An apology to Steve Bruce ahead of a potential Saudi takeover

I’ll be honest, I was absolutely devastated last summer when Rafa Benitez’s exit was followed by the appointment of Steve Bruce.

I was concerned how the players would react to what seemed like swapping Champions League for Championship and ambition for second best.

I regularly flagged up stats that showed how Bruce had the second poorest win rate of all Premier League managers to have take 250+ games in the Premier League, had been relegated twice and had a points-per-game record that was even better by Steve McClaren upon his arrival.

I’ll be honest, I was adamant we were going down.

I thought we had a half decent squad on paper and felt Allan Saint-Maximin could be an exciting signing, but feared we may become a team of individuals again – not a unit that were motivated by a Rafa Benitez project that gave both players and fans hope that something good could be on the horizon.

The bookies had us odds on to go down and the majority of Newcastle fans feared they’d be right, with those feelings being emphasised after that appalling 3-1 defeat at Norwich in our first away game of the new season.

We looked totally lost that day and all at sea in every department imaginable. Yet, almost a year on from his appointment and several months on from that miserable day in East Anglia, I am happy to have eaten my words.

I maintain that most of the football we’ve watched this season has been tough on the eye and feel we’ve had our fair share of luck, winning games we deserved a draw from at best and seeing Martin Dubravka gaining us a shed load of points via his brilliance in between the sticks, but one thing Bruce has done brilliantly is keep the team motivated.

He’s steadied what I honestly thought was a sinking ship this time last year, got the players on his side at a time I feared many would become disillusioned and, like it or lump it, got us in a better position at this stage of the season than Rafa Benitez did over his last two seasons in charge.

I’m not for a second trying to suggest Bruce is a better manager than Benitez, but he deserves credit for the position we’re in right now.

He may have received the backing Benitez never did following promotion, with us signing £60m of talent last summer and bringing in a trio of talented loan player in January, but he’s also had to manage a squad that lost their two top scorers last summer in Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez.

Now we’re on 38 points and 11 clear of the drop zone with 8 games left to play, Bruce has officially accumulated more points at this stage of the season than any Newcastle manager has since Alan Pardew in 2013/14.

He’s also taken the cups seriously and got us to a FA Cup quarter final, pulled off some big wins over the likes of Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea, given Matty Longstaff his big chance at first-team level, helped Almiron find his scoring boots and given Allan Saint-Maximin and Jonjo Shelvey the man management needed to express themselves.

Yes, he’s got a good group of players to work with, but so did Steve McClaren – and look how that ended up, with him completely unable to motivate, organise or inspire!

Now, this isn’t a plea to say potential new owners should keep Steve Bruce and back him with big money should a Saudi takeover be completed, but instead a huge pat on the back for a manager who’s proved many wrong over the past 12 months.

After all, we wouldn’t be on the verge of a big Saudi takeover right now if we were bottom of the pile and set for a return to the second tier!

If these are to be Steve Bruce’s final few games in charge of Newcastle United, I hope remember his time on Tyneside positively.

I don’t believe he’s the man to take us forward if our ambitions move from simply surviving to pushing for a return to the top six, but I do hope people give him the big pat on the back if and when he passes on the baton.

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About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

12 thoughts on “An apology to Steve Bruce ahead of a potential Saudi takeover

  1. Well said Olly, cant fault the way Bruce has gone about his job. I too was worried when he took the job. Been going to S.J..P for 51 years since my Dad took me to the Fairs Cup Semi v Rangers. Its always been a roller coaster ride being a fan. I have had the honour of shaking hands with Supermac and Pav and would do the same for Bruce.

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  2. He’s never had a transfer kitty to show his true worth during his career he learned a lot from Alex fergie I think he could surprise us given decent funds I for one say give the Geordie a chance to be a legend I bet sir bobby would back him on his passion alone well done Brucie

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  3. WHAT UTTER RUBBISH

    Bruce has a good squad BUT with the lack of any sort of management the football this season has been dreadful

    With players hold their arms up in amazement at some of the decisions taken by Bruce + he’s been crying to the press at EVERY point saying it’s not my fault..

    …get relatives, drinking buddies, really anybody! To back him = it’s been absolutely disgusting!!!

    Then we won against Sheffield – it was good to get safe as most Fan’s thought the loon might take us down with what we have all seen this season!!

    But after they went down to 10 + suddenly fell apart – we managed to score (GREAT) but one would think we’d put on a Keegan display with Bruce saying just his luck not having a full stadium

    The guy isn’t right for Newcastle = please GO

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  4. Bruce is doing a great job under difficult circumstances. I thought we would be relegated under him and that he could never better than Rafa but, so far, I’ve got no real problem and hope that under different owners he is given the opportunity to buy the squad of players he needs to play the sort of football he wants.

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  5. the football was solid defensively under Rafa, but thats all it was, more like don’t get beat
    SB has got us having a go at least ….. like many others I was disappointed at his appointment but I’d be more then happy for him to stay and be given a chance with a better budget to build a team he wants, then judge him

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  6. ‘Making do’ Just isn’t good enough. He’s had enough cracks of the whip with lesser premiership sides and ended up being sacked. In order to compete with the best you have to employ the best… oh, and have the ability to score goals… from somewhere!

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  7. One’s shopping in Primark and then you win the lottery – do you continue going with Primark?

    NO WAY – you looking at a different level

    Nothing wrong with Primark but come on – I wouldn’t trust Bruce with developing a team to challenge the top 6

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  8. Give the man a chance, we still have the moaners on here, no matter what he does they will still moan. Back the manager and team always, give him a chance Benitez had near on 150 million and acheived nothing and wasted most of it, but thats history. Givie SB some money and see how he does, cant be any worse, stop talking about his past history with lower level clubs, how can you compare working at a club with no funds at all. HWTL

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  9. I think you are being a bit generous by even suggesting that Rafa was able to motivate the players better than Brucie.

    Rafa often referred to the players as not being good enough. They were a team he put together to get out of the Championship and he often said we needed better players.

    He said that keeping us up would be a miracle.

    He said that we had to play five at the back because the players were not good enough to play a more attacking formation.

    He may have been a tactical “genius” but he was a motivator.

    As has been said before – Bruce has produced better results with the same team having lost his 2 top scorers and had them replaced by a couple of players who couldn’t hit the net if they fell off a trawler.

    Some of us gave Brucie a chance. Others just played to the mob.

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  10. Still dont get the hype over Rafa. Yes got us back up, but after that was all about how hard done by he was. every manager wants a bottomless pit of money, but he must have known that it was never going to happen under Ashley’s ownership. Bruce has so far made a decent fist of it with what he has available. Whether he’s the right bloke to take us forward IF a takeover happens is another thing.

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  11. The football under Rafa wasn’t great but quite well organised and after the doom and gloom of him leaving along with all the teams goals in Rondon and Perez replaced with players that Bruce had no say in signing I think Bruce has performed with dignity and far above most folks expectations his players are no less committed than under Rafa and results in very unsettling year for even Newcastle have been excellent Bruce deserves a chance and some of the swipes and back handed comments towards him are a real shame especially as he is a gent and a fan

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