Steve Bruce forced to accept Graeme Jones transformation to background of stunning stats
To the bemusement of Newcastle fans, Graeme Jones arrived at St James Park on 27 January 2021.
With Newcastle United sinking ever further into relegation trouble under Steve Bruce, Mike Ashley refused to allow any more players to be bought in the mid-season transfer window.
Instead he allowed the £250,000 (compensation to Bournemouth) signing of Graeme Jones.
Initially, the most interesting thing Newcastle fans found about the deal, was that he wasn’t called Steve, like the rest of the senior coaching staff.
Things quickly shifted though into gear, as the first match after Graeme Jones had started work at the training ground, was at Goodison Park.
Newcastle United played in a different style and formation with team selection changes, a far better and convincing display, ending in a 2-0 surprise win, that happening after a horrendous run of form that had featured nine defeats and two draws in the previous eleven NUFC matches.
Graeme Jones was very prominent on the touchline throughout that Everton game, shouting instructions and encouraging the players. Just as noticeable was that he was doing this, while separately Steve Bruce and one or two of the other Steves would be seen having whispered conversations standing apart from Jones.
Newcastle fans gloried in giving credit for the win to Graeme Jones, Steve Bruce noticeably spikey when the media put it to him about the Jones influence instantly working. In the days that followed it was a big topic of conversation, especially with social media full of images from the touchline at Everton, where Steve Bruce appeared to be staring daggers at his new coach.
A follow up win looked very much on the cards as a midweek home match against fellow strugglers Palace looked a great opportunity, especially when Jonjo Shelvey gave Newcastle the lead in the first minute or two.
However, things fell apart more and more as the game went on, all a bit of a shambles in the end as Palace comfortable turned it around and won 2-1. Fans were full of the fact that Graeme Jones had been nowhere to be seen on the touchline, the consensus being that Steve Bruce hadn’t appreciated the praise and credit the new coach had got from both supporters and media, so he’d removed him from the touchline and banished him to the stands, away from the cameras / spotlight.
With Newcastle United now all but out of any relegation trouble, the subject of Graeme Jones has again cropped up.
Steve Bruce asked about the impact of the coach in the three months since his arrival, Bruce forced to accept that things have improved since Jones’ arrival BUT very keen to say that he is just part of a whole backroom team of coaches who have all worked very hard etc etc.
Now I don’t really believe in coincidences and this is one big…coincidence, if you believe in them.
In the 11 Newcastle United matches before Graeme Jones arrived:
Played 11 Won 0 Drawn 2 Lost 9 Goals For 5 Goals Against 21
In the 12 Newcastle United games since Graeme Jones arrived:
Played 12 Won 4 Drawn 4 Lost 4 Goals For 16 Goals Against 19
Newcastle United haven’t exactly turned into Brazil 1970 style BUT those stats above are staggering, plus the evidence of what we have seen with our own eyes.
Whilst Steve Bruce has constantly talked down his squad, for fans there has always been the belief that whilst they may not be world beaters, this Newcastle United squad were / are far better than they had shown under Steve Bruce AND how he talked about them. Even with injuries to key players at times, which all clubs get, Newcastle United should never have been on such a horrendous run of form as Steve Bruce had them sinking lower and lower, nor should they have been on the brink of relegation.
Steve Bruce hit so lucky last season in so many matches, where the points picked up so often defied logic as a negatively set up NUFC were dominated game after game.
Steve Bruce appears to have hit just as lucky this time, bringing in a coach in the nick of time, who had the expertise to point out so many obvious things that were going to end up relegating Newcastle, unless the necessary changes were made.
Steve Bruce asked about Graeme Jones impact ahead of match at Anfield:
“Well look, I appreciate his input…
“He has had an input into the team, which obviously, I was hoping for.
“Fresh ideas and a fresh voice on the training ground is never a bad thing.
“I must stress that he was always my number one choice.
“I did speak to two others but Graeme was the choice and I’m delighted.
“He has fitted in very well with the other lads [the other coaches, the other Steves] who work with him.
“All of my staff have worked tirelessly, especially in the situation we were in, to turn us around, and we are very pleased with his [Graeme Jones] input.”
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