Newcastle United is unraveling before our eyes. The report from The Mail last night paints a picture of a fractured club unable to cope with the immense pressure of a relegation fight. It does not bode well for our crucial match at West Brom on Sunday.
Steve Bruce’s lack of discretion after the last two matches has apparently rankled some members of the squad. He managed to publicly criticize four players on Saturday when explaining what went wrong when Wolves equalized. A more prudent course would have been to use the collective ‘we’.
That’s where a bulk of the problem has been this season. This squad hasn’t gelled on the pitch after an encouraging summer window. The disjointed performances have pointed to a severe lack of cohesion.
That lies at the feet of the head coach. It wasn’t until assistant coach Graeme Jones was brought in that Newcastle began to play consistently without such abject drops in performances. The results still haven’t been great but the lads looked much more competent on the pitch.
Now, after devastating injuries to three of our stars, Bruce and Matt Ritchie have had a bust-up at the training ground. This has apparently been brewing until at least a week if not longer.
Some of the squad did not react well to how the situation with Karl Darlow was handled. Bruce didn’t let Darlow know he was being dropped for Martin Dubravka until late last week. However, Luke Edwards reported the change last Tuesday.
This morning, Edwards has come out on Twitter to clarify that it was not Bruce who leaked the information. He added that Bruce was furious it was reported while claiming it was a ‘very leaky training ground.’
Another point of contention appears to be with Graeme Jones. He’s come in and helped to stabilize things on the pitch. How much credit he truly deserves is obviously unknown to outsiders. However, there seems to be an underlying rift with his appointment.
The Chronicle has followed up The Mail’s account of the training ground bust-up by writing the following:
Suggestions that some players want to see first-team coach Graeme Jones in charge until the end of the season have also emerged in the last 48 hours.
Bruce reportedly responded to Matt Ritchie asking him if he was going to run to Lee Charnley, suggesting other Magpies have contacted the managing director about discord in the ranks.
Matt Ritchie has since reportedly apologized for his role in Tuesday’s fracas with the club issuing a no comment. Steve Bruce will likely be asked about the situation during tomorrow morning’s press conference for West Brom.
Things could even get worse by then if Fulham beat Tottenham today to drop Newcastle into 18th.