It should be clear to any Newcastle fan paying attention that Steve Bruce will always toe the party line, even if it means that his incompetence will be exposed further.
In his latest attempt to sell the Ashley lie, Bruce pushes the rhetoric that we are NOT weaker as a squad from last year and that we don’t have the resources to improve.
Read his quotes here:
“I don’t know how it’s weaker.
“It’s the same, isn’t it, so how can it be weaker? I don’t think we’re any weaker.
“It’s fair to say we’ve gone with the same squad, near enough, as what we finished with last year. We finished very strongly.
“We went all in to go and get Joe Willock so that’s the way we are at the moment. We would love to bring in some more but, obviously, the way the situation is, we simply can’t.
“We have to get on with it and hope that we are strong enough to go and better what we did last year.”
The fact is, it is a lie to say that we are the same squad as last year, it is a lie to say we don’t have the money to spend, and it is a lie to say there aren’t easy ways to improve our current situation.
Our defence is clearly weaker than last year and the year before and the year before that. Our defence has aged, has lost organisation and has flat out become worse.
We no longer seem to play actual defenders in our full back positions which obviously creates defensive problems. Jacob Murphy and Matt Ritchie are a lot of good things but depending on them as our first choice defensive options is a folly.
The centre-back situation has been cracking and falling apart for years now. With the likes of Dummett, Clark and Lascelles constantly on the injury table and Emil Krafth becoming a first-team regular, we are slipping back (or have already slipped) to the days of our defence being a joke.
Perhaps our most intelligent defender, in Lejeune, was scapegoated and shipped off after Bruce rushed him back after a bad injury and was unsurprisingly incredibly unfit and rusty. We desperately could use a ball-playing, left-sided player but we have instead opted to sell Lejeune off without any replacement.
Our midfield has been incredibly weak for a number of years and we still find ourselves playing the same Championship pairing of Hayden and Shelvey.
Willock has come in to help out energy and attacking threat but we are still incredibly weak.
Hendrick is a non-entity who offers so little and the Longstaff brothers haven’t a chance of reaching any sort of form under Bruce for a number of reasons.
Our striker situation is factually weaker because we have lost a player in Carroll who, though extremely limited, was part of the first team squad.
In the extremely likely case that Callum Wilson gets injured, we have a non-striker with Joelinton and a overlooked, injury-prone, below standard player in Dwight Gayle.
We weren’t strong to begin with in the striking position and now we have even less options!
Getting rid of Muto was a good job done – I won’t act for a second like his exit is a loss – however he was on a reported £54,000 per week.
The fact is, we have shifted a lot deadweight and have saved massively on wages. We’ve managed all these years to comfortably survive paying the likes of Saivet and Atsu to contribute nothing so we shouldn’t have any problem giving that money to a player who would actually benefit the team!
Admittedly, the 25-man squad limit is a problem but it becomes less of one when you recognise that Bruce is seriously considering naming FOUR goalkeepers! This isn’t a necessary thing to do and is foolish.
For one, Dubravka looks like he’ll be out for eight extra weeks so his squad place could wait until January when he is 100% fit.
Secondly, a grown-up decision needs to be made on what you do with the other keepers. Are we going to invest in Woodman becoming a future first-choice? Are we going to admit that whilst a decent backup, Darlow is a limited keeper who will never pip the likes of Dubravka? Does Gillespie necessarily have to be given a squad place if he is never going to play?
There are many problems with our squad and they are exacerbated with Ashley’s lies and neglect.