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Bruce Manager of NUFC


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He's just another Pardew for me.  Didn't like the fucker before he came here, didn't like him when he was here, and I'll continue disliking him after he's left.   Just another snidey snake i

i'm going to explain to you where you're going wrong here, although god only knows why i should need to....   you (and no doubt many others in the putrid facebook/twitter world of the termin

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As you'd expect, he gives Bruce a light touch.

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This hurts. It hurts the eyes, it hurts the heart and it hurts the soul.

Newcastle United are a difficult club; to watch, to be around and to manage and so this is a difficult column to write, because it blurs a few lines in my personal and professional existence. They’re the team I support and the team I played for and now my job is to analyse, to say it as I see it. What I see – and what I feel – is an emptiness, a club that simply exists.

What I saw against Sheffield United the other night was barely even that. Did anybody check for a pulse? Facing a team that are rock bottom of the Premier League, that had failed to win all season, Newcastle were bloody awful. There’s no getting away from it — that first half was as bad as it gets, compounded when Ryan Fraser was sent off for two pathetic yellow cards, two nonsense tackles. The players have to take some responsibility, but there are no excuses.

Newcastle remain 15th in the table, eight points off the bottom three. They are in a run of eight games without a victory, a sequence which has seen them get thrashed 5-2 by Leeds United, draw with Fulham, lose to Sheffield United and go out of both domestic cup competitions, including a dismal defeat by Brentford. They have also played Manchester City, Liverpool and Leicester City, but it leaves Steve Bruce under massive pressure from an angry and anguished fanbase.

None of that helps my own discomfort because the head coach — yes, head coach, not manager —  is a friend of mine and the same goes for Steve Harper, the first-team coach. I know the human beings behind the titles and so I know how much they care, how desperate they are to do well, how much they and their families feel it, too. To repeat: Newcastle are a difficult club, largely because of their difficult owner, and if this difficult column has a point, it is to explain that difficulty and put it into context. Like I said, it hurts.

For those of you who are not Newcastle fans, perhaps you see a club that is relatively stable, financially secure, unlikely to go down, middle of the road. Perhaps you hear all this noise around it, these howls of disapproval at Mike Ashley, at the way the team are playing. Perhaps you read about supporters being permanently in revolt, harking back to other eras, demanding the impossible. And perhaps you ask yourself: what the hell is this?

The reality is different. There is no expectation of success at Newcastle. We haven’t won anything of note since 1969 and we haven’t won a domestic trophy since the FA Cup in 1955. Jesus Christ — 1955! The “deluded Geordie expectation” is one of those great footballing myths. But this is no longer the same club that I captained, where I played alongside Rob Lee, Les Ferdinand, David Ginola, that was managed by Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson. This is no longer a club of ambition.

So why the discord, why that noise? And the answer to that is hope. Newcastle supporters want hope. They want a bit of their club back, rather than this hollow, shallow, lifeless, soulless shell. That hope has gone and it has been ground out of them by an ownership that has different thoughts and ideas and different ambitions, if you can call it that. You need something to believe in, to buy into, a grand plan, a dream, a concept. You want it to represent you.

Newcastle do not do that and it’s probably lost them a generation of fans, people who have thought over the last decade and more, ‘I’ve had enough of this. I don’t enjoy it any more’. All of us know men and women like that. At a club which is known for its loud and passionate support, 10,000 part season tickets were given away last season. I tell myself not to — there is no worth in looking back — but it’s hard not to contrast it with the (relatively) recent past, when a horde clamoured to get in.

There have been too many bad decisions to go into, but it explains why there was so much excitement about a takeover last year, about the prospect of something, anything, different. Hope will not return — not in any meaningful way — until there’s a change at the top of the club, whose stadium and training ground is beginning to look tatty and old. And because that change did not happen, this season has felt like the worst of hangovers, when everybody is tired and irritable.

The football, by and large, has followed suit. Newcastle are not a good watch, to put it mildly. They haven’t been for a long while. And so they haven’t changed the mood or the story. Given everything he had to deal with, with the circumstances he walked into — a feeling of depression, a lack of goals, the lack of a striker — Steve deserved credit last season, particularly in terms of where they finished, but it is not a team which provides uplift.

There should be some mitigation this time, as well — COVID-19, the number of games, the lack of pre-season — and what really irks me is how little protection Steve has received from the people above him. Where is Lee Charnley (the managing director)? What happened to that statement of his where he admitted the error of not communicating with fans? Where is his backing for the manager? Where is the strategy? Come on, Lee, where are you? Where is anyone, aside from Steve?

I suppose I should clarify this isn’t something I’ve spoken to Steve about and I wouldn’t want to. When we have conversations now it’s not about formations or results, it’s ‘How’s things, what are you up to?’ But I can’t believe he’s having to deal with questions about furloughing staff, giving tickets away, about coronavirus, about a takeover. These shouldn’t be issues for the manager. It’s a tough and lonely enough job as it is. The point is, he’s on his own.

And this was why I said at the time that I wish Steve hadn’t replaced Rafa Benitez, that I had grave reservations about what might happen down the road. The road leads here. It would have been the same if somebody else had come in and it will be the same for the next manager and the one after that if nothing else changes, because it’s the way Newcastle are built under Ashley. The manager takes it all on his shoulders; a concentration of anger, stretching back years.

The fact that Rafa left for the reasons he did, tells you what a difficult club it is, but Steve wanted to manage Newcastle and I respected that and left him to it. I can certainly understand it. I had two months in the role in 2009 and my experience of the dysfunction was limited to hearing about how happy they were with me, to making plans for the future, to never hearing back from them again. No phone call, no postcard, no flowers. I can laugh about it now. I wasn’t laughing then.

I never got to experience their transfer policy or their interesting approach to recruitment; when Steve walked in, Newcastle were already committed to signing Joelinton at a cost of £40 million. That tells you something, too. And it tells you something else that Joelinton and Miguel Almiron — more than £60 million of forwards — stayed on the substitutes bench at Bramall Lane, when the team were desperate for a goal and for a win that did not come.

Once you’re in a rut it’s difficult to shake yourself loose, so there has to be concern about the run we’re on, although I still think we’ll have enough to avoid relegation. The fact I’m even writing that is part of the issue. When Steve said not too long ago that his remit was to keep the team up, he didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know, but hearing it is painful, demoralising, horrible. For a club like Newcastle, just to survive …

In most regards, I’m the same as any other fan, barring that I’ve got a couple of pals on the coaching staff. I’m longing for us to do well, to bring in reinforcements, for some legs in midfield, for some attacking football, that bit of creativity. I’m well aware that everything I say about the club is magnified because of my history there, but Steve has chosen one life and I’ve chosen another and I also have to be critical and analytical and true to myself.

Steve did say he was going to take the cups seriously and he has put stronger teams out, but this idea that getting to a couple of quarter-finals should be ranked as an achievement? Goodness me, that’s how it’s bad it’s become. And what didn’t help his cause is that performance against Championship Brentford when Newcastle went out so meekly, with no fight at all. The one or two positive signs — like getting further up the pitch — are blown away.

When it’s crap I’ll say it’s crap — I wouldn’t be doing my job otherwise — and Sheffield United was a dreadful night. I don’t think Newcastle have a brilliant squad, but for Chris Wilder’s team to have as much possession as they did, to look as good as they did, is not acceptable. It invites scrutiny and invites pressure and it fuels the anger. You have to accept the criticism coming your way and Steve has been in the game long enough to understand that.

This is not the Newcastle United we all want and this is not the Newcastle United we should accept and that’s why there’s so much disappointment and disquiet and hurt. That’s why the manager always becomes the focal point. It’s a club which has no real relationship with its supporters. It’s a club that’s creaking, that’s existing and very little else. It needs hope again. It needs love.

 

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2 hours ago, essembeeofsunderland said:

Who the fuck mentioned 1985? I mean the year we took it,TOOK IT !!!! 

Poor essembee has been taking the fulwell for fifty years now. (Time to stand down now, soldier and return to headquarters. Mission accomplished and home for bacon and eggs). :good:

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Hes right in that it'll just be rinse and repeat next time and the time after that. It still ultimately all falls on Ashley. Bruce was just another one desperate to get his hands on the rudder for as long as he could. 

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6 hours ago, Howmanheyman said:

Poor essembee has been taking the fulwell for fifty years now. (Time to stand down now, soldier and return to headquarters. Mission accomplished and home for bacon and eggs). :good:

Impossible to switch off in my line of business.Took the bastard good and proper in 1970.Too shameful for the makems to discuss on rtg.

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3 hours ago, Dr Gloom said:

If we’re lucky 

 

99AD6D09-0C0F-440C-B856-69D90FAC2763.jpeg

I genuinely thought he was dead ...

 

 

 

 

 

... not that being dead would make him worse than the current cabbage.

Edited by RobinRobin
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49 minutes ago, essembeeofsunderland said:

Sherwood,Wise or some other cockney bastard probably.

Fucking hell if it was Sherwood that would be terrible.

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15 hours ago, Ayatollah Hermione said:

He’s not wrong that the responsibility is ultimately Ashley’s but absolving any manager of any wrong doing just because the owner is a cunt seems ridiculous to me.

 

He's not exactly absolving him by suggesting that anyone working under Ashley is not the root cause of the overall problem.

 

That said Bruce is a root cause to different problem, so even with the other constraints at the club he has to be held responsible for the football being as terrible as it consistently is since his arrival.

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1 minute ago, OTF said:

Fucking hell if it was Sherwood that would be terrible.

It would ,but we currently have ‘one of us’ so maybe ‘one of his ‘.To be honest no one stands out as a replacement.We know he’ll be a yes man like Brucey.Dummitt is our only fullback who can defend.Apart from Almiron,we have no other midfield player with any energy.Wilson,Gayle and Carroll can cause problems.Of course we have BUJ.Take TOT out of it and we have average central defenders.If we don’t get drawn into a relegation fight I’ll be very very surprised.

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Under the previous manager people were saying we had the best group of central defenders just about anyone could remember. It speaks volumes that Bruce can’t even coach players in the position he played in 

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1 hour ago, Alex said:

Under the previous manager people were saying we had the best group of central defenders just about anyone could remember. It speaks volumes that Bruce can’t even coach players in the position he played in 

I think that's what bothers me the most. Here's a manager who we're told will 'sort out the defence', 'make Newcastle tough to beat', and yet he's turned a top half defence into a fucking shambles. Easier to get through than a pack of Space Raiders. He was a top class centre half, wasn't he? How is entirely incapable of organising some fairly decent players into a fairly decent defence? 

 

It would be like if Shearer couldn't improve the strikers.

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2 hours ago, Alex said:

Under the previous manager people were saying we had the best group of central defenders just about anyone could remember. It speaks volumes that Bruce can’t even coach players in the position he played in 

It was always a matter of time before the drilled effect of Benitez began to wear off as well as the fear they couldn't hoodwink him whereas you'd imagine the difference stands out a mile between players comparing the two.

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As for the forward play, ASM, Wilson and Joelinton weren't here with Rafa and he's having a fucking mare working out what to do offensively and coupled with the defensive side starting to crumble.......

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On 20/10/2020 at 10:00, ewerk said:

I said when he was appointed that we'd have a period where defensively the team could play from memory but over time we'd look more leaky and we're definitely going to see that happening this season.

I'm not one to blow my own horn but...

 

Blow Horn GIFs | Tenor

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The Martinez effect. Takes over Everton who had been drilled fairly competently by Moyes, introduces some attacking verve, has a good season as the blend between the two styles takes hold but then loses it as the defensive discipline collapses.

 

At least that's vaguely my memory of it.

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1 minute ago, Rayvin said:

The Martinez effect. Takes over Everton who had been drilled fairly competently by Moyes, introduces some attacking verve, has a good season as the blend between the two styles takes hold but then loses it as the defensive discipline collapses.

 

At least that's vaguely my memory of it.

We didn't even get that sweet attacking verve you mention, because we'd let Rondon and Perez go, and replaced them with Joelinton...

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Clark is an old fashioned centre half.Our best centre half.He want’s to win headers.Do our other central defenders want to win headers.They jump ,as does BUJ,but do they really go in when they may get hurt? I’ve never accepted that so and so knows more than us/ME because he’s ‘played the game’.It’s bollocks.Us non ex-pro’s know you cannot score many goals playing a 5-4——1 formation ,whoever the opposition. Brucey hasn’t improved the defence,midfield or attack since he arrived.We have a squad with too many players who want to do their own thing.Lewis doesn’t want to get close to his man.Apart from Dummitt,none of our fulbacks want to stop crosses coming in.Shelvey will not put a shift in,that’s obvious.Is Sean Longstaff being told to stay put and not support the front player or deciding himself not to run forward.Is Brucey telling them not to throw the ball into the opposition box.The same with free kicks.Are they being told to play it back if it means keeping the ball,or are the players taking their preferred option.Nobody seems to be saying ‘ get it into the box’.Certainly fat heed isn’t.You don’t need coaching badges to coach the way we play.You don’t need to be an ex-pro to know we don’t have a style of play,unless getting everyone behind the ball is a style.’ Unless you’ve played the game’.Fuck off man!! 

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