And so ends the season 2019/20. We finished 13th. We’ve won less points than last year. We scored fewer goals than last year and we let more in than last year. Our goal difference is -20 this season and it was -6 last time. In season 2017/18 we finished tenth. I’m not one for stats really but our possession figures are horrific.
By every possible metric the club has gone backwards since we were promoted in 2017. That’s before I get to Newcastle United having the worst injury record in the PL – which I believe this very fanzine was concerned would be the case back in August last year. Louise Taylor of The Guardian described Steve Bruce as out of date and keen to blame everyone for his team’s failings – when he was sacked by Sunderland in November 2011 – almost a decade ago – click here and you will recognise many of the themes – floundering, deflecting and blaming. What has changed?
Steve Bruce reckons the club isn’t stale and stagnating – the facts speak for themselves. The club is going backwards on his watch and it had already regressed at the end of last season too.
But United isn’t some 2-bob operation which has scrapped its way to the PL and is battling to stay there. Newcastle United has been a mainstay of the PL – only being out of the top division for 2 of the last 26. Do not misrepresent our club, please.
Stale and stagnating? Of course it is. Newcastle United is a zombie club and will continue to be every day Mike Ashley is in control of it.
Steve Bruce isn’t the cause of the club’s malaise – he is merely a symptom of it – a mediocre, journeyman manager being patronised by a nativist-friendly media who recognise 13th in the PL as a career highlight for a Head Coach who wouldn’t get within 10 mile of a job with a club in the top 8. Fact.
It’s debatable but I believe we have finished this season in worse condition than the previous two. There is no room for optimism with the current set-up.
I sometimes wonder if Bruce is making it up as he goes along. He has stated ASM won’t be sold. We all know Steve Bruce has absolutely zero influence over that and if an offer comes in that Ashley and his lieutenant Justin Barnes think is a good one, Bruce won’t receive the courtesy of a phone call to let on about it. Charnley will be filling the paper-work in and Bruce will be left alone, hung out to dry. If he doesn’t believe me I’d suggest he gives Alan Pardew a call.
Steve Bruce reckons he’ll speak to Mike Ashley over what counts as a close season. We know the media go easy on the canny lad from Wallsend but they have to press him on this because we know it won’t happen and at best it will expose how little Bruce knows about his employer.
Bruce speaks about bringing in 2,3, 4, 5 or even 6 players this close season. That’s all bases covered then. But Bruce has also counselled about reality checks and reduced budgets because of COVID-19. But then he has also spoken about adding quality as if he is at a progressive ambitious club building a team gradually growing stronger season on season. I wonder what planet he’s on.
Steve Bruce’s words are meaningless to any half clued up Mag who has paid even a fraction of attention these last 13 soul-destroying years.
But what about the visit to SJP of Jurgen Klopp’s wonderful PL winning side? Well, the Reds boss did us a bit of a favour by giving a run out to his fringe players and even allowed us a goal start. But after that it was largely a practice match for the Reds who never needed to get out of second gear to comfortably turn the game around and give the score-line a more convincing feel.
United laboured to keep the pace as Liverpool stroked the ball around us but somewhat inevitably the equaliser came from a simple cross into the box and a cushioned header from the imperious Van Dyke as squared it. It helped the Liverpool captain was completely unhindered in its execution – ironic given in the near 50 years I’ve been watching this mob I’d say we have never had a better collection of centre-halves than now. Weirdly, all bar one of them is in the broken toys box.
To be honest, I thought Man City did a better job of pulling our pants down since the restart but here again we weren’t at the races. There are a lot of triers in that United side but there is a horrific lack of quality. Squad-wise this is perhaps the poorest we’ve had of any we’ve had in the PL.
Another year’s contract for the non-scoring crock Andy Carroll? Whey aye bonny lad, canny lad, giz a bag o’ Tudor. Another season waiting for something from Joelinton? I wonder what colour he’ll dye his hair next? I see nothing in him whatsoever – Pace? Aggression? Work-rate? Finishing? Creative? I see nothing.
Gayle is the only one on the club’s books who half way resembles a striker but he’s a Championship performer and if he has any brains he’ll get himself a contract at an ambitious Championship club where he’ll thrive. Muto? If he couldn’t get a game today he never will.
Mike Ashley v the Fenway Sports Group? Discuss.
That was a non-descript, routine defeat for United who have won 4 from the last 20 games of the season.
That club, that head-coach, that owner, those players are not worthy of Newcastle United.
It all needs to change. You’ve heard that before.
Same again in September?