Steve Bruce always wanted to be a Newcastle manager, but he never imagined it would be.
An empty Gallowgate, hollow football, abuse, hatred, misery.
But that’s how it turned out for him. With that in mind, I don’t see any point in him staying longer than this summer.
Steve Bruce must leave Newcastle on his own terms and not wait for the lynch mob to call
If I were to advise Bruce, I would urge him to keep Newcastle in the Premier League – and I think he will – and then walk away.
Bruce is a good guy and has been a decent football manager over the years. But management does things to people and the toll can be especially tough in a place like Newcastle.
It certainly affected Bruce and his team’s football now reflects that. It is defensive, inconsistent and completely devoid of freedom and speech.
It’s also gotten so hard to watch because we know how much Bruce wishes it would be different and we know how much better it could be – if the world were different – in a place like Newcastle.
Bruce’s life looks so joyless now, but this is a man who knows what glory is, knows how good football feels. Remember, he played for a great Manchester United team.
Too many people in St James’ Park now want Bruce and his Newcastle team to fail, so he gets fired
It has now reached a point in St James’ Park where many people in town want it to fail. They don’t want their team to go down, but they want them to play poorly in the hope that this will lead to Bruce’s resignation.
That’s unlikely unless Newcastle gets so close to Fulham in the only relegation spot available that owner Mike Ashley panics.
Bruce, remember, is fulfilling Ashley’s mission: keep Newcastle in the Premier League. Make sure this club remains marketable. The other stuff? Trophies and real progress? That’s just fluff.
But deep down, Bruce knows that this is not the way it should be in Newcastle, the club he supported as a boy. He knows it must be about a crowd behind the goal, a river of black and white running full-time down the hill to drink and talk about the glory and tragedies of the endeavor.
What it shouldn’t be are arms folded defiantly, cheeks puffed up with fear, terribly antagonistic press conferences, football filled with fear.
But that’s what Newcastle has become for Bruce and no matter how long it takes, it doesn’t feel like it’s going to change.
Bruce has had a long, progressive career, but his time with his beloved Newcastle should come to an end
I remember sitting in that beautiful stadium in October 2019 when a young Geordie named Matthew Longstaff hit a low missile that flew past David de Gea into the United States target. It was the boy’s league debut, 1-0 for Newcastle. What a victory, what a day, what a noise. I was wondering if that would be as good as Bruce up there and that’s pretty much the way it turned out.
Bruce has had a long career and much of it was progressive. He got the job he wanted. He did well, but his way into Newcastle feels like he should end here.
Don’t wait for the lynch mob, Steve. Finish the job and go on your own terms. Leave the aggro to someone else.
Chances are, you won’t miss it as often as you think.
Bowen apologizes, but cannot continue
The FA is investigating a tweet posted by West Ham attacker Jarrod Bowen that includes a word of racism. Bowen, now 24, was 15 at the time and a youth player at Hereford.
Now that he’s apologized, it’s not Bowen who should be particularly ashamed now. It’s the one who dug out that tweet. It takes a special kind of idiot to do such a thing.
The referee could not applaud Frank today …
Frank Worthington shook my hand with an iron grip when I interviewed him in 2016 and then challenged me to an arm wrestle. I declined.
But it was nice to meet him and his wife Carol, and I realized this week that there was one thing I had missed as I searched through the classic images of his career.
After Worthington scored his famous goal for Bolton against Ipswich in 1979, the referee can applaud as he runs back to the center circle.
Imagine that has happened now. We would talk about it for days, social media would melt and the referee in question would likely be demoted to the Isthmian League.
The world has changed over the past 40 years and not always for the better.
Frank Worthington plays for Bolton Wanderers. He died earlier this week at the age of 72
England must now join the protests in Qatar
John Stones says the England players will “certainly take a stand” on the issue of the abuse of migrant workers in Qatar ahead of the World Cup next year.
Harry Kane, meanwhile, says Gareth Southgate’s squad will discuss how to join Norway, the Netherlands and Germany to make statements about it.
These countries have all worn T-shirts highlighting the problem and the images were powerful. FIFA may start handing out fines if messages are viewed as overtly political, but why should anyone be concerned? It’s FIFA that got us into this mess in the first place. It’s their ugly, crooked, blood-stained World Cup we’re headed for. So come on England. Print your T-shirts, pay your fine, take a stand.
What are you waiting for?
English players must take a stand against Qatar 2022 amid the abuse of migrant workers
Kane makes the first move
Harry Kane says he will consider whether or not to stay with Tottenham ‘in the summer’.
And that, my friends, is what is known as your first step through the door.