Steve Bruce resting in Portugal as Mike Ashley reminds him of reality with Newcastle a shambles
Yet another ‘interesting’ day for Newcastle United fans, as Steve Bruce had his holiday rudely interrupted by Mike Ashley.
Most of that crass statement obviously aimed at supposedly putting Newcastle United fans in their place, though the Head Coach clearly also on the receiving end…
Tuesday’s deadline day ended with zero additions to the signing of Joe Willock, not even a single loan deal allowed.
Various media / journalists making clear that their understanding is that Steve Bruce was far from happy with this lack of support on further strengthening of the NUFC first team squad.
A couple of relevant extracts from that Mike Ashley statement yesterday (Friday 3 September 2021):
‘Once it was confirmed that the player [Joe Willock] would be available on a permanent deal, a collaborative decision was taken to pursue this option. All parties were aware as to the implications for further squad consolidation, with the collective view being that securing Joe Willock was the right priority. There was a shared understanding that further additions to the playing squad would be heavily influenced by player trading, both in terms of available funds and space in the squad.’
‘Since summer 2019, the club has made nine permanent signings and taken five players on loan. Our net spend over this period is c£120m* (£160m spent on players and £40m received from sales). We have delivered on our commitment to spending what we have, and indeed because of our business this summer, have spent more to secure our primary target. To suggest otherwise is misleading and claims that money has been taken out of the club are wholly untrue.’
So, Mike Ashley saying Steve Bruce was part of the decision making process when buying Joe Willock and that he (Bruce) knew that by purchasing the Arsenal player, it would effectively mean there would be no more signings allowed, even loan players, unless other existing players were sold.
Then you have the Mike Ashley pointed claim that Steve Bruce has been backed with £160m worth of players since he arrived 26 months ago, with £40m worth of sales from departing players. The £40m of sales will include the £30m for Ayoze Perez and £2m for Joselu, both who were sold between Rafa Benitez forced out and Steve Bruce appointed.
As for the £160m though, since Steve Bruce arrived the nine permanent signings have been Joelinton (£40m), ASM (£20m), Krafth (£5m), Andy Carroll, Mark Gillespie, Ryan Fraser, Jeff Hendrick (all four on frees), Callum Wilson (£20m), Jamal Lewis (£15m) and Joe Willock (£25m). Those nine totals adding up to £125m, so not sure what the extra £35m is for, would have been handy if someone / anyone had been able to ask questions of Mike Ashley or one of his minions as to exactly how these figures are arrived at, as well as everything else in the statement…
The whole thing is obviously a joke, a public statement released by Mike Ashley, attacking the Head Coach and the fans, at a time when Newcastle have lost three and got one draw in their opening four games, out of the League Cup and only one point from nine in the league.
As for Steve Bruce deciding that this was an ideal time to reward himself with a holiday in Portugal, at a time when his team have looked a complete shambles in much of these opening four matches (conceding eight goals in three PL games and looking all over the place defensively), it is quite astonishing.
Ironically, none of the five Newcastle players on international duty (Fraser, Lewis, Krafth, Schar, Hendrick) are first choice players, so I think the expectation of NUFC fans would have been to see extra time spent on the training pitch to get the side whipped into shape, especially when it comes to organisation and defending as a team. Not a time for a holiday for Steve Bruce and the players.
None of this a surprise though, after Danny Rose kindly gave us all this insight 16 months ago as to what life was like as a player under Steve Bruce, compared to what he’d previously experienced.
Danny Rose talking about how strict (or not…) managers can be, to The Lockdown Tactics podcast – 20 May 2020:
“I heard [Antonio] Conte had a strict regime when he came in at Chelsea, I heard that he wasn’t willing to compromise in any shape or form.
“Even [at Tottenham] under Poch [Mauricio Pochettino], he had a different culture to the British.
“It wasn’t that he didn’t understand it, you [he] know the British like to have a drink, it was just something he couldn’t get his head around.
“Even after we beat Ajax in the Champions League semi-final and it was obviously the biggest night of our careers, on the flight home we weren’t allowed a drink.
“It was ‘no you are training tomorrow, you are up at 9am’….so it is just one of those things.
“He was like ‘no we have got a game on Saturday’ – the night was over.
“I do fully respect what he [Pochettino] has done but at the same time, with that Champions League semi-final we had been together since we were 22 or 23.
“So for me, that’s all I’d known for the past five or six years, you would play and then get one day off if you are lucky and that’s it, you’re grafting for the rest of the week.
“So now I’m at Newcastle [with Steve Bruce], you are getting two or three days off a week if you win.
“So I’m thinking what’s going on here then?
“It’s a shock to the system.
“We would only get one day off if we were lucky under Poch.
“Even in international breaks, he would see the ones who would go away as having a holiday because training isn’t as hard with your national team.”
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