Just another quiet week in the life of Newcastle United then eh? As we build up to a huge, and in many people’s opinion a “must win” game against Leeds United tonight, there’s been more fallout from the club’s training pitch. Steve Bruce’s favourite scriber Craig Hope (The Mail) has once again burnt the bacon, and has released another damning article about the club’s turmoil on the training pitches at Benton (full details – click here).

As we all know this isn’t the first time Craig has got the scoop on what’s gone on behind the scenes. We all know Steve and Craig won’t be grabbing a pint any time soon, so I can understand if some question the validity of this latest expose. But for me I think there’s most definitely something in this. The reports of Graeme Jones and exiled striker Dwight Gayle having a tête-à-tête and needing to be separated by club captain Jamaal Lascelles suggests a level of conflict at United. Or ir could be the type of stuff that happens up and down the country every week.

Hope reports Gayle has grown incredibly frustrated at his lack of game time, despite signing a contract extension and looking sharp in training.

To be fair to Dwight, I see his point. If I was him watching Joelinton stinking up the pitch instead of me in Callum Wilson’s absence, I’d be pretty pissed off too. Reports say Graeme Jones has said to Dwight “It’s always about you Gayley” to which the striker replied “It’s been all about you since you’ve been with England“.

Oooo! I wish this kind of fight was shown in games. But it is hardly representative of a nuclear explosion.

Whilst it’s hardly Ritchie the radgie, and possibly much ado about nothing, it highlights the seams splitting around the club right now, with Bruce’s incompetence pulling at the thread.

Hope reported the feelings of discontent were evident on Tuesday when the 60-year-old former defender called a meeting, only to anger some players by what they felt was his misguided use of running statistics. Hope further reported there is a growing feeling the training schedule is designed to suit Bruce, rather than the team.

What this actually means needs to be elaborated upon before supporters and others start filling the vacuum with their own cod-theories.

There are however, specific references made in Hope’s exclusive which have raised eye-brows and they refer to a lack of basic communication and organisation at the training ground. Timings around training sessions with coaches and players hanging around is just not something that should happen at any level of football, least of all a Premier League football club with a Head Coach pulling in north of £50K p.w..

This is damning and if untrue the club (Charnley) should be slaughtering Craig Hope and issuing a muscular defence of Bruce. We know there is bad blood between the two men but if this report is false then it is potentially libellous at worst and character assassination at best.

United pulling the usual stunt of insouciance and ignoring everything in the hope it all goes away really is not an option. Unless the club is actively undermining their key employee too and is happy for what counts of his reputation to be disembowelled.

The lack of any kind of ownership or responsibility by the club to reply to these claims, as Alan Shearer said, this “hollow” shell of a club just sits in silence as the walls come crumbling down, quite literally the case when it comes to the stadium. It’s yet another peak through the looking glass, at this shambolic state of a football club. A club that’s supposed to be a member of the best league in world football, where the highest standards of football exist, where’s Newcastle United’s standards? They don’t have any.

Or if they do, they are incredibly lower than any of the other 19 members of this exclusive club, I can only imagine that all of the others wouldn’t allow pointless training sessions to take place, sessions that neither the players, or most probably some of the coaching staff believe in. Those clubs I’m sure have much higher standards than that, and I’m not just talking about the top 6, I’m referring to Burnley, Southampton, Brighton. Clubs in and around us in terms of league status, yet way ahead of us in terms of structure and organisation.

Another alarming line in Hope’s piece is the players asking “What is he (Bruce) on about?” during the alleged meeting.

I’ve feared for some time, and Alex alluded to it on the last podcast, Bruce may be losing the dressing room, and with it the players. That said, it would be completely wrong to suggest there has been any lack of effort and work-rate in the games so far this season. The team can be criticised on many fronts but it would be specious, even on the back of a chasing at Old Trafford to accuse the players of not putting in the effort. The graft was evidently there.

There’s nobody in place within our club to concern themselves about the football standards of Newcastle United, the only person is Lee Charnley, who’s probably more concerned with which boozer he and Mike are going to get lashed in next. In terms of the owner? Well, he cares more about trackie bottoms than training doesn’t he? Such is his utter disconnect from Newcastle United, they could sit and drink Stella and play pool every training session and he’d be none the wiser. Nor it would seem would he care.

You have to wonder whether the mysterious nameless scriber of shit club statements may get their crayons out for another piss poor attempt to communicate with supporters in the wake of this story. Or perhaps they’ll just stay silent and let Bruce take flak from whichever media outlets aren’t fully paid up members of the #FOSB.

This is just the worst preparation we need going into tonight’s game.

The lads on the last podcast rightly pointed out that this game is on a knife edge from the kick off. Fans no doubt well oiled from 5pm onwards, and patience thin towards the manager – if we don’t see anything in the first 15 minutes tonight, the crowd may turn badly.

Defeat tonight could spell the end of Steve Bruce’s reign as Newcastle United manager, head-coach or whatever he is.

Whether Bruce walks or is binned, it’s clear that time’s up for Bruce.

It’s time to give someone else a go at the great escape. If Ashley continues on with this carnival act, then relegation is a distinct possibility.

Bruce Out!

Chris Currie – @wig82 and Michael Martin