North East UK news Inside the Newcastle United crisis that nobody in power wants to acknowledge MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - United are in a mess as 2021 gets under way - only nothing seems likely to change due to ownership uncertainty at St James' Park
Breaking News ! Newcastle United players are believed to have been handed the option of a day off in the aftermath of their abysmal defeat to Sheffield United. In truth, a day off - or the option of a recovery session at Benton for other players - is normal given Newcastle's hectic schedule in January and on the back of the festive programme. However, Steve Bruce has not called for a compulsory meeting to clear the air after last night's awful loss to the Premier League's bottom side and the preparations for the trip to Arsenal will start in due course. United are currently in a bubble due to the pandemic but it's almost like they are fully shielded from reality and by the time the bubble bursts, they could be staring the Championship in the face. Read More Related Articles Repeatedly humiliated, stripped of hope, devoid of pride - Newcastle are a sad and sorry existence Read More Related Articles A brutally frank admission from inside the Newcastle United dressing room As reported by Chronicle Live last night Bruce is not in any immediate danger of losing his job with Newcastle sitting above the relegation zone. Some managers on the circuit will feel Bruce is still doing a decent job as he is working with players that were signed to get Newcastle out of the Championship five years ago and continues to be the only voice coming out of a club that stumble from one crisis to another. After his intense Press conference, in which Bruce looked visibly deflated on a night when his own players let him down badly, Bruce chatted on the touchline with Sheff United boss Chris Wilder for almost 15 minutes in the icy Yorkshire air. Wilder is rock bottom of the Premier League but has been assured of his future no matter what happens this season - but then there is a proper plan in place at Bramall Lane and owners who want to be there. Before the game, Bruce had held a meeting in the centre circle with his assistants Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence, a ploy which coincided with a win at Crystal Palace before Christmas, but so much ground has been lost since then. If Newcastle aren't going to change manager, does Bruce need some backing with another coach or a technical director to support him, or even another voice to give fans some clarity on where Newcastle are heading? At the moment the only memo on the club's blueprint is to stay up, which hardly cries ambition at a club whose chairman Sir John Hall once demanded the "Top three in the country and the top 10 in Europe" while Kevin Keegan once stated: "The sky's the limit." Yet those days seem so far removed from the reality at St James' Park these days. With city pubs and clubs bolted shut during the great Tyneside depression framed pictures of Keegan and the Entertainers stare bleakly into empty rooms that used to be full of hope and optimism, and while that team didn't win a solitary trophy, they matched the swagger of the Geordie public during a halcyon time to be alive. The current team don't have to be the Entertainers they just need to have a go and show the people who are consigned to their sitting rooms that they care. For what it's worth, I think there are a clutch of Newcastle players that still care, but whether they can do enough about before the prospect of relegation sets in again is another matter. Sir John Hall with Kevin Keegan In 2016 when Jamaal Lascelles was sent off in an awful defeat at Everton, he muttered to the club's Press officer: "Nobody gives a ****." Only it was like Lascelles was screaming in agony, and nobody around him at St James' could hear him.
. So can Bruce hear similar noises now and what can he do about with no money and a squad bursting with high earners with some of them being paid a crazy amount of money just to come in and train before getting a massage on their way out of the training ground? As it stands, Bruce still has goodwill in the bank from owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley as he has satisfied the remit of staying away from the bottom three so far this season. Bruce has also not made a fuss of the lack of finances available to him in January after it emerged from behind the scenes that there would not be a big pot of money to spend in the winter window. Although Bruce isn't bulletproof and as Steve McClaren found to his cost in 2016, if Newcastle stumble into the bottom three and become embroiled in a tight relegation scrap Ashley is capable of making changes.
The bed sheets are out at the last match of the 2015/16 season in which Newcastle thrash title-chasing Tottenham, too little too late
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)
United's next three games won't fill fans with much confidence with Arsenal away next Monday night, a home clash with Leeds - who thrashed Newcastle 5-2 last month - and then a tricky away clash at Everton. By then they will be on the 20-game mark and will have a clearer understanding of where the season is really heading. Ashley has been absent in recent weeks and has left close aide Justin Barnes and Keith Bishop to oversee proceedings at board level along with Charnley.
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Yet Barnes and Bishop are also carefully sitting in on meetings with Ashley's legal team as he looks to sell the club to Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, the Reuben brothers and Amanda Staveley. With Premier League status said to be a key element to the sale, as United's value will plummet significantly if they were to be relegated, the board have an extremely difficult balancing act of not spending to improve and ensuring they stay up with what they have. The uncertainty of whether the club will win its arbitration case against the Premier League - and what could come next means there are mixed signals emerging from around the corridors of power at St James' Park.
The lack of fans in the ground means that Bruce and his players are shielded from discontent from the terraces but the noise on social media for change is getting louder. Ashley would have to pay out big bucks to dismiss Bruce and then replace him with a figure that would genuinely pacify the fanbase. Newcastle's current regime were able to sustain relegation when they appointed Rafa Benitez because the former Liverpool and Real Madrid gaffer symbolised hope on the terraces. Yet finding somebody like Benitez would require assurances on a competitive transfer kitty and a plan for the future. For now, Bruce will dust himself down and get on with the job but having survived the fan storm after the Brentford game a month ago, Newcastle have quickly plummeted to a similarly low position in terms of morale and results.
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