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Opinion

If Newcastle United sign a proper manager I’ll be back

2 weeks ago
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The 2020/21 rushes ever closer for Newcastle United.

The Euro 2020 finals have been a welcome distraction but we are now on the home stretch and you can’t help thinking occasionally about the return of proper football.

Well, I say proper football, what I mean is Newcastle United’s best attempt at it.

Which the vast majority of time under Steve Bruce has been pretty lame, a bit like his arduous press conferences.

It takes a real effort to get through them as a Newcastle United fan without putting a fist through your laptop screen, so you can only imagine what it must be like for the odd NUFC journalist with a bit of integrity who isn’t banned and still remains. Even if only on a zoom call, just imagine how difficult it must be listening to Bruce’s nonsense and having to refrain from laughing or shouting at him.

Back in the 90s, it was an integral part of the home match experience to rush down to the Newcastle Arms (or whichever post-match pub of your choice) and then pint(s) in hand wait for Kevin Keegan to speak after the game on TV. An amazing sight to see a packed pub full of half-p.ssed Geordies with the volume at ear splitting level as everyone competed to be heard in the post-match analysis frenzy, only to be hushed into total silence in a matter of a few seconds.

When Kevin Keegan appeared on screen, he had your absolute full attention. Anybody speaking in the pub whilst KK was, would be met with the kind of looks usually reserved for somebody swearing their head off during a funeral service.

He had our total respect, even the very odd time Newcastle lost, you were interested to hear what Keegan had to say. He was total honesty and you trusted him implicitly.

There have been ten managers during Mike Ashley’s reign:

Sam Allardyce

Kevin Keegan

Joe Kinnear

Alan Shearer

Chris Hughton

Alan Pardew

John Carver

Steve McClaren

Rafa Benitez

Steve Bruce

In terms of coming close to Kevin Keegan in my time watching Newcastle United, Sir Bobby Robson was the only one to come close in the pre-match silent pub and full attention stakes.

Under Mike Ashley, who out of the ten managers have been worth listening to in the various press conferences and interviews?

Kevin Keegan obviously, Alan Shearer of course in his brief eight match spell when he was handed a real poisoned chalice of trying to keep Newcastle up in near impossible circumstances, then Chris Hughton earned our respect and will always have credibility from his NUFC days.

Out of the other seven you then of course have Rafa Benitez but the other half dozen?

Fat Sam, JFK, John Carver, Alan Pardew, Steve McClaren and now, Steve Bruce.

What a load of….chancers.

Absolutely zero respect for any of them. John Carver is a massive Newcastle fan but he totally blew it, so desperate to stay in the job after getting the chance following the Pardew walk out, Carver would say and do literally anything to try and impress Mike Ashley.

Allardyce, Pardew, McClaren and Kinnear were all people who had zero affinity with the Newcastle United fans.

The self-proclaimed super Newcastle United fan Steve Bruce has managed to do the same…only far far worse.

It is one of the most bizarre set of circumstances when you have so many people such as Alan Shearer, Rob Lee and whoever, who are big mates with Steve Bruce, so clearly he is far different in his personal life than what we see. As a Newcastle United supporter I have never seen anything from Bruce that makes me think he’s a canny bloke who I would fancy having a pint with, I’ve never felt anything where I could identify with him. Quite the opposite in fact. Considering the way he has talked about Newcastle United fans during his near two years at St James Park, I find it very hard to believe he really is one as well.

Anyway, though it helps, it isn’t essential for you to like your manager, if they have other qualities that make them ideal for the job. With Steve Bruce, I don’t see anything else. Well, nothing good anyway, just somebody blundering about who hasn’t got a clue, who gets things right very occasionally purely by chance.

I have never been back to St James Park since Rafa Benitez left. It wasn’t that I thought Rafa was the only one for the job but when Steve Bruce was appointed that was it. If a credible Newcastle United boss had been appointed, I would have continued to go, but with Bruce in the job and Ashley still owner, no chance.

Benitez wasn’t my ideal kind of Newcastle United manager in terms of style of play BUT he was perfect to get this club sorted from the bottom and operating properly. He had our respect, Rafa Benitez proved to me that whilst Mike Ashley is a horrendous football club owner, if you have a credible manager then they can form a triangular relationship with players and fans, that allows you to put Ashley to one side and be able to still support the team and club (to a degree).

With Steve Bruce I just feel embarrassed to be a Newcastle United fan. We all knew he was Mike Ashley’s stooge / patsy, somebody clearly not good enough for the job and largely chosen for that purpose, so grateful to get the job he agreed to take it on any terms.

Very quickly we heard Steve Bruce crawling all over Mike Ashley and covering for him at every opportunity. The Rafa triangle with players and fans was broken, Ashley and Bruce even getting some players to do interviews claiming how great everything was now, much better than when Rafa was there. Totally embarrassing, check back on the interviews and you will find which current squad members were happy to shame themselves.

So, if Newcastle United sign a proper manager I’ll be back.

Yes I know Mike Ashley is a monster and there is nothing I would like more than to see him gone. However, I do also want to go and watch Newcastle United play and need a reason to return.

The fact that Newcastle have had ten different managers (and head coaches) from summer 2007 onwards, shows just how easy it is to change managers compared to changing owners.

I dream of the day Ashley walks away but in the meantime my hopes rest on Steve Bruce exiting St James Park, if he goes then I will go (back and watch my team play) but only if it is a credible appointment that I can respect.

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