To be a Newcastle fan must be one of the hardest jobs on the planet, a big club with a local fanbase and rich tradition of success, plunged into madness, crisis and slap-stick comedy which has turned them into a footballing circus. Owner Mike Ashley is a man who fans loathe, and a man who appears to have little ambition in doing anything with this club other than making some money. The one person at the club who was keeping everything together was Rafa Benitez, who Ashley managed to chase off instead of signing him to a new contract.
Fans started the transfer window with Benitez at the helm and a big Arab takeover on the cards, they have ended it with Steve Bruce in charge and big Ashley still at the helm. Long suffering Newcastle fan Bogoljub Karic and I break down how the season may pan out.
Surprisingly Steve Bruce has been backed with cash in the window, more than can be said for Rafa, and he may or may not have invested wisely. The transfer record was smashed with the purchase of Brazilian Joelinton, a talented player who will be tested in the Premier League. The club also brought in Jetro Willems on loan and highly rated midfielder Saint-Maximin. It is not so much what they have brought in however, it is who they have lost. Perez was a great servant to Newcastle and a player who will be sorely missed having been sold to Leicester. Solomon Rondon is going to be a big miss and fans are furious that Ashley couldn’t secure a permanent move for the Venezuelan, despite his desire to stay at the club.
Not only is Steve Bruce a relegation-fight manager, he is also someone who has previously managed rivals Sunderland and who has a style of football which is not exactly what the Newcastle faithful want from their sides. This is a fan base which wants hard working players who are ready to give their all, win or lose, they want goals, they want heart and passion, and they want a couple of players in their team to get them off their seats. Steve Bruce doesn’t exactly scream attractive football, so he will have to ensure that at the very least he is delivering results. Failure to entertain or amass points will get that fanbase on his back, few managers are able to hang on to their job for a long time after this has happened.
Ashley has invested this summer because he genuinely fears relegation and whether he likes it or not, this is a team who will be down there, fighting it out to stay in the Premier League, I believe that they do have enough to weather the storm and secure a 15th place finish, but it will not be a season to look forward to for the Toon Army.