It’s been apparent for a while now that The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards often reports on all things Steve Bruce like a protective friend would – not a balanced journalist looking to see both sides or appreciate why us fans have grown tired of our current head coach.
I appreciate he is close to the NUFC boss and understand why he would feel the need to defend some of the vile and out of order abuse his friend has been sent by some over the past 18 months, but I nearly spat my corn flakes out when reading one line in this latest piece.
After explaining why his time on Tyneside has been anything but a failure, he stated – ‘It is debatable whether anyone could have done any better‘.
This is utterly ridiculous and a line that shows how far his head has been buried in the sand. He is of the opinion that many Toon fans have a deluded and warped level of hatred towards Bruce, yet this is an outrageous take on the other end of the scale.
It’s a game of opinions – he’s obviously entitled to think Bruce has steadied what could’ve been a sinking ship after Rafa left and done a solid job – but to suggest he’s not sure anyone could’ve done it better is frankly outrageous.
One narrative that he and many misinformed pundits peddle is this idea Bruce has done such a brilliant job to keep us up over the past two seasons, as if this is a Championship squad that’s had no money spent on it since promotion.
He may deserve credit for the way we’ve turned it around since that 3-0 defeat at Brighton, but this idea that our current squad is capable of nothing more than narrowly avoiding the drop is ridiculous.
OK, areas of the side are weak, inconsistent and lacking in quality, however I don’t think there’s any doubt this is the strongest team we’ve had, on paper, since promotion.
After all, David Moyes has West Ham pushing for a top four finish, Dean Smith has turned Aston Villa from relegation contenders to European hopefuls and Marcelo Bielsa has a newly promoted Leeds not only playing a superb, brave brand of football, but closing in on a top 10 finish with a squad that was arguably poorer than ours on paper.
Bruce has done better than I expected over the past two seasons – I feared we’d go down at the start of both campaigns and thought we were as good as gone after Brighton – but that does not take away from the fact this has been another painful, underwhelming and, at times, infuriating watch as a Newcastle United fan wanting to progress and push for more, not settle for Ashley and Bruce’s ridiculously low standards.