Another day gone by, and another day Newcastle United has not yet been taken over by consortium of Amanda Staveley, the Reuben Brothers, and financial arm of the Saudi Royal Family, PiF. That also means Steve Bruce has completed a full season with Newcastle United relatively unscathed. Judging by Newcastle’s more recent history with managers, apart from Rafa Benitez, that’s quite the feat.
What is not surprising is how torn Newcastle United fans have been over Steve Bruce’s first season as manager of the club. Some believe that he has performed admirably with the talent provided. Some are of the belief that he is in over his with the club and will sooner or later crack under that pressure. I mean, the facts are laid out before us in the form of stats, standings, and other things. The issue is that I am not a stats guy, so I will lay out just how this season has gone in my eyes. Which is obviously the only point of view that matters.
Newcastle United sit 13th (as of this writing). If I remember correctly, which I do, Newcastle United finished 13th last season as well. It’s a rather lackluster place to be, but hey, it’s better than the seven spots below. This is what 13th means in Newcastle United terms:
The team at times showed brilliance, there were moments when something just clicked and magic seemed to happen. Most of the time, it was frustrating watching the club play, but for whatever reason (usually an act of God) the squad got some decent results. Other times, I wanted to navigate to the nearest cliff so I could chuck my television off it for some overkill raging.
The first person to blame for any poor run of results should be the manager. The first person to credit for any sort of success should be the manager. It seems like Steve Bruce should actually be applauded not only for what he’s managed to do this season (and I still think a quarterfinal finish in the FA Cup was exciting) but for the grace with which he’s handled the scrutiny. He never pulled a John Carver by saying he’s the best coach in the Premier League, and he never acted like he was going to be the third coming of Kevin Keegan. Steve Bruce has remained charmingly himself throughout the entire season, and you have to respect that.
The frustrating moments are with how he’s handled some player situations, Matty Longstaff being my single largest grievance on that front. I also believe that Valentino Lazaro should have played far more than he had been. It was also frustrating seeing him refuse to mix things up at times when the results simply were not going his way, and I do wish that Bruce were a better tactician.
But all-in-all I am comfortable with Steve Bruce continuing his run as manager of Newcastle United for the time being. For all the difficulties and some terrific moments, I’d be ready for another year of okay football than changing managers and risking a potential relegation. The club is far from stable, but Bruce seems to have somewhat of an idea as to how he’s going to achieve it.