Steve Bruce’s appointment at Newcastle was met with large criticism but as the Magpies sit in 13th place with 35 points and are 7 points above relegation, it goes to show how good a job Steve Bruce has done.
Plenty had Newcastle to go down in their pre-season predictions but Newcastle now appear to have secured Premier League safety. Steve Bruce has done a largely under appreciated job, with the club almost set for safety in March when quite a few thought they would be battling to stay up in May.
The Summer of Frustration For Fans
Rafa Benitez is held in the highest regard by Newcastle fans and a lot reacted angrily at Mike Ashley for appointing the former Sunderland and Birmingham boss in Steve Bruce.
Bruce’s teams have never been the most exciting to watch but was Rafa Benitez’s football was never exactly tiki taka.
Bruce is a boyhood Newcastle fan and appears to have brought this to his management of the team. Their record signing Joelinton looks to be one of the biggest transfer flops of the season but their defenders have been pitching in with goals.
Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernandez, Florian Lejeune, Fabian Schar and Jetro Willems all share two goals each.
The signing of Allan Saint-Maxim was initially viewed as a flop but he has shown his ability in recent months and Miguel Almiron is finally getting the goals. There is no star at the club but there seems to be a cohesion at the club, good team morale, and team spirit.
Newcastle are also into the FA Cup quarter finals, the furthest they’ve been since reaching the sixth round in the 2005-06 season.
Wins over Tottenham and Man City in the league show how they can compete with the big boys and it would be very interesting to see how Newcastle fans feel about Bruce today compared with how they felt on the day of Bruce’s appointment.
Newcastle are in a similar position and points wise to how they were under Rafa last season and Bruce has done this without Solomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez, who both had a large contribution towards Newcastle’s goals and assists last season.
Steve Bruce has had a good first season and will want to build on this in the summer, if Mike Ashley allows him to do so.
For years, Benitez was never given the funds to spend on players but after he left, Ashley allowed Bruce to spent £40 million on record signing Joelinton.
Ashley appears happy to give the funds to Bruce, just as he did with Steve McClaren who was allowed to spend momey but was sacked during his first season and Newcastle were relegated.
Newcastle fans need some stability. They went from losing a 12 point lead in the Premier League in amongst two consecutive runners up finishes to regular Champions League finishes before two relegations in a decade.
Fans will want to get back to the good times and Bruce will want to bring that back.
Ashley will most likely consider that when he decides how much to allow Steve Bruce to spend, but as many teams do, Newcastle will need to buy some players to help the club build and progress.