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Opinion

Where is Steve Bruce?

4 weeks ago
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Has anybody seen Steve Bruce?

You know, that bloke who is in charge of the Newcastle United team and the only person allowed to speak in public on behalf of the football club.

I know he was here around the time of the final match of the 2020/21 season but has anybody seen or heard from him since?

I only ask because the Newcastle United squad are back at the training ground now this week, the training camp starts near York in five days time, the transfer window is now 29 days old, the first pre-season friendlies are in 11 days time, the new season is just over five weeks away and…this football club is an absolute mess.

I know we all just want to think about the Newcastle United takeover and believe that one morning we will awake to news that it has actually happened BUT the real world has to continue until that moment, if it ever arrives.

This close season has surely been the most desperate one ever. No matter what depths we have reached under Mike Ashley, I can’t remember a time when there has been such a zero communication summer, never mind the sheer lack of visible positive activity, particularly when it comes to the transfer market.

Even when Alan Pardew was here, the local newspapers were fed fairly regular quotes from the then manager / head coach, but this close season, absolutely nothing.

We have seen and heard nothing of Steve Bruce and with the mad way this football club is run…and despite promises from Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley…no communication via Bruce means no communication from anybody at NUFC.

Quite incredible Mike Ashley has now put the public release of the accounts even further back, until the end of July 2021 at the earliest. Remember, these are the accounts for 2019/20, two seasons ago!

The further delay on the publishing of the accounts kind of sums the club up at this moment in time, any hope of actual signing players pushed back until who knows when, even any public appearance of Steve Bruce pushed back until…who knows?

Maybe the cunning plan now is to have absolutely nobody at all speaking on behalf of NUFC, even Mike Ashley recognising that Steve Bruce just winds up the fans even further every time he speaks. I look forward to the first press conference of pre-season and instead of Bruce, there is just a cabbage sitting there to answer questions, or maybe Ashley and Bruce will just ban all journalists / media instead of just selected ones, so they don’t even have to bother with that minimal communication any more.

Yes we can all hope that these Mike Ashley legal moves with regard to arbitration and hopefully a takeover allowed to happen BUT there is a football club to be run in the meantime.

The club have released photos and video of the Newcastle players back at the training ground this week but Steve Bruce is notable by his absence.

I apologise in advance for bringing Rafa Benitez into this conversation but I’m afraid I have to.

Despite having Mike Ashley as owner still, when Rafa was here you felt he was throwing everything at the job, no half measures.

He didn’t walk away as the season ended but was instead personally involved in setting up new signings, arranging deals ready to go as soon as the transfer window opened. Of course, Mike Ashley repeatedly blocked these early deals of first choice Rafa targets, Newcastle missing out on getting the right players at the right price thanks to the Spaniard’s hard work and background graft. However, he was constantly on the go, trying to make things happen.

On the training pitch as well, seen as a meticulous workaholic, relentlessly preparing and drilling his players.

I just don’t get this with Steve Bruce.

Instead it all feels very laidback and things will happen when they happen.

Which at a club like Newcastle United, with an owner like Mike Ashley and relying on Lee Charnley as head of a skeleton staff, countless numbers of which are still on furlough (maybe that could explain Steve Bruce’s absence from work…).

I honestly can’t believe that any of the other 19 Premier League clubs has been so quiet and inactive as Newcastle United this summer. It just feels like there is a real malaise at the club, including the playing side, allowed to drift and no big detailed plan ahead of the new season.

It really does feel like Steve Bruce, Lee Charnley and whoever else, simply walked away at the end of last season and the only plan was…give all the players (Gayle, Dummett etc) new deals, then rely on the same players from 2020/21 to keep Newcastle United in the Premier League.

A total reliance on hoping there are three similarly terrible other teams as per last season (Fulham, West Brom, Sheffield United) and that a squad minus Joe Willock (the matches in which he scored his eight goals directly helped Newcastle pick up 17 of the 45 points they picked up all season).

Willock and Wilson scored between them 20 goals from only 66 shots, unbelievable really. Scoring so many despite such terrible service. With two own goals, only 24 other goals were by the rest of the entire NUFC squad.

To be sitting here now totally reliant on an injury prone Callum Wilson scoring the goals in 2021/22 is seriously worrying.

Can you imagine what Rafa Benitez will be like at Everton at the moment? I remember reading various pieces about Benitez at Newcastle, first at the training ground and last one out having worked until whenever.

I don’t think he was perfect and I don’t even see Rafa as the perfect choice for NUFC (if I / we had the choice) but he was somebody who was totally committed from day one at St James Park and somebody who knew that to make up for the embarrassing shambolic way Newcastle United operates under Mike Ashley, the club needs somebody as manager who gives far more to the job than is needed elsewhere.

I hope I’m wrong about Steve Bruce and he has been furiously working away behind the scenes and will turn up today at training with a minibus full of exciting new signings that he has personally arranged.

However, I also have another image, of Steve Bruce turning up (whenever) wearing flip flops and a massive Hawaiian shirt and eating a Greggs pasty, strolling into the training ground and asking ‘Has there much been happening lads…’

***By sheer coincidence, no sooner had I finished this article and sent it off to The Mag, I saw this on my Twitter timeline…

Hopefully you are now seeing the above, as I have asked The Mag to update the article. You have to laugh!!!

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