This is what Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce must remember the next time he speaks to the media
Journalists are an easy target for football managers.
Steve Bruce has taken a few swings at reporters in his two years at Newcastle United.
The winless club’s head coach – who has faced fewer questions than any of his predecessors after a separate press conference for written journalists was scrapped over what he labelled as “disrespectful” criticism – had an ill-advised rant when he was asked about the short break he took during the international fortnight.
Bruce, the subject of “we want Brucie out chants” from returning fans, blamed one particular newspaper for the “negativity” around the club after his team’s 4-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, where travelling fans saw a strong first-half performance.
However, the negativity this season is primarily down to a lack of summer investment – and a series of defeats and unconvincing performances.
Bruce – who wanted two late loan signings – didn’t publicly criticise owner Mike Ashley after the transfer window closed, though he still made his unhappiness known after the transfer window closed without any further first-team business.
This irritated United’s hierarchy, and a lengthy club statement on the window, which saw midfielder Joe Willock return on a permanent deal, was seemingly aimed as much at Bruce as the supporters.
It read: “There was a shared understanding that further additions to the playing squad would be heavily influenced by player trading, both in terms of available funds and space in the squad.”
Bruce’s answers at Old Trafford, meanwhile, irritated supporters. The 60-year-old has spoken well as head coach at Newcastle when he’s been humble, but we haven’t seen much humility, or introspection, so far this season.
The second-bottom club’s plight isn’t the media’s fault.
Instead, it’s in large part down to Ashley, who’s one person Bruce won’t take a swing at.
Bruce is also culpable. The responsibility for preparing the team rests with him, and what we’ve seen so far hasn’t been nearly good enough.
That said, Bruce remains safe in his position at Newcastle. There’s no appetite for a managerial change at the club, which finished 12th in the Premier League last season.
Bruce, however, needs to remember that when he’s talking to journalists, he’s also talking to the club’s supporters.