Charlie Nicholas has this week given one of the most absurd interviews of the season so far.
Only hours after I wrote about disagreeing with Alan Shearer and all the ludicrous criticism we get as fans about our treatment of Steve Bruce, Charlie Nicholas has gone and absolutely taken the biscuit.
When asked for his biggest disappointment of the season so far, the Sky Sports pundit said:
“I am not surprised by Man Utd’s start, but it was Newcastle for me. I can’t work out what it is. I tipped them to win at United.
“They started to love Rafael Benitez but Steve Bruce has started better and he does not have the same impact upon the fans.
“The most engrossing thing for me is how the Newcastle situation has played out. They have been awful in three of those games, but they have played well in the rest. They got a win at Tottenham and they got a win against Manchester United, but it is as if they are still unhappy.
“I don’t blame them for being unhappy with Mike Ashley, but they are one of the best sets of fans in England at getting behind their team, and even more so in backing their manager.
“Bruce added three players – this may not have been of any significance, but he has given it a good go thus far.
“The most intriguing thing is the disappointment surrounding Newcastle. Bruce is doing a very good job, but some are hoping he doesn’t.
“I never quite understand the animosity towards him. Somewhere along the line, they have to give their manager a pat-on-the-back”
Yeah, you really don’t understand do you Charlie.
Firstly, we STARTED to love Rafa? We loved him from the start, because his CV and proven record of winning things excited us.
We didn’t take to Bruce because of his record of no trophies, a few relegations and the worst win percentage of long term managers in Premier League history. The drop in quality from predecessor to successor in this case is one rarely seen in Premier League history.
Awful in three games? Yes correct. Played well in the others? No. We were in the wins against Spurs and Man Utd, and there was a few positives to take from Liverpool, but we were so poor in the rest.
Nicholas is right in a fashion, Bruce got some players, more than three actually, he didn’t add them. He also lost Rondon and Perez from a team, that from the turn of 2019, had showed Europa league form. He can not be criticised or praised for any arrivals or departures, he simply had nothing to do with recruitment.
I’m assuming when Nicholas says Bruce is doing a very good job he’s comparing it to the first ten games of last season, and yes we do have more points, but the bigger picture is the team has taken a severe dip in form since Bruce’s arrival. We’re conceding more goals, scoring less, and picking up less points. This is fact. It’s as definitive as it gets. With the exception of maybe Fabian Schar, no player is playing as well as they were before Bruce’s arrival.
The animosity is not towards Bruce, that’s aimed towards Ashley and Charnley, but the mere fact that they think Bruce is a good appointment when everyone else knows he isn’t doesn’t help him. He also hasn’t helped himself with results, then mixed messages and contradictions in interviews and press conferences.
He has taken some underserved and unnecessary personal abuse sadly that happens at every club in the country, possibly the world, but he’s also taken some deserved and relevant criticism about his performance.
He received praise and a “pat on the back” for the perfect team selection and tactics last time out against Man Utd, and rightly so. It was bold and brave. He picked them up after a horror show at Leicester. He made big calls including Yedlin and Matty Longstaff, and added to the return to fitness of Saint Maximin, we looked a hungrier, more mobile team in the right areas. I also think his substitutions were spot on, as Carroll played his role in a great win. More of the same next time out please Steve.
Us wanting him to fail is utter nonsense and lazy journalism. We are unhappy simply because we lost a world class manager and replaced him with a Championship one. If you were talking the same drop in quality in strikers you’re looking at going from Harry Kane, to say, Jordan Rhodes or Patrick Bamford.
No football fan in the world would be happy with what we went through in the summer.
That’s why we’re unhappy Charlie , and this is what “Brucey’s” mates in the media simply can’t grasp, and it’s getting extremely tiresome.