We’re into another international break that presents the perfect opportunity for Mike Ashley (if he remains owner of the club) to do away with Steve Bruce and bed in a new manager in a crucial two-week window. But as supporters, we’ve been here before, and we’re not naïve enough to think for a second that it’ll happen.
Bruce now has his worst win record of any club, which is a spectacular achievement considering it’s hovered around the 30% mark for his entire managerial career. He’s achieved this milestone during arguably one of the gentlest starts to a season we’ve had. If we can’t beat Southampton, Watford, Burnley, or Aston Villa, where are the points going to come from?
According to The Chronicle, the club and Bruce are locked in a battle of wills. Bruce won’t quit because he “doesn’t quit”, while the club don’t want to sanction the payoff that’ll give us the good riddance we’re desperate for.
Bruce might be the only person on Tyneside who’s not deliriously excited about the takeover, because it’ll almost certainly spell the end of his time at NUFC. But, then again, maybe he’s jumping for joy. Not because it’ll benefit the club, but because he’s about to receive a windfall.
It genuinely blows my mind that Mike Ashley was willing to pay out up to £6.5 million (reported figures have varied) to get Bruce in, but he won’t sanction a £4 million payment to get rid of the manager who’ll definitely get us relegated for a third time under his ownership.
But then again, it also blows my mind that a man who apparently loves this club and wants the best for it cares more about his pay-out than the club he says he so dearly loves.
I don’t think Bruce is the brightest bulb in the box, but I also don’t believe he’s stupid enough to think he’s anything but terrible for this club. The truth is that he’s selfish.
I never quit a challenge, he says. Apart from those seven clubs you resigned from, eh Brucey?
I want what’s best for this club, he screams, as he records his lowest ever win rate from a career that’s already had an astonishingly low one.
I understand supporters’ frustrations, he sighs, as he point-blank ignores our own pleas for him to do what’s right for the club and resign.
We were told when Bruce joined that, while he wasn’t the most gifted manager in the world, he was a nice man. A lot of these people know him personally, and I don’t particularly doubt that he can be pleasant to the people he likes.
But what we’ve seen in the past few months is a snappy, petty Steve Bruce who’ll blame anyone but himself. He had a personal dig at Lee Ryder for asking questions that supporters have been pushing him on for months, as well as Simon Bird (presumably), for asking another tough-but-reasonable question.
He tells us we’re in histrionics when we’re unhappy about a 20-game winless streak, and that we can’t expect to be in the Champions League, when all we want is to not be floating around (read: in) the relegation zone once again.
He says we can’t compete with the teams around us, when we’ve got a squad that could, under a good manager, finish in or around the top 10. In fact, we’ve got a stronger first team than the last time we finished in the top 10 under Rafa.
What’s interesting (or infuriating, take your pick) about Bruce is that in the past, he’s resigned from one job to take up another. But he didn’t resign from Sheffield Wednesday to take the job here, did he? He allowed the club he “loves” to fork out a hefty – and far too large – sum for his services.
He’s resigned from SEVEN jobs, but he tells us the reason he won’t quit is because he doesn’t quit.
Pull the other one, Steve.
Oh, and please resign.