Liam Kennedy: 'Pathetic' Steve Bruce is not 'one of us' & out his depth – the Newcastle United boss needs 'put out of his misery'

Pathetic. Ask me to sum up what I think when I see Steve Bruce and that’s it right there – sadly pathetic.

Sunday, 21st March 2021, 8:38 am

I take absolutely no pleasure in saying that. This is my club after all.

Long gone are the days of ‘you calling me a liar’, the ‘mole’ bravado, the finger-pointing. The smirking blame game, everyone’s fault but me, the ‘I told you so’ after a win, championed by his now very quiet media cheerleaders.

The players under the bus, the fans under it for good measure – the same fans who’ve not set foot in a stadium for 12 months but whose expectations, in the eyes of Bruce, have contributed to the mess he cannot (truly) consider is in any way, shape or form his own doing.

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Newcastle United's English head coach Steve Bruce (L) reacts during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Newcastle United at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on March 20, 2021.

Looking at Bruce post-match at Brighton he cut a dejected, beaten image of himself. The misplaced self-belief, the oddly delusional excuse bingo, delivered with such unwavering confidence, is no more.

He needs put out of his misery. You’d feel sorry for him if there wasn’t so much at stake – and the Geordie had made a remote effort to endear himself to ‘his’ people. Birthplace is no acceptance guarantee – acceptance is earned. The ‘Mighty Rafa’ knows that.

There was no fight, no reasoned explanation, nothing. There rarely ever has been a reasoned explanation to be honest – he has been consistently cliched and incoherent.

Saturday, March 20 was the day a three-horse race became two. It’s probably still six or seven between Bruce’s ears.

Maybe the change in demeanor has been prompted by the head coach running out of people to blame, maybe he finally realises the buck stops with him. Not likely, I’m sure it is someone else’s fault. Graeme Jones, maybe? Or even Sean Longstaff? Wouldn’t be the first time.

Walkergate’s own former Manchester United hero has always claimed to support Newcastle United. It’s not true, though. It can’t be – and that’s without a mention of his comments from red and white days gone by.

As Wor Flags so eloquently put it in their latest post-match protest display: “Coward. You are not one of us – leave now.”

I support Newcastle United. I’d never have let it come to this, nor would you. Forget money, he has plenty. This isn’t about that. This is about pride in the shirt, the city, the history and the heritage. The belief in a better tomorrow and understanding of what you are and where you come from (if applicable). This is about Premier League and staying in it. This is about fighting for us, for what we believe in, fighting for a better Newcastle United, a one we can all be proud of.

Bruce has only ever talked of mediocrity and accepting it. You can see why he is so loved by Mr Sports Direct. He talks down to his players – man-management isn’t a strong point – talks down to the media, and as a result does so to fans, too. The ‘Mighty Rafa’ never did that.

He has overseen a car crash of a season, one with warning signs stretching back to last. He still continues, pedal to the metal. And Bruce has been facilitated by architect-in-chief of this mess, owner Mike Ashley. We all know Bruce is a symptom of the disease, not the root cause.

After 18 months Bruce finally did it ‘his way’. We think it was ‘his way’, anyway. Turns out ‘his way’ was just as much of a joke as what went before it actually was ‘his way’. We never did get to the bottom of whose way it was – the players reportedly had a laugh about it, anyway. Again, for a man so cumbersome with his words, deflection is a well-honed talent. Can we go back to someone else’s way, please?

"And now the end is here. And so I face that final curtain.”

It certainly feels like the end. It would be at most other normal-thinking, sane football clubs. But this is Newcastle United. The club where you leave your logic at the door with your coat, your brain and all right-minded football thinking.

The curtain is, however, definitely closing on Newcastle’s 2020/21 Premier League season – and keeping with the status quo looks like delivering nothing but second tier slim pickings.

Change can alter that. And it remains in Newcastle United’s power to enact it.

Change is no guarantee of safety, nor is it certain to even see an uplift in performance.

But can it be any worse than this? Surely a roll of the dice *might* make a difference? Doing nothing certainly isn’t.

I won’t be holding my breath, though. It would be no surprise to see Bruce in the dugout at St James’ Park in a fortnight, carrying the same drained, pained expression, pointing in the same half-hearted manner as his No.2 barks out the ‘real’ orders from the touchline.

Relegation is a stark reality now for Newcastle United, brought firmly into focus by the south coast battering. But those who say it is ‘too late’ to change are wrong. It’s later than it should be, but it’s not too late until it is actually too late, know what I mean?

That point, however, is getting closer by the game.

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