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Talksport presenter doesn’t let facts get in way of a good story with Steve Bruce

5 months ago
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Talksport are at it again.

The official radio station for all your Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce sympathetic PR spin…

Only 24 hours after that embarrassing Steve Bruce (unchallenged) ‘interview’, Talksport once again featuring cringeworthy Bruce content.

On Monday, it was presenter Jim White and guests (and Steve Bruce mates) Danny Murphy and Simon Jordan who facilitated a Steve Bruce presentation, which included all the usual stuff such as difficult to deal with the expectation of Newcastle fans, that ensures Bruce is reviled by the NUFC fanbase.

Now on Tuesday, there is a new Talksport line of attack to big up Steve Bruce.

Talksport presenter Alex Crook:

“I think the injuries are key [at Newcastle United].

“You look at the number of goals Callum Wilson has been involved in, clearly they’ve got a much better chance of winning matches and playing exciting football as they did against Leicester.

“Saint-Maximin is the same, he’s had injury problems and Covid issues, so I think there have been mitigating factors.

“It’s about perceptions because Steve Bruce has had an awful lot of negative headlines.

“Look at Scott Parker, I think he is great with the media and I think he has done an ok job at Fulham.

“However, the narrative seems to be will Fulham be able to keep Scott Parker?

The question should be do they want to keep Scott Parker…because he has overseen two relegations in three seasons.

“The narrative was, Fulham have been improving over the course of the season.

“They might have been improving in terms of performances but they haven’t really in terms of their results.

“They have been relegated comfortably with three matches to go.

“I do think that there is a fine line there and the fact that Scott Parker is maybe more pleasing on the eye, because he’s got a better dress sense than Steve Bruce, has almost given him a free pass at times.

“Ultimately, the ambition of Newcastle United and Mike Ashley is to stay in the Premier League.

“Steve Bruce has achieved that with games to spare, the height of their ambitions can’t go up all the time Ashley is in tenure.

“I still think the big problem with Newcastle is the owner as opposed to the manager.

“There is always going to be limitations on the man in the dugout because Ashley doesn’t want to make significant investment.”

I think this Talksport presenter is missing the most obvious thing.

It is possible to think / believe that Scott Parker has been given an easy ride by the media AND at the same time think that the criticism that has come the way of Steve Bruce has been entirely justified…or even, that the NUFC Head Coach has also had a seriously easy ride given to him, certainly by the media.

It is laughable when you see what Alex Scott had done / said, it is what Newcastle fans have become so used to with the media when they are dealing with / commenting on Steve Bruce. Instead of actually searching out the facts themselves (not exactly difficult), they instead simply take Bruce’s own spin on things as the accepted truth and lazily never even make the least attempt to challenge it.

Alex Scott repeats the Steve Bruce usual line about how massively affected Newcastle have been with injuries to attacking players, look at what Bruce said in Monday’s Talksport appearance and what the actual reality has been…

“But we have invested money on Almiron, Joelinton, Callum and Allan so there is our threat. Yes you can defend and we will always try to be a team that plays on the counter attack. But unfortunately we have been without them for too long at times.”

Yet again, Steve Bruce is allowed to go unchallenged, make this very misleading claim that Newcastle United have been massively handicapped by injuries to the four attacking players who cost the club £100m. In the 35 Premier League matchday squads this season, Callum Wilson has been in 27 of the 35 PL matchday squads, Miguel Almiron in 33 of the 35, ASM in 22 of the 35, Joelinton in 35 of 35.

Alex Scott says about the availability of Callum Wilson meaning: ‘they [Newcastle] have got a much better chance of winning matches and playing exciting football as they did against Leicester.’ If this is the case why was the exciting game against Leicester such a one-off??? Even if you were really generous you couldn’t find a full handful of Newcastle matches that could in any way be described as ‘exciting’ from a Newcastle United perspective. Even when playing the likes of Sheffield United, West Brom and a weakened Championship side like Brentford who had rested half their players, Steve Bruce had an over the top negative approach.

Yes we all know that Mike Ashley is the big / biggest problem at Newcastle United BUT that doesn’t absolve Steve Bruce of all blame or responsibility. Rafa Benitez was allowed absolutely (less than) zero net spend in his three years at St James Park, whilst Mike Ashley then has allowed Steve Bruce a net spend of over £100m.

When comparing Scott Parker and Steve Bruce with regard to the jobs they have done and what would have been fair expectations, it is ridiculous to think they started on a level playing field.

With such minimal support from Mike Ashley, Rafa Benitez put together a solid squad that had the seventh best defensive record in the Premier League in both 2017/18 and 2018/19. Solid mid-table finishes of 10th and 13th and indeed a rapid improving squad, as in his final 28 league matches Rafa’s team had the eighth best PL form, whilst in his final 16 PL matches it was the fifth best form in the division. Bruce then allowed by Ashley a net spend on new players of over £100m and a willingness to significantly increase the wage bill.

In contrast, Scott Parker had a total mess to sort out at Fulham when taking over back in 2019, the club all but already relegated, then dealing with a Championship season, before trying to build and prepare a squad for the step up to Premier League level. Compared to Steve Bruce’s £100m+ net spend, in the same time Scott Parker has been allowed only a £41m net spend (stat via Transfermarkt).

The reality is, staying in the Premier League would have been success for Scott Parker this season, whilst for Steve Bruce surely top half of the table should have been the target / ambition.

Fulham have only managed 27 points with three games remaining and that has to be seen as failure, to not even remotely make it a close thing in terms of survival / relegation.

Whilst for Steve Bruce, a desperate relegation battle for so long, which only came to an end due to Fulham collapsing and Newcastle finally winning a few matches (after a run of two wins in twenty one games), this also can only be described as failure. With the best NUFC squad since promotion four years ago and yet to still not have reached 40 points so far and to have produced such shocking football the vast majority of the time.

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