Welcome to the first of series of Steve Bruce articles
Not sure how many there are going to be but hopefully more than one.
My intention being to expose some of the many Steve Bruce apologists out there, whether they be pundits, j0urnalists (with very rare exceptions who didn’t go along with the rest of the flock…), or whoever.
So these articles aren’t really about Steve Bruce, they are about the people who ridiculed Newcastle United fans, people who backed Steve Bruce no matter what the facts pointed to, people who would now conveniently like us to forget all about what they said when he was at Newcastle United.
Newcastle United fans knew even before he started the job that it was an absolutely horrific appointment, not the first of course by Mike Ashley, BUT thankfully proving to be his last.
Football ‘experts’ lecturing Newcastle fans that nobody could do better than Steve Bruce with the players he had, how he was actually doing a really good job, NUFC supporters should indeed be grateful to have him. We heard it all.
So, Steve Bruce apologists, I give you first of all, Jermaine Jenas.
“Newcastle are a totally different team [with Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson in it].
“It is what I’ve been trying to say all year with Steve Bruce.
“I have been fighting his corner.
“Steve Bruce is one of those honest managers, where if you have something negative to say about his team, he knows why you’re saying it because they are playing poorly.
“But he was working with what he had at his disposal.
“There are a couple of journalists up there [on Tyneside] who need to be eating a bit of humble pie.
“They have given him nothing but stick all year and he has taken it on the chin.
“But with his best team at his disposal he has shown he can cause some problems.
“From a manager’s point of view you can’t do anything without your best players, you’re just hanging on.
“Fair play to him and I just want him to take that manager of the month trophy out with him for a little meal.
“Then plonk it on the table and hopefully a few journalists will pop in and have a look at it.
Just to remind you, Steve Bruce won two matches (plus got two draws) to get his April 2021 MOTM award, Burnley completely dominating for an hour and should have had the game won, only for ASM to make one and score one to retrieve the situation. Then after West Ham gifted a 2-0 lead and a man advantage at St James’ Park in the first half, Steve Bruce tried to defend the entire second half despite playing against 10 men, needing Joe Willock to rescue him with a late winner after the Hammers were invited to score twice.
This thing about Newcastle United missing all their best attacking players for the vast majority of the season, it was just a total myth.
Just because that is the narrative that Steve Bruce time after time put out, it doesn’t mean that it is true.
You then get the likes of Jermaine Jenas who just repeated it, he either hadn’t got a clue what the truth was, or even worse, chooses to ignore it.
These were the availability stats this season of Newcastle’s main attacking players up to that point on 15 May 2021:
Callum Wilson – Named in 27 of the 36 Newcastle United PL matchday squads so far that season.
Joelinton – Named in all 36 of Newcastle’s PL matchday squads.
Allan Saint-Maximin – Named in 23 of the 36 PL matchday squads.
Miguel Almiron – Named in 34 of the 36 NUFC Premier League matchday squads.
You could also add Joe Willock in of course, he had been available and in all 13 NUFC PL squads since arriving on loan, though Steve Bruce bizarrely chose to drop him for four of the 13 games!
Callum Wilson had been in 75% of Newcastle’s PL matchday squads, ASM 64% of them, Almiron 94% of them, Joelinton 100%.
Yet Newcastle United had failed to win 73% of their Premier League matches that 2020/21 season…
Every club has to deal with injuries, Newcastle have been no worse off than the vast majority of others this season. You get instances like Villa who in summer 2019 invested over £20m in Wesley as their big goals hope, only for him to get injured and since 1 January 2020 has only managed to start a single Premier League match – THAT is when you can point to really bad luck with an injury!
When Jermaine Jenas talked about ‘a couple of journalists up there’, in reality he just meant Craig Hope of The Mail, the only one to properly challenge the rubbish Steve Bruce and his media gang had been putting out. Jenas said Steve Bruce had just ‘taken it on the chin’…a funny way of doing that when he (Bruce) banned Craig Hope, to try to suppress any criticism or challenging questions at press conferences.
All the overall stats were shocking of course and whist Jermaine Jenas said Steve Bruce was doing a brilliant job, Newcastle were 16th and on a run of only five wins in twenty seven games (all competitions), losing 15 of those 27 matches.
Only two wins in the last twelve PL games at St James Park in over five months.
Indeed, in the entire time fans had been banned from grounds, Newcastle fans had only missed out on watching live six PL home wins at St James Park in over 14 months.
As Newcastle fans we all knew that team and squad were capable of better than what we had seen under Steve Bruce and with another better quality manager, we would have seen far better football and results, instead of excuse after excuse just because the odd key player had missed a relatively small number of games.
The likes of Jermaine Jenas have been forced to acknowledge finally, just what a great job Eddie Howe has done, BUT on the other hand no apologies from the Steve Bruce apologists for what they said so embarrassingly back in the day.
So many Newcastle players showing their true quality now that they are properly fit and properly coached / managed by Eddie Howe, with indeed a fair few not even able to get a game regularly under Steve Bruce.
Numerous examples but I will throw a few out – Joelinton, Schar, Almiron, Longstaff, Willock, Murphy, Krafth, Shelvey….
More Newcastle latest news: Report: Newcastle are really keen on signing ‘phenomenal’ 21-year-old, he’s theirs for £15m
More Newcastle latest news: Everton could sign discarded Newcastle ace