Before we go any further with this article, let’s be clear about one thing.
The big enemy to Newcastle United is owner Mike Ashley, and that’s been the case for over twelve years now.
He is the one man standing in the way of Newcastle being where we should be – fighting for a top-six position longer term.
That’s what Rafa wanted to so, and it seems he paid the price for being so ambitious.
That tells you everything about Ashley.
But the problem is not new head coach Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce in China – Newcastle’s new head coach
While the fans will do everything to get Mike Ashley to sell the club – there are obvious buyers out there – we can’t do things that will affect the team on the pitch.
That would only guarantee we will get relegated for the third time under Ashley.
Now that we finally have a coaching team in place, things may get better – with the emphasis on “may.”
But we hope things will get better – a lot better.
Steve Bruce is a mediocre coach at best, and his great strength is his man-management.
He is also straightforward and won’t take any nonsense from any player.
Those are two good characteristics of any manager or head coach.
But he has neither the experience nor the success that Rafa Benitez has had in football – we know that – and yes – of course it’s a big step down for the club.
Unless somebody like Mourinho was coming in, it was always going to be a significant step-down.
But surely fans will not go after Bruce – but will give him a chance.
He’s a Geordie and knows all about Newcastle with some of his family still living near my brother-in-law in High Heaton.
The reaction from our players to Steve’s appointment has been excellent – it has been professional.
All the players have a job to do at Newcastle, and they now have to do it with Steve Bruce.
Steve will hold important talks with local lad Sean Longstaff, and hopefully, Sean will settle down and get a much-improved deal at the club.
With Isaac Hayden taking a leadership role this year at Newcastle, maybe Steve can persuade the former Arsenal player to stay?
The season before he arrived on Tyneside Hayden was playing for Hull City – managed by Steve Bruce, but they were relegated in that season – in May 2016.
We were promoted that same month.
If Sean is happy at Newcastle and Bruce can get Isaac Hayden to stay along with stars like Dubravka and Schar – we can have a decent enough squad.
That’s especially true if we sign 22-year-old Hoffenheim’s Brazilian striker Joelinton – which looks very close to being a done deal – along with another striker – and also keep Dwight Gayle.
But the latest news is Ashley wants to buy Charlie Austin from the Saints when he has just turned 30; why would Ashley want to buy Austin when he wouldn’t sign 29-year-old Salomon Rondon?
Probably to spite Rafa Benitez.
It’s a good bet that one reason Rafa left was that Ashley would not support him in keeping the Venezuelan striker at the club.
Newcastle are still in a sorry mess, but if we can stay united like Rafa had the club for over three years – we could even do reasonably well this season.
And at the same time hold demonstrations to get Mike Ashley out of the club.
That will not be easy, but once Ashley does sell – we can all breathe a sigh of relief – and look forward to good things in the future again – as we used to do under the great Rafa Benitez.
And for some of us old-timers – time may be running out.
But hey, we live in hope – as always.