We’ve seen an improved Newcastle over the past few weeks, particularly at the top of the pitch. There was a tangible difference in the Leeds defeat over a week ago when Newcastle got off 22 shots, which was 4 more than the previous 3 matches combined.
However, it was the win and performance at Everton that have given Newcastle a new lease on this Premier League season. That performance was one of the best we’ve seen in quite some time as Newcastle were finally able to put in a complete performance.
That match also coincided with the appointment of new assistant coach Graeme Jones, who no doubt had some input into the game plan. The Gateshead-born coach was seen on the sidelines barking instructions to players at Goodison Park.
Against Crystal Palace on Tuesday, Jones began the match in the stands which started a lot of chatter on social media. The BBC’s Alastair McGowan asked Steve about that during his press conference for Southampton this morning. This was how Steve Bruce answered:
“He wanted to have a look at the first 10 to 15 minutes, but then was in the dugout behind me.
“I don’t know what all the fuss is about that. He wanted to have a look at the first, as I said, 10 to 15 minutes of being up a height, which we can understand that.
“Then he came down after 10 to 15 minutes and was in the dugout like he was at Everton. There’s no problem. I got asked about that the other day. It was a bit of a surprise, I have to say.”
McGowan then followed up his question by asking Bruce point-blank if he felt Graeme Jones was a threat to him at Newcastle. A startled Steve Bruce gave the following answer:
“No, I’ve had this conversation thrown at me. It’s been talked about weeks ago, about bringing somebody in to help us when we had problems with Steve Agnew and Steve Clemence.
“He was my, I reiterate again, my first choice.
“All these conspiracy theories, I wish I could put them to bed.”
This is an example of a positive situation unnecessarily devolving into a spectacle. Graeme Jones has come in to help his hometown club and has had a positive effect so far. Let’s hope that continues.