After spending most of the season telling us all what a brilliant job Steve Bruce is doing at Newcastle United, Robbie Savage has now admitted that we look to be in a relegation battle.
He also insists that he’s never said Steve Bruce is a “great manager”, only that he’ll stick to his remit of keeping the club in the Premier League – a convenient bit of backtracking now he’s come out of hiding following our run of EIGHT games without a win and embarrassing display at Sheffield United on Tuesday.
As for the criticism Bruce has received over the past week, he believes it’s easier said than done to get us playing the “attacking football” us fans crave (sigh*).
Savage seems to be missing the point again here. We don’t demand free-flowing football, we demand a team that at least tries to be competitive in some way – hence our appreciation for Rafa Benitez, despite his pragmatic style.
Here’s what Savage has had to say when speaking to William Hill:
“I don’t know what the hierarchy have said to him. I’ve read quotes from Steve Bruce, he said his remit is to keep Newcastle in the Premier League – he’ll do that I think.
“I’m not saying Steve Bruce is a great manager, I’m not.
“I’m saying Steve Bruce, I believe will keep Newcastle in the Premier League.
“Newcastle United fans will want more than that, I understand.
“They want to watch a better style of football, more attacking football, but sometimes it is very hard to do that.”
“You look at Brighton now playing a much better style of football and yet are in massive relegation trouble.
“Bournemouth, look at the way they played, now they’re in the Championship.
“Steve Bruce will keep them in the Premier League but I know Newcastle United fans want more than that.”
Savage was then asked if he believes Steve Bruce has taken Newcastle United forwards in any way since replacing Rafa Benitez.
Sadly, his response was based on frustrating old stats that saw him conveniently dodge the question:
“It’s a very fair debate.
“Their average finishing position when they’ve been the Premier League since 1992 is 10th place, I think they’re about seven points off 10th, so if Steve Bruce finishes in that 10th position, it’s an average Premier League season for Newcastle United.
“They are in a relegation battle, I think though. “
If our average finish is 10th and he reckons we’re in a relegation battle, he’s inadvertently answered the question in that last line – because we are FAR more likely to go down than be in and around a top half finish!
Here’s a reminder of what the BBC pundit said about us earlier in the season, followed by his response to a Newcastle fan calling in to complain about Steve Bruce back in October:
“Let’s look at some of the facts, Newcastle are currently on the same points as Manchester City, one point ahead of Manchester United, same points as Spurs and one point behind Chelsea and Arsenal.
“Now Rafa Benitez, last year NUFC lost 16 games under Bruce last year compared to 17 the year before.
“Rafa’s last season at the club, after six games they had two points while Brucey has eight points out of six games this season.
“They’re the facts, so why aren’t you happy with Steve Bruce?“
It’s not gone very well since he made these comments, has it. The reason why we weren’t happy with Bruce, even back then? We all saw this coming.