We are the loyalist football supporters the world has ever had!! We play in Black and White, and we know how to fight! Lines heard from the faithful Toon Army on many a match day (when we were allowed in), yet they seem to being pushed to the limit as of late. You just have to listen to ‘pundits’ to see that we are delusional, we ask too much, “we want to win the Champions League!” Yet what we are seeing on the pitch it would seem highly unlikely we would win a tackle at the moment.
We are constantly being told that we should be happy, and that Steve Bruce is doing a fantastic job, he is steadying the ship. We are being dictated to by those who have no ties to Newcastle United, apart from being involved in the same sport, and chances are haven’t watched more than the highlights on Match of the Day. Yet for us that watch the match week in, week out, we are put through Groundhog Day each time.
The weekend comes, and its the same feelings: Match day..Gerrin! Ah well that happened! Bruce Out, he hasn’t got a clue! Newcastle fans should be happy, they beat Spurs and Man U last season you know, it wasn’t much better under Rafa!
Yet the dross that we are subjected to each week, would test the loyalty of anyone. It isn’t just the performance, its every that builds up to it. Yet we are constantly seen as the ones in the wrong, when the blame should firmly be planted at one man….Steve Bruce.
Each week we are subjected to the same quotes from his press conferences. “They are a good team, we will have to be at our best!” I could understand if our first few games came against the Top 6, but its the same nonsense when we play lower league opposition. We are told that Bruce is a brilliant ‘man manager’, and has the players on side. To be honest at times last season that looked to be true. But this is a new season, new opponents, new signings, a fresh start. A start that ok has had a few decent wins, with a modicum of luck. However in recent weeks there seems to be a detachment from the manager and the dressing room. But if you were to hear your gaffer say week after week that you were lucky to be on the same pitch as the other team, you would think ‘why bother?’.
The performances have not only been hard to watch, there seems to be a lack of fundamental football being played. The team is going backwards, and thats not just the passes. We can’t keep being told, “yeah but last season! He did well in 2009!” That isn’t going to help performances this season. That isn’t going to help the burden it feels of having to watch this team that just simply doesn’t seem to have a clue.
On paper we have a talented side, and a half decent start if you are on the outside looking in. But as the old cliche goes, you don’t play football on paper. It’s about the preparations, it’s about the scouting of the opposition, it’s about setting a team up to best perform against the side you will be coming up against. You will have to play differently depending on whether it’s Man City or Burnley. Yet we are subjected to team selection based on performances from the previous week, obviously regardless of what happens on the training pitch between games. There doesn’t seem to be a style to how we play, unless Andy Carroll comes and and Jonjo Shelvey is playing, then its a good old fashioned Route-1, that is so easy to defend against. There doesn’t seem to be a plan A, and definitely no plan B if that doesn’t work. Just a confused look from the dugout.
The post match responses are of a similar ilk. Bemoaning luck and performance, and trying to take the pressure off himself and pointing it firmly back at the fans, apparently we are asking too much for a football manager to manage.
Im sure for this failure many will point the finger at Mike Ashley for the performances on the pitch. As far as I can see, Mike Ashley has done two things wrong. 1) he hired Steve Bruce in the first place, 2) he hasn’t sacked him yet. Everything in between lies firmly at the door of Bruce. I know this may sound like I’m defending the owner, but he is not the one working with the players on a daily basis, he is not the one that ‘sets-up’ the team on a match day, he is not the one who when the going gets tough instead of looking at his own performances blames the fans.
Its not just the performances either. It’s the lack of coaching, and improvement that seems to be happening behind closed doors. Up until this point I have managed to steer away from comparisons with Rafa. However, before Bruce took the hot seat, Sean Longstaff was being courted by Manchester United in a £50 million deal, there is no chance we get anywhere near that now. Might have just been us, but there were calls for Lascelles and Shelvey to get an England call up. There is no way that happens now. At no point (from what I can remember) did we hear an agent of player say he wanted to leave because of the style of play.
Im not a stat man, but when the stats are there for all to see it makes for depressing reading. The one that sticks out to me, 60 minutes gone of the Southampton game, and it came up that we had face 129 shots since the start of the season. Now if you add the shots from the rest of that game and the Chelsea game, it works out about an average of 20 shots per game faced! Thats an average of a shot every 4 and a half minutes. Yet we are getting max 4 shots on target a game. In no ones eyes can that be sustainable for a team that wants to avoid relegation.
We have had some pretty shocking managers in the past, but Steve Bruce has to be one of the worst, and it’s time to resign his tenure to history. He looks to have lost the dressing room, the players will tell us differently in public, but the signs are there for all to see.
The joy of watching our team has disappeared completely, and yes over the years it hasn’t been brilliant at times, but there was always a belief that it could get better, but at the minute that silver lining, that modicum of hope has disappeared completely. It only changes if Bruce is relieved of his duties as manager of Newcastle United, and we can’t wait for a takeover for that to happen!