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Bruce Responds To Questions About His Future After Another Tiresome Display



Newcastle failed a big test this evening at Bramall Lane. This match, against the league’s basement dwellers, was an opportunity to show Newcastle were at least better than the clubs below us.

While this is the Premier League where anyone can beat anyone, the manner of defeat tonight made it perfectly clear that it’s just not working for Steve Bruce. He did well enough last year to keep the club safe under very trying circumstances, but the remit this season is to improve over the last one.

Bruce’s capability of moving this club beyond abject insignificance grows increasingly unrealistic with each tiresome performance. The transfer window should have been enough to take this club forward at least somewhat. But it has regressed.

While three of our signings did arrive from relegated clubs, Bruce is just not getting the best out of this squad. The performances swing like a pendulum from decent to dreadful then back again. They rarely ever reach a level where this team is gratifying to watch.

This lack of consistency falls on the shoulders of the head coach. Bruce now has a fight on his hands to keep this team out of trouble. After failing to win in our last six league matches, Newcastle are no longer comfortably ahead of the bottom three.

It’s highly unlikely tonight’s result will spur Ashley into making a decision on Bruce’s future. But this can’t continue for too much longer. The Chronicle has asked Bruce about his future after tonight’s defeat and this was his response:

“You are asking the wrong one. I will never ever walk away from the challenge. I think I have been in it long enough to have that respect.

“I understand that in the first half we weren’t good enough. At the end of the day, I take responsibility for that because I pick the team.

“In hindsight, we have been trying something different in the last few weeks in going forward.

“I wanted to see us higher up the field and offering a goal threat and that didn’t happen.”

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223 comments so far

  • Toon Tang

    Jan 13, 2021 at 10:26 AM

    Comment #201

    Would it not just better for all parties involved if he went back Wearside?

    Still local, he has a couple of friends over that side and he no doubt still has scumderland clicky pen.

    Its an option we should be considering.

    2
  • Munster Mag

    Jan 13, 2021 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #202

    Mund

    Jan 13, 2021 at 10:08 AM
    Comment #194

    Why do we keep hanging posters with the same rope time and time again.

    Grow up

    ………………….

    Mund, was that aimed at me?Hope now. I was only defending myself from the usual suspect. I’m not looking to argue with anyone. I’m as gutted as anyone, especially as it was predictable from before the game, and then deffo at half time.

    Glad to hear Barton sticking up for us.

    4
  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 13, 2021 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #203

    Munster,
    Yes, until Andy Carroll can put two 90 minute shifts in a row I will continue to class him as a duff PR stunt brought in to fool a few people.

    12
  • Mund

    Jan 13, 2021 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #204

    Munster no mate the opposite in fact

    5
  • toon22

    Jan 13, 2021 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #205

    The hope that there were 3 worse teams in the league is gone now , isn’t it
    The jammy results with it

    The players look to have given up
    Cabbage heed waiting for the sack
    Utter inaction from the turd

    Business as usual

    9
  • Toonarmy of Frogs

    Jan 13, 2021 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #206

    We are falling apart quicker almost every game. Too easy to play against.

    That was a terrible game to watch.

    Baffling team selection and set up. BRUCE is a BAFOON.

    All but confirmed he won’t walk as he wants his £millions in severence

    Every instinct I’ve got says Bruce ha lost all hope of improvement – he’s no longer trying. (well our disjointed team isn’t)

    At least the Bruce-cuse’s are running out.

    Guys a self-centred control freak. Who’s losing and cant take constructive criticism well. Probably got 2 games then it’ll be too late. We will go down.

    BRUCE OUT

    6
  • DubaiMicky

    Jan 13, 2021 at 10:48 AM

    Comment #207

    Waughy get’s us totally, from The Athletic:-
    .
    .
    .
    Serious questions have to be asked at Newcastle and they have to be asked now – By Chris Waugh

    Newcastle United have to wake up. This simply cannot go on. Serious questions have to be asked and they have to be asked now.

    Mike Ashley’s ownership is faceless, silent and, perhaps most exasperating of all, has so often been wilfully ignorant of overwhelming fan opinion. But in this of all seasons, it is time they listen.

    That supporter verdict right now feels like it is bordering upon universal when it comes to Steve Bruce.

    The embarrassing League Cup exit to a semi-reserve Championship team last month was one thing but, for those who were still wavering, this pathetic surrender to a winless, bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United side crystallised previous suspicions that they believed a fresh face was necessary.

    It was not so much that Newcastle lost at Bramall Lane — although that was dispiriting enough. It was the manner of the reversal.

    Bruce named a side set-up to avoid defeat — featuring a back five and three midfielders — to face a team who had not won in the league since July, who had failed to keep a clean sheet all season, and who had collected just two points from 17 top-flight matches. Newcastle lost 1-0 and the scoreline actually flattered them. Abysmal does not even begin to cover it.

    The performance was abject, but so many of them have been.

    What is different now is that results are finally echoing displays. This was Newcastle’s eighth game in all competitions without a victory and they have scored just once in six games. They have regressed very much to the mean when it comes to their persistent lowly statistics. They are still eight points above the relegation zone, but that is only because the bottom three sides — two of whom they have failed to beat in the past month — have been so woeful. Fulham, in 18th place, also have two games in hand on Newcastle.

    That is why there is now widespread support for Bruce to be replaced.

    “We are going down if he isn’t sacked and sacked quickly,” tweeted Alex Hurst, former chair of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST). Meanwhile, nufc.com, the respected and widely read website, ended their match report: “We don’t know whether the team bus stopped off at the chip shop in Wetherby en route back to Tyneside, but if they did, then hopefully it was the last supper for the bloke at the front. And we don’t mean the driver.”

    It remains difficult to gauge exactly how widespread this feeling is given that fans are locked out of St James’ Park, the usual courtroom for judgment. But it cannot be dismissed as merely the view of the “vocal minority” anymore.

    Across social media, message boards and WhatsApp groups, the conviction is apparent: the head coach has to go before it is too late.

    “Look, you’re asking the wrong person about that,” Bruce replied when asked about supporters calling for him to be sacked and whether he had considered his position. “I’ll never, ever walk away from a challenge and I’ve been in it long enough to have that respect.

    “But I understand that, especially watching the first half, we weren’t good enough and, at the end of the day, I take the responsibility for that because I pick the team. In hindsight, it’s a wonderful thing, but then again, we’ve been trying something different.”

    His answer will do little, if anything, to pacify supporter anger. But it may, at the very least, force some introspection in the Newcastle boardroom.

    To be clear, this is not a column demanding that Bruce be dismissed. Rather, it is a call to the Newcastle hierarchy that they at the very least have a serious conversation about this subject. That they genuinely consider that perhaps they got this wrong, just as they got it wrong previously when they appointed Joe Kinnear (twice); when they stubbornly stuck with John Carver in order to eventually land Steve McClaren and then, once they did, that they obstinately refused to accept they had made a damaging error in hiring McClaren until it was too late.

    Perhaps they will come to an alternative conclusion and determine that Bruce is still the man for the job. But the concern is that they are not even entertaining the notion that he might not have been in the first place.

    Lee Charnley, the managing director, has never courted publicity and appears to have cast a cloak of invisibility over himself. He does not speak to the press, nor brief, so we can only surmise, using alarming examples of the club’s past, as to what exactly it is that he is doing right now. The assumption? That he is dithering, delaying the decision-making until the situation is beyond salvation.

    As damaging as his hesitation was in 2016 when McClaren was belatedly sacked and Rafa Benitez brought in too late, it would be even more harmful to defer a decision this time around.

    For Ashley’s sake, for Newcastle’s sake and, most importantly, for the supporters’ sake, this year it has to be different.

    After all, relegation will not only cripple Newcastle economically at a moment when their finances are already severely depleted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may also prevent the prospective takeover from finally taking place. Arbitration, as both Newcastle and the Premier League have confirmed, awaits, and both the prospective buyers and Ashley remain hopeful that this can eventually allow for the £305 million deal to be concluded.

    Should Newcastle find themselves in the Championship come June, then Ashley cannot hope to recoup anything close to that figure, nor can there be any guarantees the Amanda Staveley-fronted consortium would still want to buy the club and attempt to realise their St James’ Park vision, either.

    Ironically, Bruce was appointed for the very reason that he was deemed to be, according to a source, a “safe pair of hands”; someone who would keep Newcastle in the Premier League while Ashley attempted to offload the club. Last month, Bruce even belatedly admitted that it has been his “remit” all along, even if he aspired to “top-10 finishes”.

    That is also why this most baffling of clubs actually acted pretty sensibly last summer, signing proven Premier League players in Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser et al to ensure that survival would be secured comfortably. It was a diversion from all that had come before under Ashley but it was, as Bruce himself insisted, about “avoiding risk” at a potentially pivotal time in the club’s history. Those players were signed at Bruce’s behest, but they have not delivered and nor has the head coach.

    Some may argue, with justification, that supporters should be careful what they wish for, while many fans may rightly argue that this administration cannot be trusted to pick an appropriate successor, were they indeed to replace Bruce.

    But sometimes a freshness is needed regardless. The negative momentum has built rapidly at Newcastle in recent weeks and it shows no sign of abating. A new face may be able to arrest the slide, if it is indeed time for Bruce to go, but that will ultimately be a decision Ashley defers to Charnley, and nobody knows what the MD is really thinking.

    This club have been here before under Ashley, so many times. The hierarchy think they know best, they belligerently ignore the evidence in front of their eyes, and they do not act swiftly enough to correct their mistakes.

    Their complacent commitment to mediocrity eventually brings one thing, time and again: relegation. They have taken the club down twice and supporters understandably fear they are heading that way again.

    Serious questions have to be asked — and they have to be asked now.

    35
  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 13, 2021 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #208

    So it’s okay for a poster to gloat in the dismay of others when they could see the writing on the wall but not ok for them to be held accountable for that disgraceful gloating when it does finally go tits up. Them poor French lasses should have been allowed to keep their hair and given a pat on the bum.

    10
  • DubaiMicky

    Jan 13, 2021 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #209
  • Moonraker15

    Jan 13, 2021 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #210

    Lochinvar
    And, by the way shocking refereeing. Yes Fernandez moved the ball with his hand but only after being pulled back by his shirt for 10 yards for which the ref should’ve given a free kick to us. In the Man Utd game a sending off was avoided by var as it referred to a foul committed at the other end of the field. Also a Sheffield player should have got a red for a foul on Schar.
    The ref should have warned Fraser when he committed the second offence. They are too quick pulling the cards out which immediately changes the results; in Europe the refs give more leeway rather than influence the result.

    3
  • Adamn_92

    Jan 13, 2021 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #211

    I understand the ref wasn’t great yesterday, but any talk of that distracts from the main issue and gives Bruce an excuse. The referee is not why we were set up and played so terribly yesterday. Any football fan could see that regardless of us having 11 or 10 men, we were destined to lose that game.

    9
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Jan 13, 2021 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #212

    Sick of the way the pundits just get to spout nonsense with no questions back

    The usual foofball under Rafa was the same or worse isn’t helping because its not the same at all but it then makes them say what are the fans moaning about as its the same etc etc

    At the very basic level we are no longer solid at the back or good in the counter yet are more defensive so it’s not the same!

    Also there were loads of games where we attacked and couldn’t finish the game off Bournemouth, Brighton, Man Utd and Spurs were games we totally dominated only to undone by a single goal that hasn’t happened under Bruce in any game

    5
  • Zele

    Jan 13, 2021 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #213

    Tinman @168

    I very much agree with your analysis.

    I think most people on this site are totally puzzled by Bruce’s formation, tactics and selection of some players against the bottom club Sheffield.

    Maybe there is an argument if it was away against Man City or defending a slender lead away in a two leg competition but not against the bottom team already relegated according to many pundits.

    Its the fact that there appears to be no obvious intent to win this and many previous games that is so frustrating. I’m sure this frustration must be shared by many, if not all, the players.

    If things don’t change the little buffer between us and the bottom three will soon vanish and then any changes will be too late.

    2
  • DubaiMicky

    Jan 13, 2021 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #214

    That podcast, it’s eerily the same as some of the poster’s views on here.

    0
  • TheTinman

    Jan 13, 2021 at 11:09 AM

    Comment #215

    Sorry Moonraker, you lost me at ‘The ref should have warned Fraser when he committed the second offence.’

    There’s rose tinted spectacles and then there is defending the indefensible.

    8
  • TheTinman

    Jan 13, 2021 at 11:11 AM

    Comment #216

    Lee Charnley, problem is if someone questions / fires back at a pundit or journo, the rest of them will all rally around him and make the managers job very difficult. Need someone with very thick skin

    1
  • lesh

    Jan 13, 2021 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #217

    And Bruce won’t walk away from a challenge? Surely even he must see that he’s on a roll, a losing one, and the players’ will become even more dispirited as time passes.

    Ashley’s a gambler and he must surely time to let Bruce go before it’s too late to avoid the drop.

    1
  • TheTinman

    Jan 13, 2021 at 11:16 AM

    Comment #218

    The only challenge Bruce should be concerning himself with is rolling his fat ar$e out of bed every morning.

    4
  • Zele

    Jan 13, 2021 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #219

    Lesh,

    Currently I very much doubt Ashley spends much, if any, time thinking about the club given that the retail sector, from which he derives his wealth, is experiencing its worst downturn and with it profits, in living memory.

    The High Street where his shops are located is being decimated.

    1
  • lesh

    Jan 13, 2021 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #220

    Zele

    You’re right that Ashley’s focus is likely elsewhere however he does have Barnes running the show in his absence. But, one would assume that Barnes would be expecting Charnley to regularly reprt on the club’s situation though given Charnley’s failure to act in the past should cast doubts his assessments and the impact of his inaction.

    Bruce, as has been said before, a product of reckless club management.

    2
  • Ron Knee

    Jan 13, 2021 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #221

    “I’ll never, ever walk away from a challenge…”

    P45 used to say the same.

    4
  • Zele

    Jan 13, 2021 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #222

    Lesh,

    Yes I agree with you that its all down to Charnley.

    The simple message from Charnley to Bruce must be shape up or ship out.

    Whereas in the past there was always the potential loss of revenue dropping into the Championship which exercised the corporate minds but this time its the more important ramifications associated with the stalled takeover and arbitration.

    2
  • Ninjacent

    Jan 13, 2021 at 12:36 PM

    Comment #223
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