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Journalist Claims That Newcastle Squad Consists Of Championship Level Players

Steve Bruce has been in charge at Newcastle for just over 5 weeks. While he started well enough in pre-season, the Premier League has proven to be a lot more challenging, as one would expect.

Steve Bruce’s appointment was met with reservations from many quarters of the fanbase. It was not a question of whether he was a step down from Rafa Benitez, as he clearly was. It was whether would be out of his depth as the head coach of Newcastle United.

We were dead against his appointment initially, preferring someone like Rudi Garcia or Quique Sanchez Flores. However, Bruce impressed us with his ability to get the players focused during pre-season. We also were thrilled that he was able to keep the squad intact.

We expected an exodus but instead we’re treated to a squad of players who seemed to really like the new head coach and were excited with his appointment. That the likes of Isaac Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Martin Dubravka, and Fabian Schar enthusiastically gave their support to Steve Bruce was enough for us to do likewise.

Sky Sports has asked a panel of three pundits a simple question – Can Steve Bruce be blamed for Newcastle’s issues?

One of the pundits gave an answer that we find to be a bit demeaning to players like Hayden, Dubravka, Longstaff, and Schar, among others.

This is the answer to the above question by Daily Mail Football Editor Ian Ladyman:

“The issue with Newcastle is very simple. Benitez, in his own way, managed to essentially keep a Championship group of footballers in the Premier League for two seasons, which was a terrific achievement. He did it his own way, he’s a very clever coach and very clever person and he got the job done.

“Whoever came in after him was going to find a dressing room short on quality, despite the fact they spent money on Almiron last season and spent big on a centre-forward over the summer.

“Generally speaking, it’s a very workaday group of players and whoever came in after Rafa was going to have to prove themselves as astute as him, not in the same way, but to find a way of getting 20 per cent more out of players than they’ve got to give.

“Steve Bruce is the one to do that and it’s going to be a very long season for him indeed.

“As a group of people and a group of individuals, I don’t think it’s the worst dressing room in the world. I actually think they’ve got some good lads in there, who over the last couple of seasons, were prepared to do what was necessary to stay up.

“I don’t think it’s mentality or personality that’s the issue, I just don’t think they’re good enough.”

You can question whether the squad is built in a manner fit for Premiership survival without claiming the players are at a Championship level. For example, we don’t have any proven Premier League goal scorers. That is a calculated risk taken by the Newcastle hierarchy.

If Joelinton and Miguel Almiron do adapt quickly and score goals, it will not be because Steve Bruce found a way to get 20 per cent more out of their ability. Likewise, if they fail to get goals, it will be because they are not goal scorers but were unwisely relied on to be.

However, that hardly means the players are not good enough. It means the powers that be failed to address a key area for the upcoming season. It also means the squad is unbalanced, but it doesn’t mean they are at a Championship level.

These players are good enough, and it is up to Steve Bruce, like Rafa Benitez did, to get the best out of them. Ladyman might as well say that half of the Premier League consists of players not good enough for the Premier League. They may not be good enough for the top six, but the Premier League consists of 20 teams.

If Newcastle struggle this season, it is because of the actions of Mike Ashley. It is not Steve Bruce’s fault. It is not that the players are not good enough. It is due to Mike Ashley and his lack of vision for this club.

17 comments so far

  • martoon

    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #1

    Neil I think you’re spot on:-
    “They may not be good enough for the top six, but the Premier League consists of 20 teams.”

  • Jib

    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #2

    Irish Rob
    I understood G was saying something older than dinosaurs
    which ammonites certainly are

  • Jib

    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:10 AM

    Comment #3

    Ladyman is a typical LPool fan who looks down his nose at every
    other team in the League.

  • #BoycottAshley ( OP)

    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #4

    Bill’s posads

    I could take my grandads ashes to a match and he’d create more atmosphere than you two.

  • IrishRob

    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #5

    No jib I was the one saying ammonites are older than dinosaurs. That’s my whole point, that was the joke. G was trying to make me look stupid by ascertaining I got my words mixed up when it was he who got his words mixed up. He thought an ammonite was the term for people born in Armenia. (At least this is what I presume he thought as anything else would make even less sense)

    He tried to be smart yet he didnt even know what the term for somone born in Armenia (Armenian) was, let alone what ammonite even meant.

  • posada

    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:24 AM

    Comment #6

    and how do you know this. You don’t know either of us.
    We created a canny bit of atmosphere when we came back in injury time and beat Norwich 4-3.
    But you were not there.

    If Rafa goes I go.
    Actually you went 5 years before he even came.

  • Transfer Sage

    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:27 AM

    Comment #7

    How can they be labelled as Championship players when the majority of this group have kept us in the league the last two seasons?

    They are not top end premier league players, but they are capable premier league players. Rafa did a good job with them, but he isn’t a miracle worker, if the players weren’t good enough then no coach would have kept them in the league.

  • Jib

    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #8

    Ah OK

  • IrishRob

    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #9

    Sage… I think people mean if we left this team to their own devices, I.e without a competent leader to guide them, then they are very much a championship team. With the right guidance and coach they can play like a mid table premier league team. But we dont have a competent coach or anyone guiding them. So we are a championship team really.

  • Rebecca

    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:33 AM

    Comment #10

    You’re quite right Jail is a horrible person in the real world. He’s well known in the Strawberry and has been banned for his loutish behaviour including being sick after a long session without buying any food. Though he had actually been banned because he was constantly bothering people with his anti Ashley rhetoric.
    He’s also a loathsome individual with no class who thinks he’s good with women and pesters for contact numbers- his long suffering wife has my sympathy. It’s not only this season he’s not watching games. Certainly not a true fan like martoon who’s likeable.

  • Ron Knee

    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:38 AM

    Comment #11

    They’re average footballers, which means they’re inconsistent.

  • WLtoon

    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #12

    Its going to be a hard watch on Sunday, i think i will get a few bevvies down my neck to ease the pain . Not expecting any response from the team at all, i just hope we don,t get hammered.

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:50 AM

    Comment #13

    The collective value of the squad would be twice as much as anything running around in the Championship, so I think Ian Ladyman is talkin’ a poil a’ shoite.



    Gayle is arguably the best player in the Championship, but he’d struggle to make our bench.

    We simply have a manager who has had too little time with the group, and may be out of his depth anyway.

    The group itself is mid table quality.

  • WLtoon

    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #14


    when you lay it out like that you are right, lets see how Bruce works his MAGIC with that lot.

  • dig-n-dig22

    Aug 22, 2019 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #15


    I was flicking through the live 3.o,clocks first Sat of the season and quickly assessed the likes of Bmouth,C Pal,Watford, didn’t, look as strong as last season, so I thought it was safe to assume with the squad Bruce inherited from Rafa minus Rondon Perez, we could still compete in mid table but I failed to factor in that Bruce would make some bad decisions and followed by the team not showing for Bruce. I still think we could still finish mid table but we need to go back to what was working for us last season. It’s important that we give a good performance against Spurs even though I think we will lose. Our squad we have should be well capable of holding it’s own if Bruce gets it right

  • sam down south

    Aug 22, 2019 at 12:51 PM

    Comment #16

    Our squad was assembled economically – typically 5-10 million per player and loans and so yes it is not far better than a championship squad. Only time Rafa was given money was for Almiron in January this year. The reporter is right to say the team punched above their weight because of Rafa.

    Bruce needs to start doing what Rafa did – otherwise we will get relegated. How would Rafa have spent the £40million that Bruce was given?

  • Big Archie

    Aug 22, 2019 at 3:04 PM

    Comment #17

    Why is this such a big thing?

    When Rafa bought the players he said he was building a team to get us out of the Championship. Said it hinself. And that’s what he did.

    THis statement from Ladyman is nothing new. People have been saying it for 2 years


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