I can’t believe what I’ve just heard from Gary Neville – An insult to Newcastle United fans

Let’s start with this. Gary Neville is a very good pundit.

The former Manchester United defender is widely considered one of the most knowledgeable and incisive pundits currently out there, and he is certainly a rose amongst thorns when it comes to the other Sky Sports “experts”. I’m sure I don’t have to name names here.

While this week has seen Steve Bruce’s managerial ability and performance as Newcastle manager rightly, and finally questioned in some quarters of the more enlightened media, there was still the obvious and ignorant lack of fact researching, and subsequent defence of Bruce to contend with.

This has become common place for Newcastle fans under Bruce. Personally speaking, what used to provoke an urge to hoy the remote through the TV has been replaced by a simple smirk and a roll of the eyes.

However, it’s the usually reliable Neville who surely wins the award for this weeks most ridiculous, and potentially TV replacing comment.

Here it is, and strap yourself in if you’ve yet to hear it. On last nights Monday night football, during which we saw another clueless and pathetic submission in the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal, Neville was discussing the pressure Bruce is under and the vitriol from fans. This line in particular stands out.

“I think looking for differences between Benítez and Steve Bruce… I don’t see any difference because the key thing for me in football is points.

“Last season, Steve Bruce got 44 points. He’s matched him for points.

“What Rafa had was great PR and he had a great rapport with the fans because he stuck with the club and got them out of the Championship.

“This is not a Steve Bruce problem.”

The irony of this statement is simply eye watering, and frankly downright insulting. Firstly, as usual you’ll notice anyone who tries to defend Bruce can’t do so without bringing up Rafa Benitez.

However, when it comes to PR, in my 30 odd years as a football fan, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a PR campaign quite like the one most Sky Sports, Talksport, and certain BBC pundits have been waging on behalf of Steve Bruce. There certainly hasn’t been a worse manager in Premier League history to get such backing from the media. This of course is a literal truth considering Bruce is indeed the PL’s worst manager when it comes to win percentage.

Maybe, (and stop me if you think I’m venturing way too far outside the box on this one) just maybe, the difference between Benitez’ and Bruce’s standing amongst Newcastle fans, (other than the fact one of them promoted us to and stabilized us in the PL, while the other unceremoniously undoes all that work with a better squad on paper) is the small matter of the difference in their managerial CV’s.

That difference being that one is laden with trophies from 3 of the continents most prominent leagues, as well as the Europa League, as well as the absolute pinnacle of European club football. At the same time the other one, in short, has no trophies, and instead is laden with relegations, 7 resignations from 11 jobs and and the aforementioned worst win percentage in PL history.

Reputation and track record play an important part in all sports, business and indeed life. Good ones inspire confidence, poor ones concern, yet our logical approach to this situation is used as a stick to first paint us with as big, bad, ungrateful and deluded ogres, then beat us with.

In fairness to Gary Neville, when he came though the ranks at Manchester United, Steve Bruce was the captain, so I understand and respect his admiration for Bruce as a player, mentor and club legend of his boyhood team, but surely some objectivity is needed during his punditry.

He also discussed the points accrued by both as Newcastle manager being similar.

Oh this old chestnut, why does it appear only Newcastle fans are able to apply logic to this argument?

Logic being that, the points total SHOULD be way more favourable to Bruce than it is, given the fact that not only are the players more experienced now, but more importantly, Bruce has spent the highest net spend of any manager in Newcastle’s history! Bruce is making the solid and organised mid table team Benitez left steadily worse despite spending what is a fortune for Mike Ashley’s reign. That is a fact.

There is no logical, or factual defence of Bruce’s performance against Benitez. Those that exist are simply ignorant, boring and ultimately incorrect.

That brings us nicely onto another of Bruce’s former Manchester United colleagues, Dion Dublin.

Dublin was one of the other guests when George Caulkin was asked on Mark Chapman’s show to discuss the mounting pressure on Steve Bruce. Dublin seemed to dismiss the claims that Bruce gets protection from his media pals, just after talking about his friendship with Bruce, and then defiantly said that he was adamant Bruce would get it right given time. To be so confident that time is all Bruce needs, when his managerial career shows an unequivocal and 100% certain decline in results over time, is fanciful at best. Maybe we all need mates like Dion Dublin.

This is what indeed it is to be a Newcastle fan circa 2021. Watching a proven failure of a manager do as he’s done for 20 odd years, while people who watch us less than us, tell us we’re wrong. For many of us it invokes more passion than actually watching the team play which is tragic in itself.

One day we’re all going to laugh that Steve Bruce was once our manager. Let’s just pray the lasting damage isn’t too serious.

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6 thoughts on “I can’t believe what I’ve just heard from Gary Neville – An insult to Newcastle United fans

  1. Jamie – in its full context, what Neville said was spot on.

    What you missed, and I understand your article can’t possibly cover a 20 min conversation, but what you missed was that Carra started with the comparison between Rafa & Bruce to show stats for goals per game (for/against) and various other stats – that actually weren’t miles off.

    The stats Neville put up regarding points were fair and relevant to the conversation.

    But in fairness to him, his wider point was that NONE of it is good enough for NUFC – he went further back and said the last 10 years haven’t been good enough, not just the last 4 years.

    He was not defending Bruce, more pointing out the the section of Newcastle fans still pining for Rafa, that actually it wasn’t that good & we should be wanting better than that as well.

    You are wrong to suggest that this is some Man Utd mates thing & if that’s what you toon from what he said, then you’ve heard what you wanted and missed Nevilles overarching point sadly.


  2. I agree with Sharpy. I thought what both Neville and Carragher said was pretty spot on. We’ve been dire for at least 10 years. Bruce was clearly clutching at straws last night in an act of desperation. I just wish he’d at least drop Joelinton – he offers absolutely nothing. The main problem at NUFC is Ashley. As Simon Jordan said, you can’t polish a turd, and our squad at the moment simply isn’t good enough.


  3. Agree with both comments. Neville and Carragher were actually quite objective for once and Neville also called out that nothing would change until the ownership changed


  4. they both hit the nail on the head when they said we need a change of ownership but that isnt going to happen anytime soon because nobody will pay ashleys valuation of HIS club when we are in the championship, said it 6 weeks ago we are going down again with this clown in charge, clown could be the wrong word to use as clowns provide entertainment and we aint getting any of that at the minute


  5. You can’t compare Rafa to Bruce, can you imagine what Rafa would of done if he’d been given the cash spent after he left, having said that I don’t blame bruce for Joe linton they tried to buy him and Rafa wouldn’t have it, however all these bundits said Bruce had done great business in the transfer window,got quality in early so he could work with them,no fear newcastle will go down with that squad and the quality he’s signed, approaching halfway & suddenly it’s the squads ****e? He’s far to defensive against everyone, Rafa made us sit & soak up the punishment against the top 6 but we pushed up against everybody else & at least put a ball in the box or had a few shots


  6. I agree entirely with the comments made by many of Toon fans. The media including Sky, BBC and Talksport are part of the Bruce fan club. They have no perception of what is going on. Steve Bruce is out of his depth, he is a poor coach. His tactics are laughable and he cannot motivate. He constantly changes the team. Example of his incompetence was his team selection for the Arsenal game, it was ridiculous. He plays Carroll and Wilson , then plays no wingers. How the hell are two strikers going to put pressure on a suspect defence. Where was Ritchie and Murphy. On the bench, he has to go.


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