Steve Bruce reflects on a time when Newcastle United had the 'wow' factor

Steve Bruce says Newcastle United must aim to follow the lead of Leicester City.

Friday, 1st November 2019, 10:30 pm

Bruce's side are 17th in the Premier League ahead of tomorrow’s game against West Ham United at the London Stadium.

Leicester, by contrast, are third following their 9-0 win over Southampton last week.

Newcastle, relegated twice since Mike Ashley bought the club in 2007, are fighting relegation for the sixth time in seven years – and attendances are down at St James’s Park.

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“It's been down twice in 10 years, and it's been in the bottom half of the division,” said head coach Bruce. “We have to accept we are like 10, 11 teams in the bottom half of the Premier League. That's what we are.”

Bruce was reminded of a time when United were competing at the top end of the Premier League in the mid-1990s – during a call of nature. The club broke the world transfer record in 1996 when it paid £15million to sign Alan Shearer, who was to partner Les Ferdinand up front for one season.

Are Newcastle, 23 years later, now bog standard?

Bruce said: “When you look at the recent history ... I was sitting on the loo last week, turning over the paper. I saw Shearer and Ferdinand, and thought 'wow! Wow!'. We had the best centre-forward in England. Probably the best centre-forward that's been English for a long, long time.

Steve Bruce.

“Your two centre-forwards are England's centre-forwards, but that's gone in the past. We're in amongst that pack, but can you go to be Leicester? That's got to be the aim.”