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Opinion

Steve Bruce wins third division of the Premier League on final day and wants open top bus

3 weeks ago
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Steve Bruce was predictably embarrassing on the final day of the season.

After beating a feeble Fulham side who didn’t even have a single shot on target despite dominating possession (64%), there was no stopping him.

The Newcastle United Head Coach talking about his ‘achievement’ of finishing twelfth and suggesting his critics should ‘eat humble pie’, in honour of him avoiding relegation or whatever.

I have to say that after having Alan Pardew at St James Park, I never dreamt I would see anybody come close to the silver haired one in terms of needing somebody to pass the sick bucket.

However, Steve Bruce has soared past Pardew at supersonic speed, what he says and what we see, are such totally different things.

Looking back, I think Alan Pardew was a model of restraint when put next to Steve Bruce.

Can you imagine what Steve Bruce would be like if he guided Newcastle United to fifth in the Premier League?

Well in his entire 23 year management career he has never even finished top nine, never mind fifth, in the Premier League, so I think we are quite safe from that.

Interesting to have a proper look at the final Premier League table because league positions can be quirky, it is the accumulation of points (as somebody kept saying this season) that is the all important thing:

As you can see, the reality is that we ended up with really four divisions within the Premier League this season, playing out their own competitions.

At the very top we had a one horse race, Man City on 86 points finishing 12 points clear of their rivals Man Utd.

At the very bottom, it was equally stark, three truly feeble teams that amassed only 77 points between them from a combined 114 PL matches, Fulham with 28 points and the other two even fewer.

The second and third divisions of the Premier League were a lot more hotly contested.

The second division seeing nine clubs competing this season, at least to some degree, for the European places.

Third to sixth only separated by four points in the final analysis, third to tenth with a ten point gap. Aston Villa a further four points detached from tenth but fully deserving to be grouped with those clubs, with a final 55 points total.

The fact that Aston Villa in eleventh were fully ten points ahead of the club in twelfth place, tells you everything.

Newcastle United in 12th place only six points in front of Burnley in 17th, indeed, on the final day of the season on Sunday, Newcastle could have ended up anywhere between twelfth and seventeenth.

When you see Steve Bruce getting so excited and dreaming of open top buses simply for getting 45 points and avoiding relegations, I think it is vital to look back on his management career.

In these 23 past years, Steve Bruce has only beaten 45 points in the Premier League on three occasions:

2010/11 – 47 points with Sunderland

2002/03 – 48 points with Birmingham

2003/04 – 50 points with Birmingham

That is it. Every other season 45 points or less in the Premier League, or managing in the Championship or League One.

In contrast, all five Sir Bobby Robson seasons he finished with 52 points or (a lot) more.

As for Kevin Keegan, the four seasons he started as NUFC manager the lowest number of points he had was 68, the season Kenny Dalglish finished off, KK managing 72 points or more in the other three.

The biggest reason why Newcastle United fans were so opposed to Steve Bruce managing the club was because his entire career said he was the wrong man for the job. Somebody who had spent his management career almost entirely either in the lower divisions (Championship and League One), or fighting against the drop out of the Premier League.

He is a small-time manager who hasn’t had a clue how to behave at the club he claims to support. Quite incredibly, his reaction in so many interviews has been to do Newcastle United down, by pitching us as small-time club it appears to keep him in his comfort zone.

Despite saying when he arrived at Newcastle United that this club should always be in the top ten and not fighting relegation, he has actually had the pundits and media so distorted on his side, that they even try to tell us that actually Steve Bruce is a massive success because Newcastle haven’t been relegated these past two seasons.

Newcastle United desperately need to get promoted from this third division of clubs getting 40 something points, into the second division of more than 50 points.

Is Steve Bruce the manager to do that? Well he has turned 60 now and has never every managed it in his entire management career, so I would think not.

Only once in 14 years of Mike Ashley ownership have Newcastle United got 50 points or more, that 2011/12 freak 65 points PL season.

So, I hate to say it, but if we once again have the dream team of Ashley and Bruce, Newcastle United won’t be competing to break into those clubs in that second division of the Premier League, instead it will be yet again just another survival attempt.

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