In the first of his ‘My Club’ columns, Newcastle fan Lee speaks out about Benitez’ departure from Newcastle, and why the Fat Cockney Bastard should have given him the money, not Steve ‘Donner Kebab’ Bruce…
As a Newcastle fan of 25 years, the lockdown was welcomed as we would’ve stumbled over the line to survival and probably finished the season with 6-8 pretty pointless games. However, in recent weeks, I can’t wait to get restarted with the possibility of a takeover, which could give us the platform to squeeze into that top 6 or at the very least compete. I thought about writing an article about the Fat Cockney Bastard (Mike Ashley) and how he has ruined my great club and made it just a money maker, with the only ambition being survival, but I thought I’d write something that may divide opinion.
Although it is hard to talk about the club and not mention that Fat Twat as you’ll see…
A lot of people on the outside looking in will praise Steve Bruce for the job he has done at Newcastle this season and journalists and pundits have done that, much to my annoyance. With Rafa leaving in the summer and Ashley making the underwhelming appointment of Bruce in the summer, I for one was the least excited I’ve been for a Premier League campaign in some time. Even with a record signing and a couple of other big money additions, I was still in mourning at the loss of Rafa Benitez.
The people on the outside looking in would often tell me how Bruce had more points than Rafa at the same stage of the season and how I should give him credit for what he’s done with what seemed a difficult job when he was appointed in the Summer. I’m going to step away from stats for a moment (even though this sport has become driven by them in the last 10 years) and talk about what I’ve seen in the last 2 and 3/4 seasons in the Premier league, 2 years under under Rafa and 3/4’s of a season under Bruce.
When Rafa announced he wasn’t going to renew his contract, I was left distraught midway through the PE lesson I was teaching. I could barely teach the rest of the lesson. I knew he was the most important part of my club and that without him 2019/20 would be a struggle. Under Rafa the football wasn’t always pretty and at times frustrating. Especially when we played a lesser team, letting them have the ball and failing to take the game to them. However, my faith never wavered as I knew better than to judge the man who was far too good to be managing my club. The main reason being that he always had a plan. With Rafa, no matter the opposition I always went into each game thinking we had a chance, just as long as the players stuck and executed the plan given to them by the tactical genius.
That is why I so desperately wanted the board to give him the funds that he deserved, that didn’t mean give him £200 million as so many people claimed he wanted. The odious Richard Keys suggested he should fund player transfers himself (WTF?!). All we asked was the board to give him the money the club made to allow him to build a side that could compete; to be given the same money Bournemouth and Brighton were being given, not the riches of City (although that may not be far away). Under his stewardship there was no reason we couldn’t be a consistent top 10 team. Unfortunately, that never happened; Rafa left and who can blame him? He was promised total control of transfers and any money that the club made would be given to him. The money wasn’t given to him and he didn’t have any say over transfers. The carpet was well and truly pulled under his feet and Rafa knew he could do better elsewhere. Granted, it was odd to see him go to China, where people go to get a big payday and the quality of football seems to be far worse than the premier league and the other 4 top leagues in Europe, but it was certainly better than see him go to another Premier League team. It would’ve been like watching my other half have an affair. In fact I would’ve preferred that than see the back of Rafa.
Then we have the announcement of Bruce; it was met with a sinking feeling in the stomach, like going from a relationship with Margot Robbie to Kathy Burke. I had no faith in our season and thought we were destined for the drop. In our first two performances against Arsenal and Norwich, I thought we were fucked. There have been a lot of games like that this season, very similar to Pardew’s time in charge, where we would start a game and instantly you would know you were in for a long 90 minutes. What has been Bruce’s saving grace this season is that he has got results in unexpected games. A week after losing 3-1 to Norwich we travel away to Spurs and steal a 1-0 win, where I witnessed Joelinton’s 1 and only premier league goal, (the first of many I thought, oh how wrong I was)! Similar games have been at home to Man Utd and Chelsea where we’ve stole a 1-0 win, not by playing well but just making it really fucking hard to score and then hoping that we can score from our only opportunity. Neither game was enjoyable to watch and neither of them have caused the emotion that I’d expect from beating 2 of the ‘top 6’ not even a 90th minute winner which we all hold as the best feeling in football. It was all really meh.
Under the leadership of Bruce, I don’t go into games expecting anything; I watch Newcastle out of habit as opposed to hope and excitement. I believe our points tally is very fortuitous and we should probably be 9 points worse off, but we’ve been lucky. I believe you can only be lucky for a short time in football and then eventually you’ll get found out. I don’t say this because I have a dislike for Bruce, but because from what I’ve seen this season we often go into games with no clue or adopting the tactics that are engrained from Rafa’s time in charge. The two managers are incomparable in my opinion.
Under Rafa, the club looked like it could go somewhere and actually go places and compete as long as we follow his plan and back him. Under Bruce it would been a cycle of ‘survive or get relegated.’ Appoint a manager of a similar stature; Pulis, Hughes or fucking Pardew again, basically fucking YES men. It would be a bleak Groundhog Day just like most of the 13 years under Ashley.
If this take-over goes ahead (please let it happen) then hopefully I can start to watch Newcastle with the same hope and excitement I had under Rafa, Keegan and Bobby and not because it’s just a habit.