Another weekend has been and gone. It ended in a familiar way for Newcastle fans, 90 mins of our life we are never getting back again. Sunday afternoon saw the Toon limp to a boring, passionless, uninspiring draw against second bottom West Bromich Albion. A game that saw one of the worse teams in the league this year outplay an injury hit Newcastle United side. A game that was deemed to be a “must not lose” by our angst filling manager, was looked at as so much more by everyone else.
Before the game, one point certainly didn’t feel enough to take the club that bit further away from relegation, a game that felt like the proverbial 6 pointer, felt all the worse 90 minutes after the game had ended, when fellow relegation rivals Fulham picked up a massive 3 points away to current champions Liverpool. The only upside you could see to the weekend was the fact that fellow strugglers Brighton would lose against Leicester! Yet the powers that be at Newcastle continue to fail to see what is standing right in front of them! The real threat of a third relegation under Mike Ashley’s stewardship has got Steve Bruce and the clubs ‘management’ firmly pinned up against the wall, shouting in their faces! Yet Bruce and his employers have put their fingers in their ears, and seem to be ignoring the very real situation facing them.
It seems that ‘relegation’ is a muted word in the corridors of St James’ Park, and anyone that questions the club or brings up the fact we are in a fight are banned from asking questions. After last weeks exclusive’s in the Daily Mail via Craig Hope, stories that didn’t really come as a major surprise to anyone, heads were firmly put back in the sand. Bruce claimed Hope was looking for his 5 minutes! A journalist who writes for (regardless of your political affiliation) one of the countries biggest papers, has been covering the club longer than most of the staff have been there, is looking for his “5 minutes” ok Steve , that makes sense. Again earlier in the year, when the written press were becoming too critical of the former Manchester United captain, they were banned from asking questions. A move to silence the press, only made their voices louder! The club became target number 1, and were just waiting till lay the first blow onto the dictator like club policies. Craig Hope was the first to step up, and it was a mean left hook that had the club rocked.
The one group of detractors that the club have been unable to ban, mainly because a pandemic has done that for them, are the fans. Admittedly social media can become toxic at times, but what other release is there at the minute for fans to celebrate, or as has been the case with Newcastle, release their anger! All of this disillusionment towards the club is not being heeded though. You could forgive the fans for believing they are just shouting at shadows, and a reply is never likely to come. While Mike Ashley will give updates on his proceedings against the Premier League in order to get a now year long takeover approved, matters of a football nature are completely ignored, the fans are ignored, as are the press. Yes the main outlets (Sky, BT, BBC) get to ask the questions they want, they never really ask them before Bruce jumps in and answers what he believes the question to be. He continues to ignore the questions and the reality.
Anyone that has even the minimal amount of football knowledge can see it is a massive surprise that Steve Bruce is still in a job. Calls for him to be sacked or resign are a daily occurrence from fans, and even some local press are starting to say times up. Yet the club continue to fail to make the right moves for the club, and sack possibly the most unpopular manager in the clubs history, and when that includes Joe Kinnear, you really should start asking yourself questions.
Yet the sticking point seems to be this £4m compensation package that Bruce would be entitled too should the club do the right thing and pull the plug! You get the feeling we are in a Mexican stand off! The fans want both Ashley and Bruce gone. Bruce it seems won’t walk and wants his money. The club want him to walk, to avoid paying him anymore! Yet while Bruce and Ashley are holding guns, fans have been left holding a banana.
The sense that nothing seems to change while the club is run and controlled as it currently is, fuels the anger further. The sense of hopelessness that nothing we are saying seems to be sinking in. When the press try to highlight our worries, it is met by animosity and a silencing order. The club is walking towards the cliff edge, fans are trying to pull it away from the drop, but our help is being ignored and batted away.
Change needs to happen NOW! Mike Ashley cannot sit there and think, “I’ve hired the best lawyers, the fans want this, I’m good!” Unless there is a realisation that we are not guaranteed to avoid the drop, and the club is sleepwalking towards relegation, you might as well out us in the bottom 3 now and finish the season. This would have been evident had the stadiums had fans in. Bruce is the luckiest manager in the world to get away from having 50,000 pissed off Geordies shouting at him every other week.
While our gormless manager might get a bit angry at Matt Richie, rightly so, calling him a coward! The fans are asking for blood. So while the proposed takeover is firmly in the hands of the arbitration panel, the fate of the club firmly rests in the hands of Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley! Act now, or we might as well jump!