At the beginning of the international break, rumours started circulating on Twitter that Steve Bruce, whose squad only had five away playing for their countries – had nipped off to Portugal for an early-season holiday.
I was raging straight away, and I went to tweet about it. But then I stopped. Looking through the tweets, there was no official confirmation that he had. What’s the point in getting angry about something you don’t know is true?
But then more evidence started to trickle through, and eventually Craig Hope and a photo confirmed the grim truth: our manager trotted off on a holiday during a two-week window when he could have worked with the 80% of his squad who were still in Newcastle.
I’ve never bought into his insistence that he loves the club above all else. Look at Rafa Benitez – a man with no prior ties to the club – who didn’t even have a holiday in the close season.
But let’s look beyond the fact that he took a holiday barely a month into a so-far winless season. Because there are so many more reasons that he should be resigning. Not least his pathetic win record, which is 31% – around the same as his entire career, which ranks him as the worst Premier League manager with 300+ games in history. Surely a man who was that bad at his job wouldn’t knowingly drag his boyhood club down with him, right?
But Steve Bruce is a nice man, we’re told.
I don’t even believe this anymore. Every time I see him speak, he’s bitching about something or someone. In Friday’s pre-match presser, he snapped Lee Ryder’s head off for asking a reasonable question about the club’s pathetic transfer policy statement.
Is Bruce right to be frustrated by only one signing this summer? Absolutely. But do I believe he’s trying to change that? No. Let’s be realistic – he wouldn’t be in this job if he wasn’t a yes man.
National coverage of our transfer window has been infuriatingly scarce, but one saving grace is that the local press has been critical. Bruce also seems to be getting some sympathy for it, but why? Are you telling me he didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he signed on as manager?
I’d also like to point out that if Bruce is so frustrated, he can do something about it. He can either demand we spend more, or he can walk. But he won’t, will he? He’s got a cushy job dictating the worst football I’ve ever seen at Newcastle United (his boyhood club, remember). And because he’s a yes man, he’s untouchable.
In recent weeks, he’s moaned about:
- VAR, which was, to a degree, fair
- The lack of transfers, when he’s meekly accepting our ridiculous “policy”
- Our squad depth, when he let five players go permanently and only brought one in
- Penalties costing us points
- The Chronicle making fans ‘negative’
- The RAIN in Birmingham
- The fact that we’re not a “big” club (nice one, Steve)
But what’s the one thing he never complains about? The club’s hierarchy. Instead, he lashes out at journalists who question it.
He also conveniently forgets the fact that, had we managed to maintain decent football for 90 minutes in any given game, we’d probably have at least one win on the board so far. Sitting back against West Ham cost us massively, and in all honesty, we deserved to concede five or six in the second half.
Bruce loves the blame game, but he’ll blame anyone except the people actually responsible for this shitshow of a club.
He won’t blame Mike Ashley for a lack of investment, for bleeding the club (his boyhood club, remember) dry. He won’t accept responsibility for the fact that his tactics lose us games.
He’d even rather blame supporters than accept the fact that he’s simply not good enough.
It’s his job to “never be satisfied”, and clearly he isn’t on many levels. But he’ll always be satisfied with a fat pay check and the knowledge that he won’t be sacked…but if he is, that’s another hefty pay-out.