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John Barnes verdict on Steve Bruce as move into summer 2021

5 months ago

John Barnes has been asked his opinion of Steve Bruce.

Maybe the very leading question answers itself…

‘Onto your former club Newcastle.  Steve Bruce was able to lead his side out of the relegation dogfight and into a respectable 12th place finish as the Premier League season came to a close. Do you believe he deserves more credit?’

Isn’t it great when somebody like John Barnes is put forward as some kind of authority on Newcastle United, like he is past NUFC great with such a strong lasting bond with both supporters and club.

Instead of the facts, which are that he came to St James Park when he was 107 years old (ok, 34) to sign for his old mate Kenny Dalglish and played only 27 matches. To be fair he didn’t do too badly in his brief time on the pitch, certainly better than Ian Rush who was totally knackered by 1997, John Barnes scoring six goals.

How closely does John Barnes actually follow Newcastle United? Not at all I would imagine.

How much does he see of us actually play under Steve Bruce? Hardly at all beyond brief highlights I would think, maybe watching the full match when we play his team, Liverpool.

So when he is asked for his opinion…it is basically the same as every other uninformed / ignorant pundit, basically looking at the league table and saying ‘look, Newcastle didn’t get relegated, they even finished 12th’!!!

There is no nuance, no attention to detail, no concept of just how shocking the football has been under Steve Bruce 90% of the time.

John Barnes basically saying Steve Bruce has done as well as he possible could, that there can be no expectation of anything but relegation battles and hopeful survival due to Mike Ashley.

Ashley of course is the massive problem BUT Steve Bruce inherited a mid-table team from Rafa Benitez that had the eight best PL form in his final 28 games and fifth best form in his final 16 matches (also fifth highest number of PL goals in those final 16 Rafa games), Newcastle United were improving.

Then Steve Bruce comes in and has been allowed a net spend of over £100m, nobody would be saying Rafa had done as well as he possibly could have done, if he had stayed and had the same backing as Bruce has had in terms of spending on players.

John Barnes asked by

“Onto your former club Newcastle.

“Steve Bruce was able to lead his side out of the relegation dogfight and into a respectable 12th place finish as the Premier League season came to a close.

“Do you believe he deserves more credit?”

John Barnes:

“For where Newcastle are now, the next level for them is mid-table at this moment in time.

“If Mike Ashley sells the club and they get in somebody who the fans like and they spend more money on players then they can begin to move on.

“In the current climate, Steve Bruce is doing as well as any manager could.

“Newcastle shouldn’t be looking at the next level.

“They should be looking for stability and the best they can hope for is around mid-table.

“This season it was probably the best thing for them that there were no fans there.

“Fans would have been negative because of the way that they were playing and I could have seen them getting relegated.

“Unfortunately for Steve, as long as Mike Ashley is the owner, when the fans return there will be that negativity which will affect him and the team.”


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