All hail Matt of the house Ritchie! News broke on Wednesday night via the Daily Mail’s Craig Hope that there had been a major training ground bust-up at Newcastle United. The report said that Matt Ritchie unhappy at being blamed for Wolves equalising goal on Saturday night had wanted a word with manager Steve Bruce. Bruce would then wait to discuss the situation with the winger until the players returned to training on TUESDAY! Bruce would send supporter Steve Agnew out to retrieve the Scottish Radgie, to which Ritchie replied “I’m not speaking to that coward!” Bruce in an anger at being called out would then come out and barge the Scottish International.
This isn’t the first time there have been reports of a training ground bust up between player and manager. Just over a year ago Craig Hope would release a story before the FA Cup game with West Brom, that Bruce had a falling out with Allan Saint-Maximum. A report that was widely disputed. There have also been reports this season that a falling out between Sean Longstaff and Bruce, has led to the North Shields local being left out of first team match day squads. One fall out is easy to deny, multiple ones however are a different story. With the same report also stating that in a recent podcast Jonjo Shelvey stated Bruce was the ‘best man-manager he has worked with’ leading to some to think he was forced to say it. It all points to one thing…Bruce has lost the dressing room.
The same report alludes to the fact the dressing room has no trust in the current manager, instead preferring that new coach Graeme Jones to lead the club away from relegation. This has been a coming for a while. In each post match interview and press conference we have seen Bruce blame the players, fans and local journalists. It was only a matter of time before the players fought back like the press and the fans have. Which all leaves Bruce in an untenable position of managing a club where at most only two people want him there.
Surely the writing on the wall has to be there for Bruce. He cannot stay in the position for much longer. The former Manchester United captain won’t quit, that much has become obvious, it leaves it up to the “ever present” Newcastle Hierarchy to listen to the fans, players and the press and pull the plug on his time as manager. For that to happen, it would need Lee Charnley to feed back everything to owner Mike Ashley, and hope the Sports Direct owner didn’t find out about this mess through the press. Charnley needs to put his ‘big boy pants’ on and do the job he is paid to do.
The club is in a relegation battle, and everyone apart from Bruce can see it. To save the club from another drop in league’s the manager has to be relived of his duties. When you have an entire first team squad that seems to have fallen out with the manager, and are gravitating more towards a coach that has only been there a matter of weeks, his authority as manager has gone, and is only hanging on for a pay day now. Mike Ashley likes to be stringent with his money, it is a lot easier and cheaper to replace a manager than an entire first team squad. Unless something changes soon, we may be faced with the fact the latter may be the reality.