Steve Bruce presented with new five point Newcastle United plan

Steve Bruce

What to do with Newcastle United?

There have been so many column inches about what a wonderful guy Steve Bruce is, but how out of his depth managing Newcastle United he is….and that he must be moved on at once.

And I agree. Though I don’t know the guy personally, I tend to trust Alan Shearer’s opinion.

But I can’t see it happening in time to make any difference. For one thing, I’m not sure who is left at the club to actually do the sacking. Is anyone left? I assume even the tea lady is on furlough and did Charnley ever come back to his desk after the abortive takeover? I’ve certainly not heard much from him. Let’s just say his interest in the toon does not seem ‘active’!

As for Ashley, I believe he’s out buying up another troubled department store chain, so does he really want to be troubled by Newcastle when the situation is not critical? After all, we are seven points clear of relegation at the halfway point and Bruce only has to be lucky a couple of times and the situation would be even better. Remember – all he’s interested in is staying in the Premier League. So that’s Bruce’s season end bonus criteria sorted! Crisis? What crisis?

So – until that seven points drops to three and Ashley rouses from his slumbers, I can’t see any change in management, and therefore more of the same tripe being served week by week. So we might as well get used to it!

Or should we?

Well, as an alternative to joining the unwashed down the road or taking up golf, perhaps there is something we can do.

Steve Bruce clearly has not got a clue – so how about we give him one?

A positive set of encouraging messages (which perhaps no one has ever given him before) that might improve his managerial capability, and as a result, improve the toon. To that end, I thought I would offer my top tips to Stevey boy in the genuine hope he considers them for changes or improvements to his management arsenal.

First – stop being so well liked and make them train!

Cut their days off, review the work of any fitness coaches we might have, and do something about the team’s overall level of fitness and stamina. It is no coincidence that the toon training regime (compared to other teams, typically managed by young, continental managers) is delivering players who are very clearly less fit than our competitors.

Look at Shelvey. Whether he has a nugget of real talent at the core or not, he looks ponderous on the pitch and like just about all the toon players, does not chase down. Assuming he (and most of the rest of the team) has not been told not to close down the opposition, then the toon general level of fitness is poor and can and should be addressed.

Second – drop Joelinton.

We are playing with 10 men when he’s on, which gives the opposition an immediate advantage.

Whether or not he has any real talent is irrelevant – he’s out of confidence, form and playing out of position. I’ve no idea what his position might be, but he’s proven not to be a forward, and he’s not a winger – remember Waddle, Ginola, Fox and others?

When did Joelinton last attack the box or the by-line, or go past a player? Shove him in the reserves for now and see if his confidence (and any skills) return.

Third – play for the strengths of your forward and select a team accordingly.

Whether or not Carroll is any good or not, his main attacking strength is in crosses, and his hold-up play when he has a number 10.

Playing no wingers and not getting crosses in is pointless. You’ve got to get the ammunition in! Also pointless is bringing on the winger when you take off the big man. Same for Wilson. Look at his strengths and play to them.

Fourth – the modern game is fast (that may be a revelation).

If you have a slow but skilful player (which is allowed) protect him with someone with pace and stamina. And don’t play two slow players together. They can’t cover each other and might as well not be there. Have you noticed how often moderate opponents have just run straight through our midfield!

This is made even worse when they are not fit enough to keep up (point 1). And this is made even worse with Joelinton doing nothing on the wing. No wonder our midfield compresses back to the defence and we play so deep!

Fifth – when we have the ball.

Coach the team to get their heads up, and find position – ideally outside our own half. Sadly – unless you do point one, none of them have the energy or pace to do this. But maybe if they get a bit fitter…

Anyway – that’s my positive five-point plan, offered royalty free in the hope that someone mentions them to the gaffer.

I support the toon, so I am a cynical optimist. I suspect it is too late… but you never can tell!

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