Steve Bruce is a coward. He’s an ineffective arcade manager attempting to play a detailed football manager simulation and he needs to vacate his post immediately.
The defeat at Bramall Lane on Tuesday night epitomised his lack of courage, his lack of effectiveness in the dressing room and indeed his brazen lack of ability at this level. He knows he’s lucky just to be here which is why this season chillingly echoes Steve McClaren’s short and dark reign.
Make no mistake, we are in a relegation battle and we are in trouble.
There is no plan, forethought or strategy to move forward. Every week he assembles a list of names and scatters 11 of them onto a pitch in the hope that something clicks – not through wisdom, but through chance and desperation.
He’s a man who is well out of his depth and whose limits stop embarrassingly short of the basic Premier League standard required in 2021.
Against Sheffield United, he had the chance to finally play the two up top, higher pressing he’s been arrogantly claiming we’ll get around to playing ‘eventually’. Instead of showing courage, in what represented a huge must-win fixture for both managers, Steve Bruce decided to play it incredibly conservatively against the least effective attacking team in the league.
After recent form, which included an abysmal thrashing by newly-promoted Leeds, scraping a fortunate draw against newly-promoted Fulham, and the humiliating defeat by Brentford, this was a chance to restore faith and morale both among the fanbase and his own dressing room.
But so desperate is he to stay in a job he knows he can’t perform, he simply went out to not lose and in doing so, unsurprisingly lost.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”
True Faith’s own Alex Hurst identified the statistics behind Bruce’s ‘playing it safe’ five at the back after the defeat to Arsenal:
Two wins in 23 now playing 5 at the back
— Alex Hurst (@tfalex1892) January 9, 2021
Now in the last 24 games of playing five at the back in all competitions, Steve Bruce’s Newcastle have still only won twice.
When we set out to park the bus (about as far as the manager’s tactical mind can expand to), we invariably lose. We invite pressure, we struggle to hold possession, and our attacks are often toothless. In fact, it’s only Callum Wilson’s insanely impressive chance conversion rate that’s giving us any form of cushion from the bottom three.
He’s like the nervous poker player trying to wait for the perfect hand but ends up making no move at all. If your approach becomes completely passive, your chips will still get eaten away until you disappear out of the game with a forgettable whimper. This is his trajectory now, and it’s very much downward.
It would be fine if Bruce was playing an individual sport that only impacted himself. Instead, he’s stubbornly staying in a job he has no business having, that matters so much to its starved and ludicrously loyal supporters.
If even 1% of Steve Bruce was a true Newcastle United fan, he’d do the dignified, classy thing and simply walk away. It’s his last chance to really take responsibility, to ensure his reign isn’t remembered with absolute contempt, just 99%.
Instead, he’ll stick around, knowing every game he manages drags us closer to probable doom, awaiting the ‘dreaded phone call’ from above which will relieve him of his duties and overwhelm his bank account.
He’s cowardly, he’s greedy and he’s selfish.
He likes to paint a picture that he’s a victim. But I can’t respect the professional actions of a man who seldom takes responsibility for his own failings. And let’s not forget, Steve Bruce is somebody who wants to avoid accountability so much, that he reduced himself to pointing fingers at the club’s own fanbase.
He’s arrogant, incompetent and has almost no self-awareness at how this situation has developed on his watch.
On top of this, he’s a man continuously rewarded for failure. Rewarded with status, exposure, unsupported positive feedback from media allies and huge bags of money. He may be one of the lowest paid managers in the league, but we’re still talking millions, and it’s laughably more than his performance here will ever deserve.
He’s since talked about never walking away from a challenge. But in truth, he failed the challenge long ago. The challenge was the job over the last 18 months, and all he’s managed to prove is that he was never the right man for this job, regardless of what Mike Ashley’s continued presence represents. The results are now starting to align with the metrics and performances.
The owner, who is also obviously culpable, now needs to learn from past mistakes, protect his asset and get rid of this charlatan in the dugout before it’s too late.
Adam Widdrington (@AddingRandomWit)