Jamie Carragher believes it’s ‘unfair’ for fans to criticise Steve Bruce and compare him to Rafa Benitez, stating he’s the appointment you’d expect at a ‘bottom half Premier League team’.
While Sky Sports pundit may offer a harsh but true reality check on what we have become over the past 10 years, he seems to be missing the point.
He believes the appointment of Bruce is on a par with the vast majority of our recent managers (Pardew, McClaren and Hughton), suggesting this should be the norm and Rafa Benitez the exception, but why should we settle for this?
Rafa Benitez’s appointment may have been a ‘shock’, but he was never bigger than the club. He came because of our potential – something our unambitious owner consistently ignores, with him only interested in keeping us up on the bare minimum and turning a profit as a result.
Here’s what Carragher’s had to say during his chat alongside Gary Neville earlier this week:
“I think it’s unfair on Steve Bruce. Listen, you know the club better than us and if you don’t want Steve Bruce, you don’t want Steve Bruce but I think it’s unfair to compare him with Rafa Benitez. I think you’ve got to think, ‘We’re Newcastle. We’re a bottom half Premier League team and probably have been for 10 years. Gone down a couple of times and come up.”
“Rather than comparing Steve Bruce to Rafa Benitez, you’ve got to compare him to the managers you’ve had before Rafa Benitez because everyone was shocked you got Benitez. It just fitted.
“Alan Pardew, Steve McClaren, Chris Hughton…Steve Bruce is in that category of manager of what Newcastle should have or had before Benitez.
“I think it’s unfair on Steve Bruce.”
What Carragher also seems to forget is that fans are protesting against Mike Ashley – not Steve Bruce. Yes the latter has not been a popular choice, but I think everyone knows that it’s Mike Ashley who is the root of the problem.
Bruce is a symptom of the issues at St James’ Park and, in my eyes, just a decent bloke who’s managed to land his dream job – even if it’s somewhat of a poisoned chalice following Rafa Benitez’s exit.
In the Mike Ashley era, Bruce is the sort of appointment we’ve come to expect, but that does not mean he’s the right one – and that’s one Carragher fails to realise.
At the 19th richest club in the world, with a 52,000 stadium, passionate fans and a history of challenging before Mike Ashley’s arrival, why should Rafa Benitez be seen as the exception?
Maybe it’s about time we moved on, backed Bruce and got on with our season, but that doesn’t mean we should have to settle for second best and uninspiring appointments.