Paul Merson has called on Steve Bruce to walk away this summer, despite our recent upturn in form.
The Sky Sports pundit insists that Newcastle fans ‘need better’ than Bruce, predicting that we’ll be in the exact same position this time next season if he stays at the club.
Bruce has helped us pick up eight points in our last four games to all but secure our top flight status for next season, with us sitting a huge nine points clear of the drop zone with only five games left.
A togetherness appears to exist , with Matt Ritchie also brought back into the side following an infamous training ground bust-up.
That said, former Arsenal winger Merson believes Bruce still needs too replaced this summer, feeling recent run is merely papering over the cracks.
Here is what he said on Soccer Saturday, explaining how he’s ‘learned a lot more’ about Newcastle fans this season:
“They are on 35 points. Next season they are going to be on 35 or 36 points again.
“A few years ago I was doing Monday Night Football and they were at the Emirates.
“This is everything that was going to be wrong with the Super League – there was a train strike and they packed the whole away end. How is that even possible?
“They need better than this. Over the last three weeks I have learned a lot more about Newcastle and I am of the other opinion now.
“This needs to change. I like Steve Bruce but this has to change otherwise I can bet my bottom dollar they will be hovering around down there again unless it is changed.
“It is not about what I think. It is about what the 55,000 who pack out St James’ and (travel) home and away. What do they want?
“You have got to listen to them, see what they think and if I am the owner, I am saying to them: ‘What do you want? You want him, there you go, you have got him. Now you can stop moaning’.
“But this will just keep going on and next season could be toxic.
“Steve Bruce is a good man, I have said it enough times, I think he’s a top manager.”
Bruce deserves some credit for galvanising a depleted squad and steering is to top flight safety.
The return of Allan Saint-Maximin has been a huge boost and given us an attacking threat going forward, something we badly lacked with the injuries we picked up in February.
Does this make him the right man to take us forward? Absolutely not.
It would still be best for both parties if Bruce keeps us up and walks out the door with his integrity intact.
We have been absolutely awful for 80% of the season and the games against Sheffield Utd, Brighton (home and away) and Brentford have shown that he isn’t the man to lead us to where we want to be long-term.