There’s no spinning the fact that this season has been a monumental disappointment. Coming off the back of the failed takeover, the little positives Newcastle fans could rally around was that Newcastle had seemingly built a squad capable of a comfortable mid-table finish at the worst.
The focus of last summer’s transfer window was to bring in players with Premier League experience to minimize the transition period for new signings. That was accomplished with Callum Wilson, Jamal Lewis, Jeff Hendrick, and Ryan Fraser coming aboard.
While three of the four suffered relegation last season, they all had proven over the varying courses of their careers to be Premier League players. From the start, things seemed bright with a rousing 2-0 win at West Ham.
Though signs that things were not quite right were revealed in our next league match, a 3-0 dismantling by Brighton at St. James’ Park. The season just never really got on track after that point with cliff-like drops in performances that came out of nowhere.
While the squad has faced plenty of trials and unforeseen pitfalls along the way, there hasn’t been any indication that this club is capable of showing much in the way of progress. Our current position of 16th in the league just 1 point out of the drop zone is plenty enough evidence of that.
The responsibility for this lies with all involved at the club to varying degrees. The responsibility primarily starts with the head coach, Steve Bruce, who hasn’t done a good enough job even with the very low expectations of his boss, Mike Ashley.
To close his press conference for Aston Villa this morning, Bruce was asked if he held any responsibility for Newcastle’s dire situation in the Premier League. The question was prefaced with a reference to Bruce’s aim of a top ten finish, which he spouted at the beginning of the season.
This is how Bruce responded to the question as published in The Chronicle:
“Of course. I’ve said it many, many times. The buck stops with me. I understand that, totally.
“Now the top 10 was (a target), probably because we finished 13th, and we would like to improve on what we accomplished last year.
“I think, with the problems we’ve had, and certainly when I analyse the season, and now’s not the particular time, but we were going along very, very nicely until Covid hit, and then the injuries to big players.
“It’s been a real, big problem to handle. So that’s what it is. That’s what we’ve been dealt with.
“At the end of the day, we’ve still got an opportunity to climb up the table and finish somewhere (close to) where we finished last year. I think all of us would accept that and take it now.
“It’s not what we set out to be, but that’s the way it is at the minute.”