Steve Bruce: 'It's a myth Newcastle United are stagnating'
Steve Bruce says it is a “myth” that Newcastle United have been “stagnating” since he took charge.
The club has been relegated twice – and qualified for Europe once – since Mike Ashley bought it in 2007.
Protests against Ashley – who has agreed to sell the club to a group led by finacier Amanada Staveley for £300million – have punctuated the past 13 years.
The appointment of Bruce as Rafa Benitez’s successor last summer was criticised by some fans, but the club could record its third-highest Premier League points total under Ashley this season.
And Bruce says it’s wrong to say the club, which is in limbo as the Premier League considers the takeover, has gone “stale”.
Asked how he felt he had done at the club this season ahead of tomorrow’s game against Watford at Vicarage Road, United’s head coach said: "I’m never going to win it with some – so I just leave it to others to judge.
"I’m not in it to win a popularity contest, though, Judge me on results we have had, where we are. We’ve got a chance to have our third-highest points total in last 13 or 14 years. And one of them we finished fifth.
"So this myth the club is just stagnating – it’s not right. And it’s important we try to address that.
"We’re trying to move forward. We’ve only been out of the Championship for three years. Look at Watford, and you do wonder why they’re near the bottom. And West Ham, Aston Villa and Bournemouth – look at what they’ve all spent.
“So this myth that we’re just stagnating, and that we are just this horrible stale environment – it’s not right.
"We’re gradually improving, and the more you’re in the Premier League, the more you improve, the better players you have – and that’s our aim to keep improving. And add a little bit more quality to us.
"As for the debate surrounding myself, I’m never going to win it.
“I just hope people judge on what we do and where we are. For me, looking ahead, it’s all about taking this club forwards – and I only want what’s best for this great football club of ours.”
Asked what he would need in the summer’s transfer window to take the club forward, Bruce went on: “If you look at the squad of players, you need depth, and we were ravaged the other night (in the 5-0 defeat to Manchester City).
"But you need that little bit of quality in the Premier League for your first team. We’ve got some very decent players here, but it’s vitally important that we continue improving. In the last 14 or 15 years, only twice have we had more points than we have now.
"We’re in a position where we’re not stagnating – we’re trying to take the club forward. We’re trying to improve year on year in the PL.
"The longer you’re in the Premier League, you have that chance to do that.”