Rough patch? Crisis? Disaster? Whatever label you want to put on it, Newcastle United are a team in shambles as their winless streak extended to ten games after losing 2-0 to Aston Villa yesterday.
Mike Ashley has been far too patient with Steve Bruce. Any other club would have sent him packing by now, but for some reason the front office at St. James’ Park are reluctant to part ways with Bruce.
A few days ago, the Chronicle shed some light on that situation by claiming that Bruce would be owed £1.5m if he was relieved of his duties at Newcastle United. Logical thinking says paying Bruce that termination fee would be the second-best business decision Ashley would make as the club’s owner since the hiring of Rafa Benitez in March, 2016.
Spend £1.5m to get rid of an incompetent coach, maintain the club’s Premier League status, and keep the desired £300m valuation of the club? Yes, sacking Bruce would lead to an immediate seven-figure loss, but it will, fingers crossed, secure a much anticipated nine-figure sale by avoiding the drop.
Save the season. Save Newcastle United. Sack Steve Bruce… ASAP.
Hiring Bruce to replace Rafa Benitez was a major mistake in the first place. Bruce has several years of Premier League experience, but his track record did not merit an opportunity to coach Newcastle United.
He is just another example of a stubborn English manager with outdated tactics who still has a career because England is known for recycling such managers.
Since Bruce took over in July of 2019, the Magpies’ offensive efficiency tanked despite the investment of £100m on attacking players. The team’s defensive record has also been among the worst in the top flight, and it is the third-worst this season with 32 goals conceded.
Bruce has called the shots for 57 Premier League games, yet his winning percentage is only 28%. Under his “guidance”, Newcastle United have experienced four winless streaks of five or more games, and the constantly-changing formations and team selections have Newcastle United ranked rock bottom in key statistical categories.
Bruce claims he does not have sufficient talent to play expansive football and set objectives other than avoiding relegation. That is a trash argument to make. On paper, Newcastle United have veteran defenders and dynamic attacking talent that can lead the team to a top ten finish.
His ultra-defensive style of play has bored fans, pundits, and the players to death. It is clear that Bruce has lost the dressing room, and one can only imagine how frustrated Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin, and Miguel Almiron are to play in this 1990s system.
It is extremely stressful for the Toon Army as well. Fans are left to watch anti-football on television, and then are left with the concern of whether or not Brighton, Fulham, and West Brom are picking up points in their respective games.
There is no fixing this mess so long as Bruce stays on as manager. Newcastle United are in a relegation battle, and right now they are the favorites to finish the season in 18th place. There is plenty of time left in the season to turn things around, but only with a new, progressive manager.