Brucie Bingo

The Conspiracy Theories. It could well be the follow-up to Steve Bruce’s literary series.

Instead, it’s the latest bizarre assertion from a man clearly irritated and perturbed by a coach, in Graeme Jones, who he purports to have made his “first choice”.

“I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I wish I could put all these conspiracies to bed,” he noted in today’s presser, clearly not noticing that the two stances of trying to play down Jones’ arrival while also throwing around terms like ‘conspiracies’ are very much at odds.

Obviously, Brucey is entitled to think and say what he likes and the communications at SJP currently aren’t best in class, but both he and the club do themselves few favours with stuff like this.

Brush it off, laugh it off, or even acknowledge and give Jones some credit – but to a lot of people this constant bristling at questions regarding Jones’ arrival – something the club were keen to make a big splash about on their own channels – smacks of someone who feels a bit overshadowed.

 

Cooling expectations

Away from SJP and to a slightly more normal atmosphere, albeit a club reeling from their hammering at Old Trafford in midweek.

While the Mags have an injury crisis of their own at the back, Jannik Vestergaard, Oriol Romeu and Kyle Walker-Peters appear to be available for selection again for a Saints team who, in all honesty, battered us at their place in a 2-0 win that actually flattered United.

While they do have injuries, Steve ‘Poirot’ Bruce isn’t convinced by this talk of a makeshift Saints side, getting his excuses in early by noting the keenness of Saturday’s opponents to get a response and suggesting his side now have more to cope with on the absentee front.

That said, he is keen to keep the momentum going. Yes, that momentum… the momentum of one win in 13 games.

On a Hayden to nothing

Isaac Hayden has been speaking to the club’s official website but, surprisingly enough, is fairly straight-up about his team’s plight and acknowledges what’s gone wrong.

With quotes that will chime with what a lot of supports think, Hayden states that there have been too many changes of approach and changes of personnel and noting that obviously things currently aren’t good enough.

Straying slightly into Bruce and NUFC propaganda territory, he says the Mags have been much more stable in the last three games and now know how they want to play.

That’s much more debatable, given those games have returned one win and two pretty dire performances and the fact that Bruce has had nearly two seasons to do things ‘his way’.

“We have gone back to basics and we have a clear game plan and a clear structure of how we want to play,” he adds. Let’s hope he’s not forgotten the elite tactical instruction of the ‘rolling up of sleeves’ otherwise it might all be in vain.

https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/isaac-hayden-admits-newcastle-have-19774353

A warm welcome back

One final note and I may be slightly on my own on this, but it’s good to see Christian Atsu back in the squad. Not only is he an attack-minded player to aid in the never-ending Bruce quest to ‘get us up the pitch a bit more’, he’s actually quite underrated by many I suspect.

He’s never going to be an automatic starter, but he has the ability to make a difference off the bench and, for spells under Rafa, was actually quite an effective part of a fairly limited side.

What was the rousing welcome given to a player likely low on confidence and certainly on match fitness, by his coach, the great man manager and all round warm and cuddly proper football man?

Well, there’s only him or Henri Saivet to choose from so it was pretty straightforward.”

I despair.

MATTHEW ROGERSON