Steve Bruce reacts to a 'kicking' for Newcastle and the North East
Steve Bruce has reacted to the tier three coronavirus restrictions which have delayed the return of fans to St James’s Park.
The North East was today placed in the strictest of three post-lockdown tiers.
A small number of supporters will be allowed back inside stadiums which fall within tier one and two areas.
If Newcastle moves into tier two later next month, up to 2,000 fans would be allowed back inside St James’s Park, which has hosted behind-closed-doors football since the Premier League restarted in the summer.
Asked about the region’s tier-three status, Bruce said: “I think that’s difficult, not just for fans in the ground by the way, not just the 2,000 in the ground we thought we were going to get. I think that’s difficult for people in the North East.
“I'm all for the smaller clubs in the region. I don’t know where Carlisle sits in that but it would make a hell of a difference to them. I hope it’s not an unfair advantage.
"With teams having fans in, will it give them an unfair advantage? Possibly, but I’m more disappointed about the North East being in tier three for the people of the North East, because we always seem to have it more difficult than anywhere else. Tier three is a kicking.”
Liverpool and London have been placed into tier two – and will be able to welcome back fans early next month.
Asked if that would give clubs in those cities an advantage, Bruce said: “A small advantage, yeah. A few is better than none so it certainly gives them a small advantage. Two thousand in Anfield or the Etihad. Is it a fair advantage? I suppose it is a small advantage, but not that great.”
Supporters were last allowed inside St James’s Park on February 29, when Newcastle drew 0-0 with Burnley.
“We may as well be playing on a training ground, so there you go,” said Bruce, speaking ahead of tomorrow night’s game against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
"The whole build up to a game is not quite the same. It never will be, especially when we have something like 50,000.
"The advantage which we have, and why St James’s Park is always tortuously difficult to come and play, has been taken away.”