John Barnes’ verdict on Steve Bruce heading into summer 2021
John Barnes was asked his opinion on Steve Bruce.
Perhaps the most asked question answers itself …
“In your old club Newcastle. Steve Bruce managed to lead his team out of the relegation fight and reach a respectable 12th place at the end of the Premier League season. Do you think he deserves more credit?
Isn’t it great when someone like John Barnes is portrayed as some sort of authority over Newcastle United, as if he has passed the NUFC with such a strong and lasting bond with the supporters and the club.
Instead of the facts, which are that he came to St James Park when he was 107 (ok, 34) to sign for old mate Kenny Dalglish and only played 27 games. To be fair, he didn’t do too badly during his brief stint on the pitch, certainly better than Ian Rush who was totally knocked out in 1997 with John Barnes scoring six goals.
How well does John Barnes follow Newcastle United? Not at all I imagine.
How much does he see of us actually playing under Steve Bruce? I think almost not at all beyond brief highlights, maybe watching the full game when we face his side, Liverpool.
So when asked for his opinion … it’s basically the same as all the other uninformed / ignorant pundits, basically looking at the league standings and saying ‘look, Newcastle haven’t been relegated, they even have finished 12th “!!!
There is no nuance, no attention to detail, no idea how shocking football has been under Steve Bruce 90% of the time.
John Barnes is basically saying that Steve Bruce did his best, that there can be no expectation other than relegation battles and an expectation of survival thanks to Mike Ashley.
Ashley is of course the big deal BUT Steve Bruce inherited a mid-table team from Rafa Benitez who had eighth best PL form in their last 28 games and fifth best form in their last 16 games (also fifth more PL goals in these (Rafa’s last 16 games), Newcastle United were improving.
Then Steve Bruce walks in and was cleared to spend over £ 100million, no one would say that Rafa had done as well as he could have, had he stayed and had the same support as Bruce in terms spending on players.
John Barnes asked parettingodds.com:
“On your old club Newcastle.
“Steve Bruce managed to lead his team out of the relegation fight and reach a respectable 12th place as the Premier League season drew to a close.
“Do you think he deserves more credit?”
“As for where Newcastle is right now, the next level for them is in the middle of the table right now.
“If Mike Ashley sells the club and they hire someone the fans love and spend more money on the players, then they can start moving on.
“In the current climate, Steve Bruce is doing as well as any manager could.
“Newcastle shouldn’t look to the next level.
“They should be looking for stability and the best they can hope for is in the middle of the table.
“This season it was probably the best thing for them that there weren’t any fans there.
“The fans would have been negative because of the way they were playing and I could have seen them being relegated.
“Unfortunately for Steve, as long as Mike Ashley is the owner, when the fans come back there will be this negativity that will affect him and the team.”