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Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher call it on Steve Bruce’s position and other Newcastle United issues

1 month ago
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Monday night football saw Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher enjoying a very entertaining 2-2 draw at The Emirates.

Crystal Palace coming back to lead 2-1 after conceding early on, only to be denied by an equaliser deep into injury time.

Newcastle United fans watching on will not have had their spirits lifted by what they saw ahead of Saturday’s trip to Selhurst Park, as Palace look a team significantly transformed. A new manager appointed in Patrick Vieira this summer, then realistic intelligent spending with £50m spent on a trio of two very good centre-backs in Guehi and Andersen, plus striker Edouard who got the second Palace goal. With the loan signing of Conor Gallagher on top of that trio, Palace look a really decent side now and have lost only one of their last seven Premier League matches.

Anyway, despite the entertaining football on show, the real action for Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville was…Newcastle United.

The Sky Sports pair having a major discussion on NUFC ahead of watching the Arsenal v Palace game.

Gary Neville on Steve Bruce’s position:

“If this was any other industry, it will be classed as employment abuse as the employer would be in serious trouble. You have got to demonstrate decency – that’s not just the new owners at Newcastle, it’s the ones before who had him as a lamb to the slaughter or an umbrella to stop the rain coming on their heads.

“Think about it in your own walk of life – if you’re a lawyer, or an accountant or an electrician and you are being treated like this. Think about all the things that have happened in the last few weeks, the leaks, it is not fair on a brilliant man. A brilliant football man. A great player. A manager who has had 1,000 games – he deserves to be treated with decency.

“Steve Bruce will get the craic – if you are going to sack him, pay him up the full money, don’t resist it, do the right thing and move on. If you aren’t going to sack him, tell him and be clear so at least the fans can start having a go at you. Stop using Bruce as a shield for criticism at your football club.”

Jamie Carragher:

“I think the ownership have had a really poor week.

Newcastle supporters are delighted but the club have messed up the managerial situation. If you wanted to sack Steve Bruce, sack him. That was a mess.

“Also, they’ve got a lot of criticism in the press for human rights issues so what they’ve done is try to curry favour in the press with local journalists who know the area well. Feeding them information about how they are going to sack Steve Bruce. You don’t tell people a story like that about a man like Steve Bruce who has been in the game 25 years.

“If he’s getting abuse off the Newcastle crowd, that’s fair game, but an ownership shouldn’t be coming in and feeding stories. It’s a rocky road. As for when Steve Bruce goes, the journalists will be asking them questions about who is coming in next, and what about when that manager goes through a bad spell? They will always want to be drip-fed that information. You should come in as a proper organisation and run the business right from top to bottom.

“If that means getting rid of Steve Bruce, do it, and do it now or tomorrow. I just think the way they’ve gone about it hasn’t been a great start.”

Gary Neville (on whether Saudi Arabia / Saudi PIF should be allowed to own a Premier League club due to their human rights record):

“It’s complicated. There isn’t a right or wrong answer.

“Anyone who says they shouldn’t be allowed in, you can’t disagree or say ultimately they are wrong as there is no doubt Saudi Arabia has an appalling record on human rights. There has been change surrounding women partaking in economic life in recent years but it’s still well away from where it should be. There are things that they do which aren’t accepted in what would be a normal world. That is something that needs to change.

“Abu Dhabi own Manchester City and their record on human rights isn’t wonderful. Qatar are having a World Cup, Russia have had a World Cup, and we’ve seen countries like South Africa have major issues over the last 30 or 40 years. I do believe sport should be a force for good and political change – sport should rise above. The UK government has to work with Saudi Arabia to ensure they can improve their record. Sport can try and assist with societal change as I believe we should allow them on our side of the fence. We’re better off sat around the table to try and create change with these nations through sport rather than saying, ‘no, you are not coming in.’

“There has been more of a light shone on Saudi Arabia’s human rights issues in the last 10 or 15 years through sport. Saudi Arabia can’t ignore it. It’s surrounding us every single week through the ownership. It’s like Qatar having the World Cup – the light is shining on them so bright that they are having to make changes. Same with Abu Dhabi. You can say they are coming in and it’s sportswashing, and you can have that view – I’m not saying it’s wrong having that view – but I see it as it shines a light on them. It puts pressure on them to change.

“They are coming into the Premier League which is one of the strongest sports brands in the world and is watched everywhere. Everyone is talking about Saudi Arabia and the killing of the journalist, the human rights issues, the fact women aren’t treated right and the huge LGBT+ issues where some people are in jail. My opinion is I’d rather have them around the table to see them face-to-face to talk and challenge it.”

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