Is uncomfortable truth that Rafa Benitez made these Newcastle players look better than they really are?

Newcastle United has been a Rafa Benitez free zone for over seven weeks now.

Mike Ashley having no intention of keeping the manager at the club.

The Newcastle United owner choosing instead to go down a different and more well-trodden route, rather than backing somebody with their own ideas who wanted the freedom to try and model the club in a more progressive way.

Results on the pitch are the only thing that will allow NUFC to move on from the Rafa era and we are still waiting  for those to come along.

So have Newcastle United got the team/squad to do it?

Well, five signings have been made since Rafa Benitez departed, with Joelinton, ASM, Jetro Willems, Emil Krafth and Andy Carroll coming in.

Impossible to say whether or not they would have fared better or worse under Rafa but what about the players that head coach Steve Bruce inherited?

I can’t help but feel that the uncomfortable truth is, that Benitez made these Newcastle players look better than they really are.

I hope I’m proved wrong but I know where my money would be bet on.

You look at two players who also left this summer, Rafa Benitez organised and inspired them to have their best ever Premier League seasons.

Both Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez scored more goals than they had ever done in the English top tier.

Focusing particularly on the defence, many fans have talked about these being the best set of defenders, especially centre-backs, that the club has had in pretty much living memory.

Is that true though, or was it just Rafa’s talent and organisation that made it seem that way.

The stats show that despite fighting relegation for most of these past two seasons, in both 2017/18 and 2018/19, only two clubs outside the four conceded fewer goals than Newcastle, in each of the two seasons.

Even when Newcastle did lose games, Newcastle hardly ever lost by more than one or two goals.

Yet on Saturday against Norwich, it could and should have been at least a four or five goal win for the newly promoted, built on a tight budget Canaries.

With Tottenham and Liverpool away as two of the next three games, what will be the scorelines if we see more of that level of defending and team play.

Jamaal Lascelles – He was going nowhere in his career until Rafa Benitez arrived at Newcastle. The Spaniard made him captain and put him at the heart of a disciplined and drilled defence. We all know that on the ball Lascelles isn’t very good but on Saturday we were reminded that when exposed without cover, is the NUFC captain really that good? I think he is at least an ok player but I have a horrible feeling that Rafa Benitez in particular made Lascelles look far better than he actually is but maybe our captain is in denial a bit about that.

Fabian Schar – The back five formation suits him because he isn’t the greatest defender and so isn’t as exposed as often, which allowed him to bring the ball out of defence so well last season. He was another on Saturday who looked badly exposed and indeed against Arsenal, both he and Lascelles appeared to be blaming each other when Aubameyang was left unmarked for the winning goal. His previous club record didn’t suggest a great player and so he was a massive bonus last season and did so well – but once again, was it Rafa Benitez who took him from being a 6 or 7 out of 10 to 8 or 9 on so many occasions.

Paul Dummett – He’d made less than 50 league appearances for Newcastle before Rafa’s  arrival and I think Dummett went up at least a notch or two these past few years, whether in a four or five man defence. Once again though, the more and more open Newcastle are, the more his lack of pace and other limitations are exposed. Paul Dummett is definitely somebody who massively benefits from a tight disciplined defence around him.

Matt Ritchie – A popular player who is well-liked due to his effort and workrate making up for a lack of pace and ability, in some ways. Brilliant goalscoring and assist stats in the Championship, not so great in the Premier League. Can he be effective as a winger in the to tier, in terms of contributing going forward…it’s debatable. However, Rafa Benitez reinvented him, Ritchie looking very good as a wing-back last season and more than worth his place in the team. My worry once again is that without the former manager here drilling the team in what they need to do, Ritchie will be nowhere near as effective and his weaknesses more exposed. With his over the top comments recently, I fear he is another who doesn’t want to properly acknowledge what Rafa did for him.

Isaac Hayden – Excellent in the second half of last season as Rafa Benitez got the right combination of players working together and Hayden excelled in what he was asked to do. Previous to that, the midfielder had been average. Much has been made of Isaac Hayden having played under Steve Bruce before but the reality is that over two loan spells at Hull, Hayden only started nine Championship matches. Is he another who will regret making his mouth go as this season progresses, not having appreciated what Rafa was doing for him?

Some players I wouldn’t include.

Martin Dubravka is a very good keeper regardless, although it would help if the defence don’t disappear like they did on Saturday.

Sean Longstaff has definitely got natural ability and hopefully he won’t be set back too much if this season all goes wrong.

Miguel Almiron is another, he has pace and ability to run with the ball. Rafa brought him together with Perez and Rondon, which helped all three of them play better. However, I think if given any kind of decent set-up, his natural game can make him a real asset.

So can many of these Newcastle players prove that Rafa Benitez was only incidental to their relative success these past two years, or will they  look back on a time when they excelled for a limited period due to him?

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Sheffield Wednesday fans discuss potential Steve Bruce return after Newcastle United sacking

sheffield wednesday fans

Sheffield Wednesday fans watched on at Hillsborough on Tuesday night as they beat Luton 1-0.

A Jacob Murphy cross helping to set up the winning goal.

That win puts the Owls top of the Championship with nine points from four games.

However, scratch below the surface and the fanbase are are still not sure what could and should happen.

Caretaker boss Lee Bullen is very popular with fans due to his long-term association with the club but Sheffield Wednesday fans aren’t necessarily convinced he is the man for the job. Both in terms of whether he has the skills to do it and a fear that if it goes pear-shaped, the supporters would hate to see a fan favourite exit the club on a very negative note.

Despite top of the league after four games, the fans haven’t been totally convinced by the performances.

The owner Chansiri also appears to be unsure what to do, five weeks after Bruce’s departure and Lee Bullen is still caretaker boss.

An interesting discussion has now appeared amongst Sheffield Wednesday fans, would they take Steve Bruce back if/when he is sacked by Newcastle in the near future.

Some interesting comments below, everything from such a return would make sense, right through to would never take him back under any circumstances.

What they do seem unanimous about though, is that Steve Bruce won’t be head coach at Newcastle United for much longer.

Bruce lasted 18 games at Sheffield Wednesday before deserting them.

Newcastle’s schedule sees 18 Premier League matches before Christmas, can Steve Bruce last longer than the turkey?

Sheffield Wednesday fans comment via their Owls Talk message board:

‘Steve Bruce has not exactly got off to a flyer at Newcastle and is bookies favourite to be the first to get the sack.

Personally, although I don’t like he left us, it was for his boyhood club and it was his last chance to manage them which you can understand.

The way he went about it was not great but I think given its likely the additions were Bruce and co’s players he did put us in a good position and unlike anyone else could come back and know the squad…

Would the players be happy to see him return?

Would fans be happy to see him return?’

‘Can I borrow your drugs?’

‘Personally think Newcastle will be Bruce’s last job.’

‘You may very well be right, although if he is unceremoniously sacked after say 8 losses he might have something to prove.’

‘Bullen is doing great I totally agree but will be have the contacts and the know how in the transfer market… he is a legend at the club I kinda don’t want him to spoil that which I think it will when he gets the sack.

Its only been 4 games and last 2 have hardly been convincing.’

‘Wonder what Bruce is thinking now?

I’m guessing its something like…wtf have i done?

Newcastle could be his last job now…. huge clanger dropped brucie.’

‘Fizz Bruce and those two weasels that followed him to Newcastle. Wouldn’t want any of them anywhere our club ever again.’

‘We took Ron back.

We waited for Steve Bruce once … but now he looks like a haunted cabbage.

Maybe take him back – if NUFC will pay us money to take him!’

‘I wonder how Steve Bruce would carry it off if it happened…?

I would call a press conference, then pretend to suddenly sorta wake up….

“Where am I…Oh thank God its Hillsborough!”

“I had this awful (remarkable dream)…’


“Crikey, my dog don’t half pull on this lead…I ended up 90 miles up the A1…Sorry about that…Now lets get promoted”

‘Nah just say sorry the club needed money and Newcastle had the money, we managed to get a few players in with it which is what was needed.’

Now we’ve fleeced them lets get on with the job… Agent Bruce out..’

‘No chance..

1. he’d be too embarrassed to come back here after what he did unless we offered him a big wedge (which would be quite possible).

2. He’d be on gardening leave from Newcastle and we’d have to pay them compensation.

3. He shafted Chansiri and there’s no way he’d appoint him after that.

4. If he did come, the probability of things clicking for him wouldn’t be good as there’s too much baggage.

Time to move on… yeah the guy had promotions from this league on his CV but that’s not the be all and end all. He also had a poor record in the Prem.’

‘No thanks. I forgave Big Ron but he’d already proven how good a manager he was for us.

Brucie doesn’t have enough brownie points to be forgiven for what he did. It’s not just that he left us – he left us after we had treated him with such compassion. That’s rare in football and should have been rewarded with loyalty.’

‘Not as far-fetched as it sounds.

Re’ the Toon, Bruce would tell Chansiri that it’s the one job in football he couldn’t say “no” to, especially at his age.

There’s probably some truth in that, but it’s whether Chansiri would take him back.

Bruce was chosen by him, though, and if he were totally happy with what’s currently on offer then Bullen wouldn’t be in situ.’

‘What the fans think wouldn’t come into it as far as Chansiri is concerned.

The players wouldn’t care less either, because they’re no more loyal to this club than he was.

They’re all mercenaries, paid employees who’d jump ship just as readily if it bettered their situations.

Chansiri needs promotion and he (Bruce) was his choice to make that happen, which makes all the difference.’

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Tottenham v Newcastle Premier League record gives surprising reasons for positivity

newcastle v tottenham player ratings

It is Tottenham v Newcastle on Sunday.

A fixture where an overwhelming majority will see only one result.

Whether Tottenham supporter, Newcastle fan, or neutral, difficult to see anything but a home win.

However, interesting to look at the Premier League history of this fixture.

In the Premier League era, there have been 24 Tottenham v Newcastle clashes.

In that time the record shows 14 Tottenham wins, 9 Newcastle victories and only the 1 draw.

It is probably also one of the very few, if only, fixtures where Newcastle have a better record in the Mike Ashley 12 years than the previous PL seasons.

Before Ashley’s arrival Newcastle had 5 wins, 1 draw and 8 defeats but since 2007, it has been 4 wins and 6 defeats.

For a club like Newcastle who have rarely been the best of travellers, visiting Spurs has overall been very decent.

The last two seasons have been defeats but in reality Newcastle deserved something out of both.

Last season it was a Dubravka late error that prevented a deserved point, whilst Newcastle were at least a match for them, though once again lost by a single goal.

Surprisingly, the record over the past five visits includes three victories for NUFC, how Steve Bruce could do with one of those now.

Can Newcastle bounce back and produce a credible performance and result, or will it be as embarrassing as the Norwich defeat last weekend?

A big test for Steve Bruce and interesting to see how the players react to their shocking display at Norwich and the very public post-mortem that has followed.

A bit dramatic to say at this stage that the season rests on it but if the Newcastle players don’t respond in a positive fashion, things will become even more difficult for the head coach.

1993/94 Tottenham 1 Newcastle 2 (Beardsley 2)

1994/95 Tottenham 4 Newcastle 2 (Fox 2)

1995/96 Tottenham 1 Newcastle 1 (Ginola)

1996/97 Tottenham 1 Newcastle 2 (Ferdinand 2)

1997/98 Tottenham 2 Newcastle 0

1998/99 Tottenham 2 Newcastle 0

1999/2000 Tottenham 3 Newcastle 1 (Solano)

2000/01 Tottenham 4 Newcastle 2 (Solano, Dyer)

2001/02 Tottenham 1 Newcastle 3 (Acuna, Shearer, Bellamy)

2002/03 Tottenham 0 Newcastle 1 (Jenas)

2003/04 Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0

2004/05 Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0

2005/06 Tottenham 2 Newcastle 0

2006/07 Tottenham 2 Newcastle 3 (Huntington, Martins, Butt)

2007/08 Tottenham 1 Newcastle 4 (Butt, Geremi, Owen, Martins)

2008/09 Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0

2010/11 Tottenham 2 Newcastle 0

2011/12 Tottenham 5 Newcastle 0

2012/13 Tottenham 2 Newcastle 1 (Gouffran)

2013/14 Tottenham 0 Newcastle 1 (Remy)

2014/15 Tottenham 1 Newcastle 2 (Ameobi, Perez)

2015/16 Tottenham 1 Newcastle 2 (Mitro, Perez)

2017/18 Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0

2018/19 Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0

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Newcastle United start season with 1 point from 6 games and 22 goals conceded – From top to bottom

Newcastle United was a club that needed sorting from top to bottom.

Newcastle United still is a club that needs sorting from top to bottom.

Rafa Benitez wanted a project to see him through the next and final 10 years of his managerial career.

He had a vision of remodelling NUFC and dragging it into the 21st century, getting it to a level where it could properly compete in the Premier League and potentially beyond.

Rafa wanted the realistic investment to make this happen and the freedom to operate, whether it was the Academy, Under 23s or first team.

He wanted the best facilities, such as the essential state of the art new training complex that was promised in 2013 by Mike Ashley.

Mike Ashley refused and as Rafa told us, the investment in the future consisted of painting the walls at the existing not fit for purpose training facilities.

With everything that has gone on this chaotic and self-destructive summer, the future has quite literally, been forgotten about. Quite understandable with the immediate challenges that are facing the club and fans as things now stand.

However, just look at the results across the club so far, just where are Newcastle United heading…

10 August – Newcastle 3 Middlesbrough 3 (Academy team)

11 August – Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1 (First team)

12 August – Reading 6 Newcastle 0 (Under 23s team)

17 August – Newcastle 1 West Ham 2 (Under 23s)

17 August – Man City 7 Newcastle 1 (Academy)

17 August – Norwich 3 Newcastle 1 (First team)

A combined record so far of:

Played 6 Won 0 Drawn 1 Lost 5 – Goals For 6 Goals Against 22

No guarantees of course that things won’t pick up but these results just remind me of how this club is living day to day, week to week, month to month, season to season.

There is no long-term plan, there is no long-term investment, there is no long-term strategy of how this club is going to be better throughout, at some time in the future.

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After positive injury/fitness update this needs to be the Newcastle team v Tottenham

All eyes are now on the Newcastle team v Tottenham.

After the opening defeats home and away, fair to say that nobody is feeling very positive.

However, I think Sunday is an ideal time to start turning this around.

A big positive for me in terms of the approach to this game, is that nobody, least of all Newcastle fans, expect the Magpies to get anything from this game.

Indeed, after Saturday in particular, I think anything  other  than a heavy loss would be a surprise for most.

For me, what is clear for starters is that the same players with the same attitude can’t be allowed to repeat what we saw at Norwich.

Everything looked wrong from the start: the team selection, the tactics, the body language of the players.

Inviting the opposition to constantly attack and with no real attacking threat of your own, will only lead to one outcome. That was Norwich.

Ultra defensive tactics that left a Newcastle midfield standing on the toes of the NUFC defence and two thirds of the pitch seeing a yawning gap between Joelinton and Almiron, then an even bigger gap back to the rest of the team.

We desperately need more pace and mobility in this team and at the same time get back to the defensive solidity from the past two seasons.

At the back I would keep the three/five man defence but make one change.

I thought it was just plain stupidity when Steve Bruce put Krafth in after only a week, he ended up being largely at fault for the second and third goals at Norwich and was very poor overall.

Manquillo has done well in the later stages of last season and in the summer, did ok against Arsenal. We know he is not a world beater but bringing him back in is a no-brainer on Sunday. He knows the system and has played in this back five any number of times, we need that organisation desperately at the moment, to give a solid base.

The three in central midfield is a nonsense for me, it isn’t getting the best out of any of those players and is having a knock-on detrimental effect elsewhere.

Get back to a central midfield pair and especially in a tough away game like this, we need the legs of Hayden and Longstaff to get around and break up the opposition play. Shelvey simply can’t do it, or at least not as effectively as those two.

The positive news on the injury front is that Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin are reported to be ok now for the Tottenham match.

Let’s get back to an attacking  trio and with the pace of ASM and Almiron I don’t see how in any way that weakens Newcastle defensively, as they have the legs to get up and down.

Even if we are defending for long periods, having this attacking trio will still give Newcastle an attacking edge, rather than the isolated Almiron and Joelinton we saw at Norwich.

No guarantees this line-up will get a result but I think it can/will give it a good go.

Joelinton and Almiron would stay up front but I would sacrifice one of the three central midfielders and bring in ASM on the wing in a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 formation.

The trouble is that none of Shelvey, Hayden and Longstaff really get into the box and Almiron tends to do most of his best work outside the box as well.

Joelinton was usually the only one in the box whenever a ball was delivered.

I think Hayden is first choice in the middle and would maybe chop and change between Shelvey and Longstaff. Shelvey doesn’t have the greatest stamina anyway and Steve Bruce could tell him to give it everything against Norwich for an hour or so and then bring Longstaff on.

As we saw on Sunday, ASM was very direct and full of tricks and dribbling ability, looking to get in the box as much as possible, so surely in a team that has so few goals in it, he has to be included. Plus I think he and Ritchie can swap wings when needed and give Norwich different problems.

Which gives me this Newcastle team v Tottenham, that could surprise:

Martin Dubravka

Javier Manquillo

Fabian Schar

Jamaal Lascelles

Paul Dummett

Matt Ritchie

Isaac Hayden

Sean Longstaff

Allan Saint-Maximin

Miguel Almiron


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Crisis what Crisis? Sorry Jinky Junior but it comes to us all in the end

newcastle 2 liverpool 3

When I was a young man, there was an album by the pistols called ‘Never mind the bo..ocks’, there also was an album by Supertramp, who for those of you who don’t know, were a bunch of long haired hippies, their album was called ‘Crisis what Crisis?’

If you were cool, hard and edgy you would have bought one of those.

If you were not cool hard or edgy then you would have bought the other.

Guess which one I had in my record collection, stored alphabetically in a box next to a music system that was the size of a small child.

Anyway, the two album titles came to mind last weekend as we were being turned over in Norfolk.

Newcastle United have lost two games of football. Crisis what Crisis?

After all, in what was my favourite season ever, 1993-94, Kevin’s team lost their first two, but we finished third.

Even Bobby’s team of 2003-04 didn’t win any of the first six but we finished fifth.

So, I ask again, Crisis what Crisis?

Except this isn’t 1993 or 2003. Even those fans who have a moonie-like devotion to the club have to accept that this team are heading for the bottom five, not the top five.

Therefore if you are a Newcastle fan, is the only option you can take, to say ‘Never mind the bo..ocks’, lets support the team.

After all being a football fan has always been 90% pain and 10 % joy. And that’s if you are lucky.

If football fans only turned up when their club were successful, then seeing as Man City won all three trophies last season, we should be looking at a hell of a lot of empty stadiums.

But that’s not how it works.

You may laugh at their plight but look at Sunderland, 30,000 still going in division three. Surely that is very impressive or are they just 30,000 sheep who deserve everything they endure?

Look at Bolton, 5,000 turning up to watch a bunch of kids abducted off the street to play for their club, which is basically wrecked. Is this a wonderful display of loyalty to their football club, or are they a bunch of idiots?

What about Hartlepool? There were 3,000 turning up to watch conference football against Solihull Moors and Borehamwood. Now that is real support, or is there just nowt else to do in Hartlepool?

What I am trying to say is there is no logic in being a football fan. None whatsoever. I guess if it’s what you do, then that’s what you do. A few people calling you apologists or sheep on a website will not change that.

There was a time I would have been among the angry men. Many years ago, Newcastle was the most important thing in my life. I was a banner waving militant trying to move on McKeag. I was obsessed with his removal.

Anyone who said good morning to me would be answered by…”What is good about it? SACK THE BOARD. ”

But I’m thirty years older and do not have the desire for the fight anymore.

Does that make me an apologist? It is of no importance. This fight isn’t mine. It only belongs to those who are regularly attending matches today. No one else matters. Only those who hand over money and there are still 40,000 of them

I know that statement is a red rag to some of you but the likes of me who gave up their season ticket no longer count. My opinion is no more important or any more relevant than my 85 year old uncle, who was a huge fan in the 1960s but hasn’t set foot in St James since 1988.

He is entitled to his thoughts but they aren’t exactly going to bother Mike Ashley.

Screaming abuse at people on here is not going to make the slightest difference. In fact, I worry that the only thing it’s likely to get you in the next few years is a knock on the door from the thought police.

Think I’m joking? Did you read about the kid who wrote on one of her A Level papers that she hated the practice of the halal slaughter of Animals. They initially scrapped her paper and she was reported for hate speech. The thing was, she was simply expressing her feelings as a 16-year-old vegetarian, but these days we all need to be very careful what we write and how we write it.

I contacted everyone I know who turned up against Arsenal to ask them the question. Now granted, that is only nine people, but the overriding response was: “This is what I do with my mates and while I still enjoy the day I will continue to do it.”

More than once, the comment was “seen it all before. ”

And I believe that sums up the situation in a couple of sentences.

Never mind the bo..ocks. We support Newcastle United.

I have tried to write this article that sees both sides of the argument but as all of us have our own NUFC history, all of us have our own agenda which will come through in the writing.

The truth is, we aren’t going to win anything under this ownership and as I am 60, I am desperate to see this club win something quickly, because I am running out of seasons. Sadly, I don’t hold out much hope, however, believe me when I say it is not the most important thing in life. Nowhere near it.

Jim White isn’t on Talksport today. There is a God. Natalie Sawyer is on instead. She is speaking about the loss people feel when a family member who people have attended matches with for years has died and how many now can’t face walking into the stadium again.

For once Talksport is listenable.

So let’s try to keep a sense of perspective. This is not Hong Kong. This is not about bringing down a government. Whether Newcastle win or lose, the interest rate on your mortgage will not change.

We are talking about a bunch of Millionaires dressed in short pants, kicking a bag of air into a big fishing net.

Yes, it is addictive. Yes, it is enjoyable (sometimes) but in the end, in the great scheme of things, it’s just a game of football.

If my 30 year old self could hear me say that, his head would explode.

How on earth is football not more important than family, health, or financial security in retirement???

Sorry Jinky Junior but it comes to us all in the end.

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Mike Ashley counts down 10 step checklist on way to third Newcastle United relegation

mike ashley

Lost your manager who made the team far more than the sum of its parts? Check.

Replaced him with a manager who is clearly not up to the job? Check.

Summer of discontent? Check.

Made a bunch of late-in-the-day signings of unproven players who have questionable attitudes at an inflated price? Check.

Signed more players who are of average ability but not really fancied by the selling club? Check.

Split (like never before) fanbase? Check.

Hated owner? Check.

Outclassed by a newly promoted side? Check.

Called in to training on a Sunday? Check.

Manager talked about going back to “basics”? Check.

Above are all the ingredients (barring the classic “being locked in the dressing room post-match” after a chastening defeat, although there was an inquest on the plane) which inevitably lead down one, long, well trodden and ultimately doomed path to relegation.

There is no hope – there shouldn’t be. If you have hope, it is blind, fake, bogus, false, misguided. Don’t believe it.

This squad is not good enough – and it’s not just not good enough, it falls so far short of what is needed it’s embarrassing. Things will not change under the current management. A message to all Newcastle fans out there: There is nothing that can prevent what will be a painful drop back to the Championship. Cut out the denial, anger, bargaining and depression – just go straight to acceptance and save yourself a lot of pain.

The PR which came out of the club, particularly from Matt Ritchie, following the defeat to Norwich was pathetic, even for the standards at NUFC; a club organised PR exercise as hollow as a chocolate Easter bunny. What Ritchie, and most others at this club I suspect are guilty of is taking their foot of the gas.

Benitez may have been almost universally loved by the fan base but behind the scenes he wasn’t so loved but respected by the players: a drill sergeant who would get every last atom of ability out of players. Training would not be enjoyable but hell, it sure was effective.

Bruce on the other hand is like the supply teacher you make rude gestures behind when his back is turned, before he gives up trying to teach and puts on a VHS of Grease.

So now the club has the man of a thousand resignations; trading off his roots and friendship to big Al’ Shearer (he also said, I assume with seriousness, that it was tough going to school in the north east – it’s tough up north innit??). However, there’s one thing he cannot forward as reasons why he might be good enough for the job – his ability (or lack thereof, lets face it) to keep a side in the Premier League.

But there’s a bigger problem – you won’t have had to look far to find someone who is willing to say “Brucey, yeah, great guy, lovely man, great man manager.”

Meanwhile Mike Ashley seems to be under the impression he’s a love-struck teenage girl in a coming-of-age American rom-com, saying he hopes Bruce is “the one” (maybe he didn’t finish his sentence, and meant to add “to take us down”).

And this is the issue – Bruce is seen as the polar opposite to Benitez.

After all, they have gone from the dictatorial style of his which bought results, yet they now see a soft touch, a person who is not going to call out any slacking, an easier ride. Crucially, people within the club may very well think they know better than him, and will simply do what they want – Muto suggests as much with his comments yesterday.

What would the result of this be? A lack of organisation and effort, and a split group of players along with a downturn in results. Oh! What do you know? Norwich 3-1 Newcastle.

It’s as plain as the nose on your face what will happen over the coming months.

Here’s the kicker – there’s absolutely no solution. That ship has sailed. Mike Ashley has attempted to undertake major surgery at the club like someone who throws a laptop in a bath in the hope it might fix it.

Quick note to Tony Cascarino – just because Benitez didn’t win a game until November last year, it does not mean you can apply this to Bruce this season to imply that this would be okay, acceptable or salvageable. It isn’t – look at the direction of traffic pal. The different between the two is chalk and cheese – last year, there was a chance it could be fixed; Newcastle after all go through the gears nicely as the season goes on.

But that doesn’t just happen by chance – it’s because of the tactical acumen, discipline and attention to detail of a man who is currently on the other side of the world. Not the man sitting in Benton.

So unfortunately by the time Easter comes around, this rag tag bunch of individuals will be as doomed as that chocolate bunny.

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