My apology to Steve Bruce..

When every Newcastle fan tucks into their Christmas dinner this year, they will be doing so thinking of that magical moment from Miggy, and looking forward to a trip to Old Trafford on Boxing Day for a game we genuinely can win. There won’t be many of us who envisaged this situation. I certainly didn’t.

When Steve Bruce was named Newcastle manager, I was honestly the angriest I’ve ever been in my 38 years as a fan. A combination of being heartbroken over Rafa leaving, sheer disappointment of the failed takeover attempt by BZG (which I stupidly was convinced would happen) and anger over appointing a man who I have described more than once as a proven failure meant my football related anguish reached boiling point.

“I’m done” I told more than one person. I’d never not support my team or not watch the games, I live in Japan and wake up at unholy hours to watch our games, but I vowed I was going to spend less time following Newcastle United. Less time refreshing NewsNow every hour to check if we’ve ordered some new corner flags, less time boring my wife with detailed analysis on why Florian Lejeune makes us a different prospect, less time writing things like this, and not letting a defeat turn me into a grumpy grouch for the subsequent 2-3 days. Any football fan, friend or stranger in the pub who crossed my path in the month or so after Bruce’s appointment had to put up with my expletive ridden and vitriolic assessment of Steve Bruce. “Give him a chance?!? Why? He’s been crap for 20 years man” was a standard response.

I’ll put my cards on the table, and also admit I’ve never liked him as a bloke, he’s just been one of those people who annoys me for no reason. Sean Dyche falls into that category for example, he’s never done anything to me but he makes my teeth bleed. On top of this and more importantly, I’ve always thought he was a poor manager.

Yet here we are, just before Christmas, 9th place in the Premier League, 10 clear of the drop zone and closer to the Champions League than the Championship. Significantly closer.

It hasn’t all been wine and roses, there have been shocking performances, and the football isn’t great to watch, but it wasn’t under Rafa for long periods.

Rarely does a professional football club prepare so badly for a season than we did last summer. It was a car crash. Everything had been left so late, the usual incompetence from the board room once again undoing any previous positive work from last year, no time for the new manager and new signings to settle in, and a fan base so angry that the club seemed set to self implode. For Bruce to have guided the team through that and us to be in this position is nothing short of a minor miracle. He deserves all the praise that is currently coming his way. It was once said Rafa Benitez was the glue holding this insane football club together, well the same could be said for Steve Bruce, and what he’s achieved this season. There are still challenges ahead, his career shows a pattern of good starts then some nosedives, but he’s living his, and many of our dreams and coming up trumps at the moment.

The players are clearly playing for him. They seem to genuinely like and respect him, and not just because of results and endeavour. You only have to look at the embrace between him and Almiron after the game yesterday to see the genuine warmth and togetherness between the squad and coaching staff. I’ve even found myself warming to him personally, such is the fickle nature of the football fan. I even called him Brucey the other day.

So, let me be the first to raise a glass of festive cheer to Steve Bruce, and the job he’s doing. Humble pie has never tasted so sweet.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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8 thoughts on “My apology to Steve Bruce..

  1. Jamie – credit to you mate, big respect to you for penning this article. I know many NUFC fans who felt exactly the same as you in the summer – and many of them are too thick headed to give credit where it is so clearly due.
    That’s not to say they shouldn’t be happy Rafa left or forgive Ashley – I don’t expect that. But so many of them can’t bring themselves to acknowledge just how good a job Brucey has done so far.

    I wasn’t too fussed that Rafa left, but wanted better than Bruce. But I wasn’t ragging when he was appointed. I preferred him over some young inexperienced appointment that’s for sure.

    I think our points tally will mean he gets nowt to spend in January (possibly money from sales, but nowt more). But I envisage comfortable survival – which I would have snapped your hand off for 5 months ago.

    Fair play to you though mate ????


  2. I gave credit to Bruce for taking a job that no one was willing to take. I am not really saying he was the best choice but it looked like no one wanted it and many people where campaigning against any one taking the job.
    For that I gave him the credit and respect he deserves.
    Thank you Brucey and Merry Christmas to every one. U r making me dream abt Champions league


  3. Brilliantly put Jamie. Id actually stopped reading this blog due to the innability of some of the writers to show a bit of humility and actually judge Bruce on merit. I also didnt want him but Ive always been one to look at the reality and I didnt enjoy any season under Rafa other than the Championship season. This season I actually think we can win before a ball is kicked. When you consider the team is 9th without the strikers scoring goals what Bruce has done is incredible. If Joelinton and the other forwards had not missed so many sitters we would be top 5 now. Bruce didnt buy those strikers and he works with what he was given and he deserves huge huge credit and support from the stands. That support could really push this team on.

    A result against a vulnerable Man Utd side and who knows where this team could finish once the worry of relegation has all but gone.

    Rafa may have an incredible CV. But thats his history not ours. If he did not have that CV fans would not have accepted the results and style of play for so long.


  4. Mr Elliot, I’d first and foremost like to thank you as I’ve been proven wrong that there aren’t any great journalism/writers within our Geordie fan base anymore as you actually give an educated view (no disrespect to any other writers). I’d couldn’t agree more with you on the whole saga yet refreshing outcome. I can firmly believe that I will be right behind Steve and he’s represented the law of attraction with both feet!

    I would just hope now that this is the start of something really special for our club and especially to our extremely hard working Might.

    Meet Christmas guys!



  5. I never understood all the hatred towards him just cos he was Sunderland manager??? who gives a ****e….. I’d rather listen to him as to listen to rafa boring me every week with….it is what it is …we player on counter…we need to manage the game better…bore off it was the same **** every single week…he was no genius as steve Bruce is proving…


  6. Well mate, I never thought I’d read that article from you.

    I stopped writing for this blog because of the negativity towards Bruce and the team, and the open support for the anti-Ashley brigade when Olly refused to publish one of my articles because I had a go at the Magpie Group. There seemed no point in even bothering to take the time to put an article together.

    But credit where it’s due – you’ve taken an objective look at the situation and. dare I say it, actually changed your mind.

    Your own words kinda paint a picture of you being a bit of a bairn like, but fair play, for someone who in the past had appeared to be so far up Rafa’s ar5e that he could see Olly’s feet, you’ve shown us what being a real fan is really all about.

    I personally think we’ll have a more difficult 2020 but let’s hope Bruce and the lads continue to perform.


  7. Very nicely put. Must admit I’m enjoying Steve Bruce proving us all wrong.

    As an asside, i also live in japan (near Osaka) do you know any fan groups or places to watch the newcastle games?


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