With the Newcastle takeover within touching distance, we have been linked with some of the biggest names in footballing management. Ranging from Mauricio Pochettinio to Rafa Benitez, and Massimiliano Allegri, the future certainly looks exciting. When the takeover is completed there is no doubt Steve Bruce will be replaced, but this should not overshadow the job he has done on Tyneside.
Taking up Position
From the moment Steve Bruce was appointed Newcastle manager he was facing an uphill battle. Following the departure of Rafa Benitez the next man in the NUFC hotseat would always represent a backwards step, in terms of management ability, player inspiration and ambition, but this did not deter Bruce.
It must be noted that the Geordie manager knew the exact situation he would be entering, but this was really an opportunity too good to turn down for the childhood Newcastle United fan.
The relationship between fans and manager therefore didn’t start greatly. There were a few signings completed in an attempt to get fans back onside, specifically the reunion with Andy Carroll, but this was a drip in the ocean in terms of reuniting the fans and the club.
Our first 3 matches perhaps laid the foundation for our season. There was an impressive performance, but ultimatley a defeat in our opening game of the season against Arsenal. This was followed by a shocking 3-1 defeat at newly promoted Norwich, before we grabbed an unexpected 3 points away to Tottenham.
The one word I would use to describe our season under Steve Bruce would be inconsistent. This can be applied to both performances, and results. Were the wins against Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea all just sheer luck? Were the embarrassing defeats against Norwich, Leicester and Arsenal just unfortunate? It is hard to describe what can be considered as an ‘average’ Newcastle performance this season.
It has not been a smooth season by any stretch of the imagination, but there have been scenes of pure jubilation along the way. In contrast it is also hard to forget the low points of the season, the boring and directionless style of football we have been witnessing and the lack of ambition shown by the club.
The stats of the season underline the main weaknesses in our season, scoring goals. We have scored just 24 goals, ranking 19th from the Premier League teams. In terms of possession, shots and touches in the opposition box, we find ourselves at the foot of the table, yet we are sitting comfortably in 13th place.
The Steve Bruce era, although has been tough to endure at times, has treated us to some truly special footballing moments.
We have witnessed numerous last minute goals, victories against the top six teams, and earned ourselves a place in the quarter finals of the FA Cup for the first time since 2006.
Matty Longstaff’s debut goal against Manchester United steals the spotlight for me. Being thrown into the starting lineup by Bruce, he grabbed the opportunity by both hands and hasn’t looked back since.
I think this is symbolic of Bruce’s time at Newcastle. He has not excelled expectations by any stretch of the imagination, but what he has done is steady the ship. He has maintained a solid Premier League place, and can take a sense of pride that he has set up Newcastle United with a very bright future.
There is no doubt that if we saw Newcastle United deep inside the relegation zone, the takeover would not be happening, and for that reason I believe Bruce deserves credit.
It seems also certain that a new manager will be leading the team in black and white out next season, perhaps even earlier, but this should not prevent Bruce from leaving his boyhood club with his head held high.
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