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Opinion

‘Steve Bruce interview – Why weren’t these questions asked?’

4 weeks ago
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Well, Steve Bruce appeared on BBC Radio Newcastle on Thursday night and I have to say, it was indeed the sanitised performance that I was expecting.

First of all, let me be clear, I didn’t expect any deep probing questions or any relevant inquisition into the inner workings of Steve Bruce’s match day thought process. And for that we can probably be thankful.

I also wasn’t expecting a line of questioning that pitted Head Coach against employer Mike Ashley, any fan that thought such a question would be asked was seriously deluded.

I’m highly critical of Steve Bruce but you don’t publicly and directly question your paymaster, no matter how much supporters clamour for it and that would indeed be unfair. What I can’t abide by though, is the lack of constructive criticism and it’s this we didn’t get.

Now Steve Bruce came out and stated that he hasn’t been forced to play Joelinton and this is good to know. It’s less convincing to me as an observer that the Head Coach has a handle on team selection and yet he has persisted with the said Brazilian duck egg for so long. Failure to ascertain that he wasn’t up to it sooner, is surely an easy spot for someone with 20 years plus in management.

Nobody asked the question regarding the fact that he has been afforded over £125m over two seasons and yet we have seen no progress whatsoever. This was an easy open goal and one that wasn’t taken up. Pundits in the studio also take note, unless you are too, also incompetent.

Furthermore, nobody pushed him to answer why players seem to drop like flies and miss matches due to being overplayed. Indeed, Florien Lejeune was mentioned but the question I would have been asking was why an injured player was ran into the ground to the state that his reputation was completely shot and had to be loaned out to recover said reputation.

Could someone not have asked why Fabian Schar and Ciaran Clark have now “been made available”. A major blunder in the making when considering that the preferred formation of Steve Bruce involves three centre backs and that three are being edged out? A bit of a risk, no?

No one pushed him on his record with player fitness or injuries over the course of his career. This is surely a massive failing on both the fans that called in and the media men and pundits in the studio. Mind you, former Newcastle United defender Steve Howey in the studio is a friend after all, so any serious interrogation akin to the one James Bond was handed out in Casino Royale by villain Le Chiffre, wasn’t likely to transpire. Being licked by cats was closer to the truth.

Missing was the prodding of Bruce’s (self-confessed) lack of tactical ability/knowledge. Surely it’s worth asking why a Head Coach of 20+ years standing has little to no implementation of such an important part of the game, even if others (Graeme Jones) may have been handed the responsibility. The question should have been along the lines of what the hell is the man of the moment even still at the club for.

Was in-game management mentioned? Don’t be silly. The use of substitutions wasn’t properly questioned and why strikers are overlooked when losing games, was criminally sidelined.

The gentle pundits in the studio may have asked if the mailbag at St James Park was as stuffed with positive fan mail as Steve Bruce has claimed and not with downright criticism that his tenure has deserved thus far. A blatant lie and a classic attempt at bulls.hitting the fans that he said he wouldn’t dream of doing very recently.

I would praise him for setting foot in the studio and standing in front of the firing squad of fan questions, if not for the fact that the firing squad were loading their guns with flowers and shouting “Peace and love” in the direction of the man that the word “calamity” and “disaster” were obvious words to fire in the direction of the condemned man. Although I suppose the purpose of the exercise was to make Steve Bruce look media friendly and competent.

Steve Bruce repeatedly answered fans’ questions with “That’s a good question”, probably relieved that it was likely vetted to be an easy ride and set up to be one that wasn’t taxing enough to be a criticism and not quite sanitised enough to be “What did you have for breakfast this morning?”.

In reality, he came across as he always does. A puppet with little or no say on anything important at the club and someone who raises questions as to why the hell he’s even there.

A metaphor for the club…

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