Newcastle have not yet made any public statements on last night’s report of a training ground bust-up between Steve Bruce and Matt Ritchie. Though many outlets with sources at the club have confirmed aspects of Craig Hope’s exclusive in The Mail that there was a physical confrontation between Bruce and Ritchie.
We’ve heard from multiple local journalists that Ritchie has since apologized internally for his role in Tuesday’s unfortunate situation. So we can safely assume that there was an incident on the training pitch between Bruce and his player.
The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards has contacted some of his sources at Newcastle to gauge where things stand between Bruce and the squad. According to Edwards, it appears that everyone wants to move forward from the incident and focus on West Brom on Sunday.
Edwards is reporting that many of the players still support their embattled head coach and are concerned that intimate details from inside the club have reached the press. There will be a team meeting tomorrow where the source of the leaks, who Edwards claims is known, could be confronted.
It appears that at least one player has contacted Lee Charnley, as well as Ashley confidante Justin Barnes over his displeasure with Steve Bruce. That was the reason for Bruce hurling that accusation during his confrontation with Ritchie.
With the players having a previously scheduled day off today, Bruce will meet with the players tomorrow. He’ll try to rally everyone together to concentrate on the Baggies this weekend.
As for Matt Ritchie, he was reportedly shocked at how riled up Bruce was when finding out he had called him a coward. Ritchie immediately backed down and both he and Bruce have since reached a resolution.
Edwards again emphasized that Bruce was not the source of the leak about Karl Darlow last week. His report apparently infuriated a number of the players as Darlow wasn’t told he was being dropped until days after Edwards’s exclusive.
It appears that the club is trying to tamp down this embarrassing circus through their media contacts. A public statement would probably be appropriate at this stage but this is generally how this club operates.
As Edwards writes in his piece, Bruce’s position as Newcastle’s head coach is very unstable. How the players react on Sunday is going to be very telling on whether Bruce has lost this team.