.

Rafa also brought star power to a club that already found it difficult to sign players due to the location of Newcastle, given the choice of a one club city up north with tens of thousands of (admittedly now jaded) fans, or a middle of the road club in central London, a good amount of prospective transfers will have their ticket to Heathrow already booked.

Without a world class manager (who was carelessly chucked away by an uncaring owner), trying to scrape any decent signings to rebuild an already threadbare squad is made even more of a challenge.

Bruce has also shaken up the dressing room…and not in a good way.

A well publicised clash with Matt Ritchie and continued concern for his sidelining of the Longstaff brothers, has certainly not won Steve Bruce any fans among the squad, although rumours that Matty Longstaff may return to the first team squad against Villa on Friday may allow that rift to start healing.

The fact of the matter is that without a united squad, progression will be hard to achieve.

All we can do is watch and hope and maybe Newcastle United will scrape though this season, or maybe not…

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