Tag Archives: Steve Bruce

What Now for Newcastle?

At the end of last season I saw an opportunity for Newcastle to grow under Rafael Benitez and new owners following a promising end to the season. However Mike Ashley once again has showed he is not an ambitious football man; he has failed to negotiate the sale of the club, let go an excellent manager, let their best players leave and appointed a manager in Steve Bruce who is best described as a top level championship manager. What does all the mean for Newcastle? I predict a difficult season battling for survival rather than the possibility of a top half finish under Benitez.

Under Benitez Newcastle were showing progress being resolute at the back; Liverpool needed a very late goal to beat them. They broke there transfer record to sign Miguel Almiron which at the time showed Ashley was backing Benitez but this papered over the cracks a little bit and despite giving Ashley a little bit of power back., Almiron was only signed on deadline day despite Benitez having the deal in place, ready to go, at the start of the month. Benitez wanted further backing in order to extend his contract

Benitez wanted more money to spend in the transfer window. He also wanted assurances that money would go into the academy and the infrastructure of the club. The contract on offer didn’t fulfil those requirements and it was also only for one year. He wanted more, he wanted to improve, and he wanted the club to get better. Whereas it seems Ashley is quite happy to just stay in the Premier League – rather than challenge for trophies and get into Europe.

Newcastle had goal scorers in Rondon and Perez last season, Benitez wanted to sign Rondon permanently last summer, but was only allowed to sign him on loan because Ashley only wants players of a certain age. Ashley wants players with sell-on value. Someone like Rondon, at 30 years old, didn’t fit with that. Now Benitez has taken Rondon with him to Chinese club Dalian Yifang

And Perez has left signing for Leicester, they did get £30 million for Perez which Ashley will see as good business however it remains to be seen whether it is good football business.

Benitez was promised £50m per transfer window, which isn’t that bad, but it’s not a huge amount. The wage structure was another issue. Newcastle’s highest earner is on £75,000-per-week, but Rafa wanted to be able to sign players on upwards of £100,00-per-week. He couldn’t do that, so it limited the pool of players he could sign.

Bruce has massive shoes to fill the supporters took to Benitez so lovingly that it’s now a no-win situation win for him he is however a Tyneside native who is “delighted and incredibly proud to be appointed as head coach of Newcastle United. This is my boyhood club and it was my dad’s club, so this is a very special moment for me and my family” said Bruce.

This doesn’t hide the fact he managed bitter rivals Sunderland and hasn’t managed with great success in the Premier League.

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Should Steve McClaren be shown the door at Loftus Road?

Go back to end of last season and QPR had just announced that English hero Steve McClaren would be taking over as manager at Loftus Road. I wasn’t too impressed with the decision and thought that the club were asking for trouble by appointing the former England manager. 

QPR started this season in dismal form by losing their opening five matches in the league including a 7-1 thrashing at home to West Brom. Many called for McClarens head but to be fair to the boss he turned things around with a run of fine performances that saw the London side in 7thplace at the end of October just one point off the play-off places. 

That’s about as good as it got for the Loftus Road faithful this season as they have only picked up 13 points since then and find themselves just nine points off the relegation places. To make matters worse they have failed to win since boxing day and have beaten a club record with a run of seven league losses in a row following their defeat at Middlesbrough at the weekend. Questions are being asked of Steve McClaren.

Should QPR sack Steve McClaren

At this moment in time I would have to say no. QPR for me are too good to go down and Steve is more than capable of keeping them up regardless of the current run of form. However, do I think that McClaren should be kept on for next season? The short answer again is no. Steve McClaren has had limited success since his ill-fated tenure as England manager and has struggled to shake off the stigma surrounding that and it’s been eleven years since we crashed out of the Euro qualifying to Croatia. 

For stability the club could stick with their gaffer until the end of the season and then opt to get rid and start again in order to lay fresh foundations and have a summer of planning. To get in a new manager now without a transfer window could have the wrong effect on the club and with QPR relatively safe from relegation they are in no rush to jump into an appointment. 

That being said who could QPR go for if they were to sack Steve McClaren and do you think they should? Let us know in the comments below.

Could these 3 players leave Villa Park this summer if the club fails to get promoted to the Premier League?

Its safe to say that Aston Villa are one of the biggest clubs in the Championship, if not the biggest, and are deep in a promotion battle. Under Steve Bruce’s guidance, the club currently sits in the playoffs just 7 points adrift of Cardiff City in second place, with many tipping the Midlands outfit for promotion before a ball was kicked.

Despite having won 20 of their 38 Championship matches, the club has had a slight wobble with back to back defeats at the hands of Queens Park Rangers and Bolton Wanderers respectively, meaning they may have to settle for a playoff spot rather than going up automatically.

With this in mind, we take a look at 3 players that could depart Villa Park if they aren’t promoted to the Premier League this summer.

Albert Adomah – The top scorer this season with 15 goals, Adomah, could definitely spark interest from Premier League clubs if Aston Villa fail to get promoted this season. The pacey winger has been nothing short of superb for the ‘Villans’ this season and would be a player that would be missed for sure around the club but if the Premier League came knocking would it be too big an opportunity to turn away?…

John Terry – One of the best signings Villa made last summer was skipper John Terry. A player who has played at the highest level was brought in to apply his wealth of experience at the heart of the Villa defence and that’s exactly what he has done, with Villa having only conceded 37 goals in the Championship this season. Plenty of speculation regarding his future has already been floated about in the media, but failure to get promotion back to the top flight of English football could see Terry depart Villa Park for pastures new.

Gabby Agbonlahor – The clubs all-time leading goal scorer in the Premier League Gabby Agbonlahor has struggled for game time this season, with injury keeping him out for a while but since then he has only managed to feature in 6 games for the club. It would be with a heavy heart for both parties to part company this summer but with other players getting more regular game time than Agbonlahor himself it remains to be seen if he will be offered a new deal to stay with the club in the summer.

Aston Villa fans do you agree that all three players could leave your club this summer? Do you see any other high profile names leaving if you fail to get promoted? Let us know in the comments section…

Can Steve Bruce take Aston Villa back up to the Premier League?

When they were relegated to the Championship in the 15/16 season, it was expected that Aston Villa would be promoted straight back up the following season, despite finishing rock bottom of the Premier League. However this was not to be and they ended up finishing 13th.

This season, Aston Villa put their faith in ex Hull City manager, Steve Bruce. Bruce went on to lead Hull City to two Premier League promotions and an FA Cup Final in 2014. So who is to say he cannot do the same for Aston Villa?

Fans are eager to win the Championship at the bare minimum, and with their high expectations, they got Villa Park bouncing as usual for their first game of 16/17.

Aston Villa’s season started off with a draw at home to Bruce’s former club Hull City which was not a bad start. However, fans were left highly disappointed after their next two games left Aston Villa second from bottom of the table after two straight defeats. Things were not looking promising for Bruce’s future at Aston Villa with his future hanging in the balance.

The turning point seemed to be at the end of August when Villa got their first win in beating Norwich 4-2. Their run then went on to 3 draws and more impressively, 4 consecutive wins. From second bottom of the table in August, Aston Villa have battled their way up the table and ahead of the International break now sit in 7th, only one point off the play-offs and 4 points behind 1st place Leeds United.

Their next game is away to local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are currently in 2nd place in the table. A win for the Claret’s could take them onto level points with Wolves.

The real question is, can Aston Villa keep up their winning streak? Their next 5 games (excluding the trip to Wolverhampton) include Fulham, the Birmingham derby against 22nd place rivals Birmingham City, 6th place Preston and an in-form Sheffield Wednesday.

As long as Aston Villa continue to pick up points and not get complacent like last year, whether it be by winning the championship outright or going up via the playoffs, promotion is definitely on the cards for the Claret and Blues.