Sam Allardyce slams Newcastle United fans' 'expectations' - and defends Steve Bruce
Sam Allardyce believes Steve Bruce is fighting against the expectations of Newcastle United supporters, despite the club's relegation worries this season.
Optimism among the Magpies fanbase was high at the beginning of the campaign after the 60-year-old revealed hopes of a top 10 finish following the arrivals of Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser, Jeff Hendrick and Jamal Lewis.
It started in somewhat positive fashion but a run of two wins in 19 matches between December and early-April saw United plummet into trouble.
Bruce, in the last couple of months, has overseen an upturn in results to retain United’s Premier League status, but some supporters still doubt that the former Manchester United defender is the right man for the job.
Allardyce, who was the first Newcastle manager of Mike Ashley’s tenure during the 2007/08 season, is the latest figure to hit out at the mythical demands of the Geordie-faithful.
He told talkSPORT: "I think you're fighting against the situation at Newcastle - the expectation.
"When I was there, I was living with the expectation of Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer, and if you didn't quite live up to that past expectation of what they were then…
"I would have loved an Alan Shearer who scored 22/24 goals every year – I would have bet us to finish in Europe at least if we still had him but we didn't.”
Indeed, Allardyce claims fans want to see “millions and millions and millions” spent every year in the transfer market.
He continued: "I had to rebuild Newcastle in my time and Steve has to do the best he possibly can for Newcastle with the players that he’s got and the squad they are trying to develop with what money is available – it makes life extremely difficult.
"They want millions and millions and millions to be spent on the team - that’s not always a great thing in football because if you spend it the wrong way then you put the club in great jeopardy.
"We know that is not going to be the case under Mike Ashley. He runs the club as far as I can see by putting every penny the club makes back into it but doesn’t fund it himself - and I'm not sure you can do that now with Financial Fair Play anyway.”
The 66-year-old, while setting aside praise for Arsenal loanee Joe Willock, insists Bruce deserves to remain in charge at St James’s Park because of his Newcastle connections,
"But he’s turned a corner brilliantly because he’s kept his best players fit and of course he found a little diamond in Willock,” Allardyce added.
"Six in six - he's made a difference with the other players who have come back from injury.
"He's finished the season very strong and it looked like the fans were behind him and the team (on Wednesday) and hopefully they can go on from there because he’s a Newcastle fan, he’s a Newcastle man, and he deserves to be there.”
Allardyce announced earlier in the week that he would be stepping down from his position at West Brom following their relegation to the Championship.