Steve Bruce: Useless? Unfairly treated? – The truth might just be somewhere in the middle…

Well, thank God that is over. For everybody’s sake.

The past two years on Tyneside under Steve Bruce have been toxic and challenging. At times, I have felt borderline disinterested in our club.

Many others felt the same, which is why 10,000 season tickets were willingly forfeited upon the news of his appointment, back in July 2019.

Bruce walked through the door at St James’ Park and immediately faced an uphill battle. The club had just lost Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon – our two top scorers the year before – as well as Rafa Benitez, a man who held every Toon fans’ hope for the future hinging on his every move.

Plus, the issue of Bruce himself, a former Sunderland manager who had fierce words to say about Newcastle while in charge of our bitter rivals. He was always going to prove an unpopular choice for the hot seat. Nobody wanted him, and rightly so.

Bruce’s comments often fuelled the fire when it came to the hostilities between himself and the Toon Army during his time here.

A year ago, he labelled a section of fans as “keyboard warriors” for simply questioning his management at the club. Hardly fair, considering fans were forced to stay away from the stadium to vent their anger in person due to coronavirus restrictions. And the fact that some of our performances were abhorrently dreadful, and deservedly criticised.

However, yesterday, in an interview with The Telegraph, Bruce claimed that some fans refused to ever give him a chance at St James’ Park.

He said: “To never really feel wanted, to feel that people wanted me to fail, that I was useless, a fat waste of space, a stupid, tactically inept cabbage-head or whatever. And it was from day one.

“When we were doing ok results wise, it was ‘yeah but the style of football is rubbish’ or I was just ‘lucky’. It was ridiculous and persistent, even when the results were good.”

It’s hard not to see his point of view. He never received credit for his recruitment policy which, in fairness, was pretty solid. Bruce banging the door down to sign Callum Wilson and helping persuade Joe Willock to the North East are two things that get overlooked by our supporters.

He was able to – occasionally – manage us to some fantastic performances, notably away to Bournemouth, Everton and Leicester.

Also, in my living memory as a Newcastle fan, I have never seen a manager endure so much vitriol from large sections of our supporters.

Some of the comments and criticism felt over the top, to the point where I actually saw people say that they “hated” Bruce. One post, where I rated his time at Newcastle 5/10, saying he did the bare minimum as a manager by keeping us up, received backlash.

“He is the worst manager we have ever had,” “-5, deserves no credit, useless ****”

Worse than John Carver? Joe Kinnear? Steve McClaren? Give over.

Bruce should never have been our manager in the first place, but he certainly wasn’t the worst we’ve had, either.

In fact, that is probably the best compliment I could pay to his time on Tyneside. I thought Bruce would relegate us as soon as he came in, but we stayed up – twice. A stark indictment of just how low the bar was set under Mike Ashley.

But the mirage of abuse should never get in the way of balanced, justified criticism.

Bruce has oversaw a Newcastle side that has won just seven in our last 38 games, a run of relegation form stretching over two campaigns that sees us sitting 19th in the Premier League and without a win all season.

News of how little the players train while Bruce jets off on holiday reeks of unprofessionalism and should never be accepted at a Premier League club.

Any other club would have sacked him ages ago. I bet Bruce, too, probably wishes he had left in the summer, as he would have been able to leave with his head somewhat held high.

The harsh reality is that, while we may be the richest club in world football, a relegation dogfight is also on our hands and to have the best chance of survival – Bruce simply had to go.

The overwhelming majority of Newcastle fans, myself included, are relieved he has finally been given his marching orders.

The feeling will undoubtedly be mutual, with Bruce perhaps the most relieved out of the lot of us that the decision has been made.

I do wish him all the best for the future. People forget this is a man who has achieved promotion to the top flight four times – a joint-record alongside Neil Warnock.

There will be a Championship club out there who will be the perfect fit for Bruce, but he simply isn’t good enough to cut it in the Premier League.

Onwards and upwards for Newcastle United. We get to banish another page of the Mike Ashley era to the history books, while Bruce can bask on a Portuguese beach with nobody on his case and an £8million pay-out in his pocket…

5 thoughts on “Steve Bruce: Useless? Unfairly treated? – The truth might just be somewhere in the middle…

  1. Hold on, HOLD ON – i know we northerners like to take credit for most things BUT if you actually take the time to question ANYTHING…

    ..the Cabbage remark came from his amazing stint at Villa and where they brought a Cabbage to the ground

    OH NOW YOU REMEMBER – any old bandwagon eh!

    So if one removes the ‘Cabbage’ remark one would actually say FAIR ASSESSMENT of a Chap trying to get paid off – in actions and speeches – for the past 6 months (!?)

    Let’s hope some of the payoff may end up at a few food banks across the Northeast – don’t hold yr breath

    IF the Press were really on the ball this week, their headline should have been…

    …Tina Turnip has left the Stadium

    Scrubbed up in the wig & dress


  2. totally agree KK

    Bruce is playing the victim card so everybody talks about how harsh the Newcastle fans were towards him, its only this season bruce out chants started– fans not in the ground saved him for a long period
    but nobody on sky this week has mentioned 7 wins in 38 games no other manager ion the country would survive on that
    I take my hats off to the villa fans we have had our spats over the years largely made up by the press but they saw this coming and they knew what we were stuck with.
    The press release given out by Bruce changed the narrative away from results the one thing he doesn’t want scrutinised.
    1000 games look at premiership games only %
    7 wins in 38
    the way he has hung players out to dry, derided the fans ” its just noise” acted towards journalists in his conferences and also the number of fights we have had between payers and bust ups as well as the constant I need time
    good riddance and lets hope more people talk about his record funny how the size of the payoff hasn’t been reported much, poor poor Brucie — one of us- yeah of course he is


  3. We have witnessed how many games under Bruce’s management Newcastle were extremely lucky to scrape an undeserved draw or win after being totally outplayed, the possession stats, lack of attempts on goal with players looking devoid of ideas, that is down to not only the players some of whom, under a progressive owner would have been moved out of the club long ago and we’re clearly not good enough for the Premiere League but the way they are coached and trained.
    Benitez, not my favourite for his style of play either at least got team of average players to play competitively, and got the best out of Almiron probably the only money Ashley let go of!
    Bruce was given money for St Maximim, Wilson, Lewis, “the missing one” from Bournemouth who never plays, Hendrick, and he kept the other “missing one” Gayle who he rated but never played, brought back Carroll, and the team went backwards.
    Bruce had his big chance and blew it, and got £8 million for failing!
    Don’t feel sorry for him.


  4. Sorry how could I have missed the fantastic £40 million Joelinton!
    Benitez wouldn’t have him, and rightly so as he was not value for money!
    Over £100 million worth of players afforded to Bruce, who played Joelinton as a CF, which clearly he isn’t or never will be!
    That shows you how inept Bruce was as he doesn’t know the players best position or, continually plays them out of position.


  5. Lascelles says the players are to blame!.?
    Yes, Jamal they ultimately are to blame, especially anyone who is not pulling their weight.
    Your the captain! He’s was the coach! So it was your jobs to take responsibility and sort it out!
    Something happened after the Brighton game, it needs to happen again and quickly!


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